Environmental Governance & Monitoring Headlines

Environmental data portal and national reporting tool released in Cook Islands

To better manage environmental information, Cook Islands National Environment Service (NES) introduced a new portal that can store and share datasets, reports, images and other files that examine current environmental conditions.

The portal is co-managed by the Inform project—implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)—which addresses the need to have high-quality data stored in a central location for fast access. It will support informed decision making and reporting .

On the 4 April, the portal was showcased at a national stakeholder meeting attended by ten agencies, including the Statistics Office (CISO), Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR), and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

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"The ability for the Cook Islands to be able to store, retrieve and utilise data is one of the key facets of national planning and should put the Cook Islands on a better path towards the decisions it makes for the environment," said Mr Joseph Brider, Director of the Cook Islands NES.

The NES also introduced a separate national reporting tool, developed under the Inform project, which tracks the status of environmental indicators. Having a tool that compiles information on these indicators can provide a basis for monitoring and reporting on the State of Environment (SoE) for future reports, as well as multilateral environmental agreements, such as the Aichi Targets of the Convention of Biological Diversity, Sustainable Development Goals, Samoa Pathway, and National Sustainable Development Plans.

The latest Cook Islands SoE Report has been prepared and is awaiting endorsement.

The Global Environment Facility funds the Inform project and the 'European Union-funded African Caribbean Pacific Multi-lateral Environment Agreement 2' Project supports the development of SoE Reports and National Environmental Management Strategies.

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These projects, implemented through UN Environment and executed by SPREP, complement each other by taking integrated approaches to key activities, including the integration of information from the Cook Islands SoE Report into the Cook Islands data portal.

To properly manage the portal and indicator reporting tool, the Inform project is providing IT assistance and collaborating with the Cook Islands Government Information Communicatio ns Technology team to ensure the tools run smoothly and are adapted to country needs.

"During the mission we conducted real-time speed tests and determined that the proposed solution of cloud hosting was viable for the portal, even after taking into account the limited bandwidth. Talks with government IT show that there the system fits into the existing data infrastructure as well," said Mr Ainsof So'o, Systems Developer and Analyst at SPREP.

The four-year Inform project is also establishing national data portals in the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. A regional portal will be created for the 14 project partner countries to access and share environmental data. – CINES/SPREPRelease
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To learn more about the Inform project, please visit http://www.sprep.org/inform/home.

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To learn more about the ACP MEA project, please visit: http://www.sprep.org/Projects/acp-meas-project.
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