Environmental Governance & Monitoring Headlines

Solomon Islands welcomes new environment portal

A single portal, which can house all environmental information in Solomon Islands, will be established as part of the Inform project with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), along with other ministries and stakeholders, is working to more effectively assess and improve environmental conditions in Solomon Islands.

With support SPREP and the Inform project, a State of Environment (SoE) Reporting and environmental information workshop was held in February to spearhead environmental forecasting and reporting with key country partners.

The Inform project has established a central portal to house environmental data, and the project is working with Solomon Islands Government (SIG) counterparts to determine what existing databases can complement the portal. Having high-quality and current data consolidated will help the SIG monitor any environmental changes over time.

The Inform project is implemented by SPREP, with funding from the Global Environment Facility and implementation support from UN Environment.

Debra  Paul
Ms Debra Kereseka Potakana of MECDM receives training on the Inform project data portal in Solomon Islands from Mr Paul Anderson of SPREP.  Photo SPREP/W.Isenhower

Ms Debra Kereseka Potakana, Chief Environment Officer in MECDM's Environment and Conservation Division, said the portal will help in coordinating data sharing with other agencies.

"We've been asking for something like the portal where all information can be stored, and this project has addressed it," Ms Kereseka Potakana said, adding, "The portal will make us more visible to the public."

To launch the in-country portal, Mr Paul Anderson, the Inform Project Manager of SPREP, and Mr Tony Miller, the Inform Project Systems Analyst, supported MECDM in hosting the workshop on Monday, February 12.

Both Mr Anderson and Miller then conducted follow-up meetings onsite with MECDM, the Information and Communications Technology Support Unit, the Statistics Office, and other relevant government ministries. These meetings involved discussing the Inform project's objectives, assessing current data hosting capabilities and potential needs, and explaining the portal and giving users a chance to test it.

Beach waste
Litter on the coast in Honiara, Solomon Islands. The Inform project's portal will provide a place to house data on marine litter and other issues so decision-makers can easily access the data for environmental planning and policymaking.  Photo SPREP/W.Isenhower.

Information contained in the portal can be used for SoE Reports and also to report on Multilateral Environmental Agreements, Sustainable Development Goals, and other national and international requirements. During the week, meetings were also held with key environmental ministries to gather available data for the country's 2018 SoE Report.

Mr Anderson of SPREP said visiting Solomon Islands to meet with potential users of the portal is crucial to tailoring a local solution for data accessibility and sharing - "We want to ensure the portal is useful for Solomon Islands and each country that is part of the Inform project."

The four-year Inform project is also establishing national portals in the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. A regional portal will be created for the 14 project partner countries to access and share environmental data.

To learn more about the Inform project, please visit http://www.sprep.org/inform/home


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