UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has entered into partnership with search engine giant Google to monitor impacts of human activity on global ecosystems by using sophisticated online tools. The partnership was launched during High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.
The aim of the partnership is to develop platform to enable governments, NGO’s and public to track specific environment-related development targets with user-friendly Google front-end. Its initial focus will be on freshwater ecosystems including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.
Freshwater ecosystems areas account for 0.01% of world’s water but provide habitat for almost 10% of world’s known species and evidence suggests a rapid loss of freshwater biodiversity.
Google will periodically produce geospatial maps and data on water-related ecosystems by employing massive parallel Cloud computing technology. It will generate satellite imagery and statistics to assess extent of change occurring to waterbodies and make it freely accessible to ensure nations have opportunity to track changes, prevent and reverse ecosystem loss.
Other areas of collaboration under this partnership include advocacy and capacity building activities as well as the development of partnerships with organisations like European Space Agency (ESA), European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
This partnership builds on a common shared vision between these organisations. In long term, it will strive to establish platform for open-source data and analysis of UN Sustainable Development Goals. It will enable UNEP to get access to most sophisticated online tools to track progress, identify priority areas for action, and needs for making world sustainable. It will enable all countries with equal access to latest technology and information in support of global climate action and sustainable development.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
UNEP is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. It was founded as result of United Nations Conference on Human Environment in June 1972. It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. UNEP also has six regional offices and various country offices.
UNEP acts as catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote wise use and sustainable development of global environment. It works with wide range of partners, including UN entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, private sector and civil society.