La Colle River near Port Vila 2, Efate Island, Vanuatu Copyright: Stuart Chape
Environmental Monitoring and Governance

A series of online courses to help Pacific islands manage their own environmental data portals are now in development.  The Inform Project, which comes to an end in 2022, has helped Pacific islands build national data to guide informed environment decision making resulting in both national, and regional, portals.

Work is now progressing to ensure sustainability of the achievements of the project by helping the 14 Pacific island countries to manage their own environmental data portals beyond the project.

“We have covered much ground, and accomplished so much through this project,” said Mr Jope Davetanivalu, Acting Director of the Environmental Monitoring and Governance Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“Now 14 Pacific islands have their own data portals, and we have a regional portal, consisting of material to guide informed decision making for our Pacific island people.  These will ensure there is support in place to continue capacity building so these portals grow in strength, after the project comes to a close.”

The Inform e-learning platform is a free open-source set of learning focused tools which support a collaborative learning environment that can be done at an individual’s pace.  The e-learning courses use both electronic and online technology amidst the global pandemic to ensure delivery and accessible education and training on national Environmental Data Portals and the Indicator Reporting Tool (IRT).

The IRT simplifies the reporting processes for multi-lateral environment agreements (MEA). It reduces the reporting burden by allowing content to be used for different MEA reports.

Examples of MEA include the Convention on Biological Diversity to halt biodiversity loss, Noumea Convention on sustainable management to address the degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas, as well as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  All of which have reporting requirements for Parties.

In addition to e-learning courses on the IRT, the Inform project is also trialing national workshops in a few countries, with a virtual pilot training held recently for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Attending the meeting virtually from the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) was the Climate Change Department Deputy Director, Mr Warwick Harris.

“RMI is scheduled to deliver its Voluntary National Report to the United Nations later this year on the status of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and as such we are looking forward to the Inform Project training sessions on the Indicator Reporting Tool,” said Mr Harris.

“Given our limited capacities and facilities, we are fortunate for the support provided by SPREP over the past years. Even under this difficult situation with the global pandemic, RMI continues to receive support from the SPREP EMG team and for that, we are very grateful.”

In addition to the e-learning platform, all national environmental data portals will be upgraded this year and migrated to the latest Drupal platform DKAN, which was well received by participants who were supportive of making all the national portals sustainable beyond the Inform project.

The “Building National and Regional Capacity to Implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements by Strengthening Planning and the State of Environmental Assessment and Reporting in the Pacific" more commonly known as the Inform project is funded by the Global Environment Facility, implemented by UN Environment and executed by SPREP.

The key objectives of the Inform project are to 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.

For more information on the Inform project, please contact, Mr Paul Anderson, Project Manager, email: [email protected].  For more information on the Inform Project, please the project website.  For more information on the environmental portals, please visit the Pacific Environment Portal.