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Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi to Boost Environmental Information for Decision-makers

Abu Dhabi, April 2, 2015—Over 650 delegates from government, UN bodies, the non-governmental sector, private sector, academia and civil society will gather in Abu Dhabi between 6 and 8 October for the Eye on Earth Summit 2015, to bridge the information gap policy makers face in designing plans for sustainable development.

The experts gathered will explore solutions and actions necessary for greater access to, and sharing of, environmental, social and economic data to support sustainable development. The Summit will address the profound impact that rapid economic and industrial development is having on natural resources, biodiversity and consumption patterns around the world. These global challenges require international collaborative action to find transformative solutions that span political boundaries and help secure a sustainable future for all. One of the critical first steps – and the focus of Eye on Earth Summit 2015 – is to address the need for evidence-based decision-making that can benefit from the available wealth of scientific data, information and knowledge, if they are made more accessible to all.

“Sustainable development across the globe is being hindered because policy makers lack access to data that would improve decision-making,” stated HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. “This Summit will develop ways of closing the data gap between what citizens and decision makers need to know, and what is available and accessible. It will look at solutions for greater access to, sharing and application of environmental, social and economic data through science, technology and citizen participation.”

Eye on Earth is a collaborative effort between the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi through the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), and the Eye on Earth Alliance, a partnership of organisations that aim to build and mobilise global support for access to environmental data. As part of its ongoing expansion, the Alliance has recently grown to include, in addition to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

“This year world leaders will convene for a number of major sustainable development events, among them the Summit for the Adoption of the post-2015 development agenda and the climate change conference in Paris,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “The decisions made at these meetings will shape the way forward on sustainable development and climate action for years to come.”

“For leaders to make the right decisions in such global processes, reliable, ample and timely data is absolutely essential. One of UNEP’s key roles has long been to work with partners to provide the data that informs this science-policy interface,” he added. “Partnerships such as Eye on Earth are living proof of the new frontiers in knowledge and data, as well as the leadership role that Abu Dhabi has shown in this endeavour.”

The announcement of the Summit dates follows a meeting of representatives from the Eye on Earth community in Bonn, Germany to provide input into the development of indicators to track some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to discuss how to support the data and information needed to implement them. A set of 17 goals with 169 targets, the SDGs cover a broad range of sustainable development issues, including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests. The work of Eye on Earth is expected to be pivotal in providing the necessary data required to measure the progress and impact of the SDGs, with current and future Special Initiative (SI) projects aligning closely with them to ensure the provision of relevant, timely and accessible information.

A global audience will participate in the Summit and contribute to the dialogue via online and social media tools. Information on how to take part in the event will be shared via the Eye on Earth website.

Barbara J. Ryan, Director Group on Earth Observations:

“Expanding the Eye on Earth Alliance and convening the Eye on Earth 2015 Summit are critical steps to ensure that data, information and knowledge are made open and accessible to decision makers across the societal spectrum. Only with these vital tools can we all make the informed decisions necessary to preserve the planet.”

Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute:

“This summit will shine a spotlight on the importance of securing better, more accessible data to improve decision making,” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute. “With extraordinary leaps forward in technology, remote sensing, and digital communication, people have an unprecedented ability to understand how development affects natural resources, the economy and our planet. This summit will bring together leaders at a critical moment to improve how we can use data and information to shape the future development agenda.”

Inger Andersen, Director General IUCN:

IUCN is pleased to be part of the Eye on Earth Summit,” says IUCN Director General Inger Andersen. “The Summit offers a rare opportunity to shine a spotlight on the importance of supporting knowledge products, such as the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, so that they can deliver the critical data to guide the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.”

About Eye on Earth

Despite technological and scientific advancements, decision makers often lack vital data on the state of the world’s resources. Eye on Earth is a global movement that aims to improve access to and sharing of environmental, social and economic data, to better inform decision-making for sustainable development. Its primary goal is to convene thought and action leaders, converge on key areas of mutual importance, and collaborate on initiatives to close the data gap.

The mission of Eye on Earth is achieved through the work of the five governing Alliance Partners, eight targeted Special Initiatives, and the Eye on Earth Summit.

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About EAD

EAD was established in 1996 to preserve Abu Dhabi‘s natural heritage, protect its future, and raise awareness about environmental issues. EAD is Abu Dhabi‘s environmental regulator and advises the government on environmental policy. It works to create sustainable communities, and protect and conserve wildlife and natural resources. EAD also works to ensure integrated and sustainable water resources management, clean air and minimise climate change and its impacts. For more information

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