By Aziza Atieno
In a bid to enable easy access of quality and validated information on environmental data, the United Nations Environmental Programme(UNEP) has launched the World Environmental Situation Room(WESR).
Celebrating the milestones made by UNEP, the WESR is a federated data system which was designed as a UNEP at 50 initiative for the next 50 years that provides environmental data, information, and knowledge with adequate analytical capacity, to support decision making, policy setting, and action at all levels for environment and sustainable development.
“Data being an important ingredient for the success of any multilateral agreement, it aims at bridging the big data gap on the environment and hence power the transition towards a sustainable and safer future. Currently, only 45% of all SDGs indicator are supported by data, there is not enough data of around 68% of environmental related SGDs” said Shereen Zorba, Head, Secretariat of the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment.
The WESR will focus on reviving the global partnerships and enhancing environmental governance by promoting inclusivity and providing credible data on the environment. This data is presented using digital tools and real time information to promote advocacy on the global environment, accelerate action on climate change, biodiversity and nature loss.
“The World Environmental Situation Room is different because it brings near real time data to support action. It supports assessments, science policies and impact to provide robust validation data with validated indicators to support SDGs and support in achieving Agenda 2030, help monitor climate risk and support country data on their nation development plans,” said Alexander Cultus, Lead on the WESR.
Additionally, it will leverage capacity building with national level impact and promote strategic foresight on emerging issues and measuring progress of the state of world environment and impact of People actions on Places and Planet
Jerome Ochieng, Principal Secretary for Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and innovation, Kenya said the country was ready for the data system noting that a National Data Centre which has been designed in compliance with the international standards has been established and is working closely with the environmental department.
Additionally, Ochieng said Kenya has put in place the Data Protection Act 2018 and its various attendant regulations with the objective to inform the development of privacy and data collection. Also, to comply with international good practice and ensure consistency in practice while developing data to ensure protective management of data by identifying assessing, monitoring and mitigating privacy risks.
“I believe data can promote us all in promoting inclusive, digitally enabled and effective action by providing credible and independent information and knowledge on the environment,” he further added.