23 June 2015

Update from Central European University Budapest: Eye on Environmental Education and Eye on Access for All

United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) member Central European University (CEU), located in Budapest, Hungary, has taken a special role in two of Eye on Earth’s special initiatives--Eye on Environmental Education and Eye on Access for All. In fact, the head of CEU’s Environmental Systems Laboratory, Viktor Lagutov, has recently been appointed Chair for the Eye on Environmental Education. During the up-coming summit he will hold projects such as “In Service ICT Training for Environmental Professionals,” which will focus on bridging the gap between the technology/information sector and policy makers. Of course, other UNAI universities play an important role as well, as they provide essential research and help nurture the next generation of problem-solvers.

Many of the environmental problems and challenges facing us today can be overcome with the effective collection and application of data on a global scale. Countries dealing with complex problems such as resource depletion, sustainable energy creation, loss of biodiversity, environmental damage, and many others, need access to the vast amount of data and information made available by various organizations and governments. Eye on Earth connects partners from all over the world in order to help facilitate the generation, maintainance, sharing, and application of this essential environmental, societal, and economic data so that countries facing these environmental problems have the information to solve them.

In December 2011, Eye on Earth held a summit of global leaders of both public and private organizations, including the Environmental Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD), the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), during which eight special initiatives were decided upon. Three of these are foundational: Eye on Access for All, Eye of Water Security, and Eye on Global Network of Networks. The other five are thematic: Eye on Environmental Education, Eye on Biodiversity, Eye on Community Sustainability and Resiliency, Eye on Distaster Management, and Eye on Oceans and Blue Carbon. Each of these is an integral part of solving environmental problems and will be continued and added upon during the upcoming summit in October 2015 in Abu Dhabi.

Recently, representatives from the core organizations convened at the UN in New York to discuss the progress of the various initiatives and programmes Eye on Earth has undertaken. During the meeting, which this writer attended, Mr. Gerard Cunningham, the coordinator from UNEP, claimed that the 2015 summit will focus on data demand, data supply, and enabling conditions, thus emphasizing the point that “its all about data and information.”

For more information see Eye on Earth and Central European University.

By UNAI Intern Scott Simonsen.