By Magdalena A K Muir, Climate Editor
Following the 2011 inaugural Summit, the Eye on Earth 2015 promotes dialogue and drives international action that revolutionises the way collect, access, share and use data and information for real-world change. The 2015 summit will seek to foster a culture of collaboration through a network committed to achieving scalable impact for a sustainable future. Based on their focus on the Oceans and Blue Carbon initiative, the 2015 Summit is very relevant for coastal and marine areas.
The Oceans & Blue Carbon Initiative
- Uses innovative technologies and Citizen Science techniques to develop dynamic habitat mapping and validation and upload tools to deliver timely, fit-for purpose, reliable and interoperable spatial datasets for mangroves, saltmarshes and sea grasses;
- Develops internationally approved methodologies and data standards to meet the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) requirements for transparent, complete, consistent, comparable and accurate data;
- Builds user communities, networks and local capacities to maximise the uptake of methodologies, data interoperability, and implementation and interpretation of carbon and ecosystem service assessments for management planning and knowledge sharing;
- Integrates work across on-going and future activities in Blue Carbon on a global scale.
- Increases usage of ecosystem based approached in coastal management and conservation, which maximise climate change mitigation and adaptation potential;
- Reduces uncertainties and risk in trade-offs between development and conservation, particularly with respect to vulnerable populations; and
- Develops greater local capacity to use market-based mechanisms as a source of sustainable financing for coastal management and conservation.
Stakeholders of the Oceans & Blue Carbon initiative include: Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), Global Environment Fund (GEF), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP Global Resource Information Database (GRID) – Arendal, World Bank, Blue Ventures, Ecological Society of America (ESA), United States Geological Survey (USGS), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Forest Trends, Open Oceans Global (OOG) and Conservation International.
Data Innovation Challenges
The organizers of the Eye on Earth Summit have three data innovation challenges for which the finalists will have the opportunity to present their ideas at the Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The three competitions launched are the Data Innovation Showcase, Data Visualization Challenge and Blogging Competition, all of which support the Summit in its focus on using data to secure future for coasts, oceans and the planet..
Under the Innovation Showcase, citizen scientists are invited to create projects that use open data to: better manage food distribution and consumption, and reduce waste; support the health of forest ecosystems; and benefit urban biodiversity. According to the competition organizers, possible project ideas range from crowdsourcing data for tree inventories to creating a platform for getting excess food to people in need. Three finalists will be selected from this competition to present their work at the Summit, where a winner will be chosen.
Artists, designers and others interested in the creative display of data are invited to take part in the Visualization Challenge, which requires entrants to build visual interpretations of the social and economic impacts of poor air quality, oceanic warming and natural disasters. Participants can use images, animations, infographics, three-dimensional (3-D) models, computer simulations, interactive maps and diagrams, and other types of visualizations. One finalist will be selected to attend the Summit.
The Blogging Competition calls on writers and bloggers to submit a piece under the theme ‘A Better World through Knowledge and Information.’ The submissions are requested to be aimed at catalyzing the ‘data revolution’ by addressing how to improve data availability for a more sustainable future and healthier planet. The winner will report live from the Summit as the ‘Official Eye on Earth Summit 2015 Blogger.’ The selected finalists will have their airfare and lodging covered so they may participate in the Summit, which will take place on 6-8 October 2015, in Abu Dhabi, UAE.