About the Inform project
Knowledge and understanding are important for driving and bringing about informed decision making. The project, "Building National and Regional Capacity to Implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements by Strengthening Planning and the State of Environmental Assessment and Reporting in the Pacific", referred to as the Inform project, recognises the need for this data-driven decision making. The project will establish a Pacific island network of national and regional data repositories and reporting tools to support the monitoring, evaluation, and analysis of environmental information, which supports environmental planning, forecasting, and reporting requirements.
The Inform project will help Pacific islands have reliable access to their own national datasets for environmental information, as well as a process and guide for information use standards. Capacity will be built to develop content that is then inputted into the reporting process. Additionally, the capacity of officers will be enhanced with regards to the best ways to share the information they have so it is well used by their decision makers and different communities. The information provided within the databases will also help policy development, monitoring and evaluation, and national planning.
Over a four-year period from 2017–2021, Inform will work in the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
Watch this 1-minute video to learn more:
Download the Inform project brochure here for a summary of this information.
Inform project update
The Inform project continues to help countries set up national environment portals, predominantly housed with national environment departments. So far national environment portals have been introduced and set up in all 11 Pacific island countries, with the expressed interest of the countries and their active engagement in using the portal as a centralised repository to store data for improved decision-making. Countries have also taken part in capacity training in data management and uploading datasets to their national portals. In addition to national portals, the regional data portal, the Pacific Environment Portal access and house data from various international sources and push this data to populate national portals. The development of national environment portals and the regional data portal supports and promotes open data systems for improved data sharing.
Papua New Guinea have recently launched a data sharing policy, an initiative of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA). The policy encourages the free exchange of data within CEPA, with other government agencies and institutions within PNG and with the public. Originally designed as an environment portal, the portal can serve more than just CEPA, and thus was renamed the PNG Data Portal.
Countries who are signatories to environment conventions of the multilateral environment agreements (MEAs) have reporting obligations to the conventions, and by having access to a repository of data through the national data portal reporting obligations will be easier to respond to. The same scenario applies to reporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Inform has successfully hosted South-South Knowledge Exchange on sharing experiences on open data platforms. Palau, FSM, PNG, Kiribati, and Samoa recently shared experiences on managing their national data portals with discussions focussing on current national environment data portals. Participants were re-introduced to the Inform national data portal for data management and as a storehouse for information on the environment. Participants also had hands-on training on field collection of data using a mobile app to facilitate data collection and analyses.
A Pacific Data Ecosystem promoting open data platforms is being introduced, combining the resources of SPC and SPREP for data sharing. Both regional organisations collect data on a range of development issues with the region focussing on the environment, the Pacific Data Ecosystem will increase access and sharing of data to benefit Pacific countries and territories in the areas of climate change, fisheries, energy, maritime, land resources, and the environment. The Pacific Data Hub (SPC) and the Pacific Environment Portal (PEP), as well as the country portals make up the Pacific Data Ecosystem (PDE).
BIOPAMA-Inform Project Partnership
Strengthening partnerships for the environment to help Pacific island countries better manage their natural resources is the goal of a close collaboration between two SPREP projects - the regional Inform data management project and BIOPAMA. The goal of the partnership is to help Pacific island countries better report on, and understand the status of protected areas, conservation and the environment in their respective jurisdictions. Read more: https://www.sprep.org/news/biopama-and-inform-project-a-partnership-for-improved-reporting-on-pacific-protected-and-conserved-areas
Solomon Islands Launch Products to improve Environmental Governance
Helping Solomon Islands to further enhance environment monitoring and reporting was the launch of a national environmental online portal as well as a range of reports called the Ecosystem Resilience Analysis and Mapping Reports.The national environment portal is an online database providing a centralised data management system housing information and data on the environment for informed decision-making. The ESRAM Reports are studies to assess natural ecosystems, their current conditions, how communities use them, and what impacts of climate change are having on these ecosystems. Read more:https://www.sprep.org/news/solomon-islands-launch-products-to-improve-environmental-governance
Data for Decision-Making Workflow
The project addresses 3 common problems and vulnerabilities in the Pacific island region:
- The need for historical and current evidence of the status and trends of various environmental resources and drivers of environmental change
- Challenges with information management, including the need for standard procedures for collecting and aggregating relevant environmental data
- Lack of timely access to available information by those who need it, including local technical staff, governments, or communities and citizens, for national and international reporting and planning, and most importantly, for sound and informed decision making
Photo @ Stuart Chape
National Data Portal
For more information you can view the project page here
The Global Environment Facility contributes 4.3 million USD to the Inform project, which is implemented by UN Environment and executed by SPREP.