17 February 2017

UN knowledge platform launches live-tracking tools to review progress towards SDGs

UN Environment’s dynamic online platform – designed for sharing contextualised data and knowledge to keep the environment under review – has unveiled new tools to review progress towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Environmental data exists in a variety of forms, including the mapping of natural capital and the forecasting of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydropower; the development of an inclusive platform is therefore crucial.

Over 3455 data flows from 193 countries are available in the continuously updated platform ‘Environment Live’ – which was built and is maintained by UN Environment. 

As a result, the tool provides real-time open data access to policy makers and the general public alike, with the aim to translate knowledge into good political and socio-economic decisions.

Distributed networks, cloud computing, big data and improved search functions are utilised to provide the most accurate and practical information possible to help decision makers pursue the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to UN Environment the platform is particularly important because:  “policy making "in the dark" - under high levels of uncertainty and without concrete data - carries high risks and transactional costs which need to be minimised. End users must be able to access data in a meaningful way.”

UN Environment hopes that giving citizens better access to data will facilitate better understanding of environmental issues, and even allow people to participate in the collection of data. 

The UN agency stated that “the role of the public in "citizen science", or the crowd-sourcing of data, is one of the most cutting-edge and exciting tools emerging in the global research arena.”

Environment Live’s role in granting public access to data is fundamental element in giving people more influence in policy development and monitoring, enabling the transformation towards a more vibrant and inclusive green economy. 

Through the platform's applications, multimedia content and digital publishing features, users will have access to data from numerous verified sources and data providers.

Environment Live’s new tools include:

  • Access to global scientific data, maps and graphs desegregated at regional, national and local levels.
  • Access to a World Data portal which marries together official statistical data obtained from countries and remote sensing satellite imagery.
  • Integrated support for assessments and policy decision-making at the global, regional and country levels.
  • Real-time public interactive applications through communities of practice as well as access to the latest citizen science and citizen-driven monitoring networks. 

It is hoped that these new tools will greatly aid the streamlining of national monitoring, reporting and verification of data for global and regional environmental goals, including the SDGs.

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Image Source: World Bank

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