Eye on Earth Summit 2015 - Convene, Converge, Collaborate

The Eye on the Earth was originally in response to to the UAE being ranked 141 out of 142 countries in the Environmental Sustainability Index in February 2002.  AGEDI launched in Sept 2002 by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan (President of UAE) at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development, Johannesburg.  It was established as a Type II partnership a joint venture between Environment Agency (EAD) & United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The goal of Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) is to address the gap in environmental data and information. It held its first international Summit in 2011 the one that just finished aimed to  identify solutions for greater access to and sharing of data, in order to provide policymakers with timely, actionable information for critical decisions to implement the post-2015 development agenda.

The Summit was convened this time by a collaboration of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency's Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) and the Eye on Earth Alliance, a partnership of organizations including, inter alia, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Attending Eye on Earth were representatives from government, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, academia, NGOs and other stakeholders.

The 2015 Eye on Earth Summit was organized around the themes of:

  • data demand, 
  • data supply and 
  • enabling conditions. 

With the Sustainable Development Goals now agreed by governments  the sessions explored ideas on how to address data gaps and monitoring in the SDGs. It also addressed environmental data for business performance; costs of data generation and maintenance; open data; and education.

Photo by IISD/ENB

Panelists in the session I moderated “Addressing Policymaking Demand for Data: Dialogue Between Decision Makers and Providers” (L-R) Nawal Al Hosany, Masdar; David Rhind, Nuffield Foundation; Kathrine Brekke, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability; (Moderator Felix Dodds), University of North Carolina; Ingrid Dillo, Data Archiving and Networked Services; Robert Gurney, University of Reading; and Marcos Silva, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

In the final session Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi said:

“It is no longer possible for one entity, agency, government or region to work independently. No one member can carry the burden alone. We must share the responsibility and we must collectively strengthen our resolve. The task ahead is too large and too important. We need to commit to a shared future where environmental and societal data can improve decisions that lead to a more sustainable planet,”


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