Submitted by leannem on Fri, 11/26/2021 - 10:29
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November 26, 2021 by leannem
Environmental Monitoring and Governance

25 November 2021, Apia – The importance of data management and availability for informed decision making was reiterated during the official launch of the upgraded environmental data portals developed by the SPREP through the  Inform Project. 

The Inform project has developed a network of data portals throughout the Pacific for each of its 14 Pacific Island member countries for cataloguing and sharing of national environmental data. The portals were set up as a data management mechanism, enabling member countries to make informed decision based on useful insights on collected data. 

The data portals were initially launched in 2018 and has since amassed a staggering total of over 12,000 datasets that have been created by either SPREP, national environment ministries, or related partners operating in the Pacific region. They cover a range of environmental thematic  topics such as climate change, biodiversity, built environment, land, inland waters and other thematic areas. 

Speaking at the launch of the upgraded portals, SPREP Deputy Director General, Mr Stuart Chape, revealed that the resources contained in the datasets have formed the basis and justification of many priorities that Member countries are obligated to report on, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, Aichi Biodiversity Targets as well as the national State of Environment reports. 

“The Inform team has continued to work with local technical staff, partners, and relevant stakeholders to ensure that these data portals are readily available, secure, and updated to cater for the growing data management requirements of Member countries,” said Mr Chape. 

“They have made it a priority to continue supporting this essential service well past the project lifetime,” he added. 

The Pacific Environment Portal has been upgraded from Dupal 7 to the latest Drupal 9 platform, incorporating all the security updates and additional features from the global open-source community . Feedback and suggestions received from Member countries since the initial launch in 2018 were collated and added as additional features in the upgrade. 

As part of the upgrade, all previous core functionality in each of the data portals have been retained. The user interface has also been revamped for ease of use and overall improve stability, and the search function has been rebuilt to make it easier to find datasets and related content. 

Additional content types such as events and news items have also been added to the portals. 

Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, Head of the United Nations Environment Programme Pacific Office, acknowledged the hard work of the Inform team in developing and upgrading the data portals, and recognised that the work of the project has enabled the development of State of Environment reports and National Environmental Management Strategies to resume after a 20-year hiatus. 

“These portals will also be valuable in the negotiations process at the different Conferences of the Parties, the United Nations Environment Assembly and other conferences where out Pacific negotiators will take part in, by having an website that provide them with real-time access to updated data and information,” said Mr Nawadra. 

“There is a need to ensure sustainability. This work is core to UNEP and SPREP and we need to see it that way. We need to justify building this into our core funding and countries can help us by increasing their demand for the data being generated and produced through activities such as this. 

The upgraded data portals can be accessed at www.pacific-data.sprep.org

For more information, please contact Mr Tavita Su’a at [email protected] or Mr Paul Anderson at [email protected]