UNEP, Partners Launch Data Platform on Water-related Ecosystems
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
story highlights

UNEP, Google Earth, and the European Commission have launched a data platform on water-related ecosystems that enables better understanding of changes to water bodies by providing access to satellite data and enabling comparative analysis over time.

The initiative seeks to improve monitoring of progress on SDG target 6.6 on protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems.

21 March 2019: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Google Earth, and the European Commission have launched a data platform on water-related ecosystems around the world. The platform enables better understanding of changes to water bodies by providing access to satellite data and enabling comparative analysis over time. The initiative seeks to improve monitoring of progress on SDG target 6.6 on protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems.

UNEP’s first data collection process on SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) in 2017 found that only 20% of UN Member States had even the basic information required to monitor progress. The SDG 6.6.1 Data Platform on Water-related Ecosystems allows for exploring the state of water bodies around the world. The platform provides maps and downloadable data, and can display water bodies against political or basin boundaries.

The platform could serve to flag where there are issues at the ground level that need further research.

The platform was launched on 9 March 2019 at the UNEP Science-Policy-Business Forum, ahead of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4). UNEP highlighted the crucial nature of such data to measuring progress on the SDGs, and the benefits of the platform in overcoming computation and storage limitations in many countries.

The UN agency noted that rapid changes to hydrology are occurring around the world due to climate change, land-use patterns and other factors. The data platform is aimed at helping researchers, governments, and water users understand the changes that are taking place in the spatial extent of open water bodies and their seasonal variations.

Jillian Campbell, Chief Statistician, UNEP, noted that the platform could serve to flag where there are issues at the ground level that need further research.

The platform was developed through a collaboration between UNEP, Google, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Space Agency (ESA), the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). UNEP and its partners are now exploring the possibilities for using satellite data to track progress on other SDG targets. [UNEP Press Release]


related events


related posts