20 January 2021
Tools Improve Data Availability in Pacific for Decision Making and Environmental Reporting
Photo Credit : Stuart Chape
story highlights

There are significant challenges associated with the lack of historical and current environmental data, and inadequate information management and access for decision making and reporting in Pacific island countries.

The Pacific Environment Portal and the Indicator Reporting Tool developed by the Inform project, based on the UN Environment Programme’s Indicator Reporting Information System, are designed to address these challenges.

The Inform project, executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), has played a key role in promoting environmental data availability, management, and access in the region by supporting the development of the Pacific Environment Portal, 14 national environment data portals, and the Indicator Reporting Tool. The Indicator Reporting Tool was developed on the basis of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Indicator Reporting Information System.

There are significant challenges associated with the lack of historical and current environmental data, and inadequate information management and access for decision making and reporting in Pacific island countries. The full name of the Inform project, ‘Building National and Regional Capacity to Implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements by Strengthening Planning and the State of Environmental Assessment and Reporting in the Pacific,’ recognizes the need for data-driven decision making. The Pacific Environment Portal and the Indicator Reporting Tool help address these challenges. 

The Pacific Environment Portal enables users to find, access, and reuse regional and national data. The Portal aims to provide easy access and safe storage for environmental datasets to be used for monitoring, evaluating, and analyzing environmental conditions and trends to support environmental planning, forecasting, and reporting requirements at all levels. National Environment Data Portals have also been developed for the 14 Pacific island SPREP members. The data from this network of portals are used to inform reporting on national, regional, and international frameworks using the Indicator Reporting Tool.

The Indicator Reporting Tool aims to simplify reporting processes and reduce the reporting burden by facilitating reuse of indicator definitions across multiple reporting obligations. The tool can be used for multilateral reporting obligations under Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) as well as national and state-based indicator reporting. It is targeted towards government officials responsible for compiling and producing indicator-based reports.

In recent years, the 14 Pacific island countries have developed State of the Environment (SoE) reports, many of which are already approved and published. These SoE reports are developed using indicator assessments, and the Indicator Reporting Tool has facilitated “reusing environmental indicators” from one report to another. For instance, the Marshall Islands used its 2016 SoE as the main input for the country’s fifth national report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and Niue is using its SoE for its sixth national report to the CBD. [IISD Knowledge Hub sources] [Pacific Environment Portal] [Indicator Reporting Tool]

 

Tools Improve Data Availability

This policy brief was authored by Dina Hestad, Ph.D., Thematic Expert for SDGs and Small Island Developing States.

This story was made possible with funding support from the Government of Sweden through the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and was developed with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) using the Pacific Environment Portal, which enables users to find, access, and use regional and national data. The portal has been developed by the regional UNEP-GEF Inform project executed by SPREP, which has established national environment data portals in 14 Pacific island countries to help address the challenges of storing and accessing data. The online database of information and datasets aims to help improve decision making and reporting on the environment. 

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