Under the patronage of The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Want to know more about us?
- What is Eye on Earth?
- Why convene Eye on Earth?
- Is Eye on Earth a global summit?
- What is the organisational structure of the Eye on Earth Summit 2011?
- Who attended Eye on Earth 2011?
- Who presented at the Summit?
- What were the Summit’s outcomes?
- What did the Eye on Earth Exhibition include?
- How were the Summit’s key issues and topics identified and developed?
Want to know more about us?
Download and read our factsheets:
- Agedi Factsheet English / Arabic
- EAD Factsheet English / Arabic
- Eye on Earth Factsheet English / Arabic
- Eye on Earth newsletter
- UNEP Factsheet English / Arabic
What is Eye on Earth?
Eye on Earth is a global summit meeting that focuses on the issue of greater access to environmental and societal data by all of those who need it. The inaugural Summit was held in Abu Dhabi, 12th - 15th December. The Summit was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and will reconvene in 2 years’ time.
Eye on Earth is facilitated by Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), and hosted by Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), The Summit was an invitation only event that was complemented by an open Eye on Earth Exhibition, free for the general public to visit.
Why convene Eye on Earth?
The vision of Eye on Earth was formed almost ten years ago. On 2 September 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, Abu Dhabi Global Environment Data Initiative (AGEDI) was announced by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a Type II Initiative. The need to ensure readily accessible, accurate and relevant data from which to inform sound environmental management, monitoring and performance was emphasised.
Today’s challenges have grown beyond those faced in 2002. Water scarcity, food security and climate change are issues of policy that require action and solutions that extend beyond political boundaries. The need for collaboration, information and understanding is greater than ever.
Access to environmental knowledge is critical. Wise decision-making depends on an ever-growing pool of often hard-to-access data. It may be absent, inaccessible or simply hidden. As a result of inaccurate decision-making caused by the lack of useable quality data, Emerging Economies in particular are losing valuable environmental assets. These are issues that can only be resolved by a concerted effort of all those involved, from information specialists to policymakers. Eye on Earth will address this challenge by convening world leaders, the environmental and societal information networking movement and others to celebrate ‘best-impact’ data initiatives from around the globe, converge on key issues to reach consensus on solutions to greater data accessibility and collaborate to strengthen existing initiatives and, where necessary, to launch new ones.
Is Eye on Earth a global summit?
Yes, very much so. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is a major Summit Partner. In addition, the European Environment Agency (EEA), Group on Earth Observations (GEO), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Bank, Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI), UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and other international organisations are key Eye on Earth partners. They all helped to shape the Summit programme and ensure the outcomes have global impacts and that will help to bridge environmental data and information gaps between the developed and emerging economies of the world.
What is the organisational structure of the Eye on Earth Summit 2011?
The Eye on Earth Summit was split into two segments: Open Sessions and Rio +20 Sessions. The Open Sessions started on Monday 12th December and ran for three and a half days. They focused on matters such as environmental data and information, information systems, networking and governance, ICT infrastructure, capacity building, education and awareness-raising..
The Rio +20 Sessions commenced on Tuesday 13th December 2011. They targeted high-level officials including ministers, deputy-ministers and senior officials and will have the format of a panel discussion on the role of environmental information to support decision-making. The Rio +20 Sessions approved a set of recommendations from the Open Sessions and adopted the Eye on Earth Declaration.
The Summit provided input to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in 2012 (Rio+20). Finally, the Summit was preceded by a Major Groups and Stakeholders consultation on Sunday 11th December 2011.
Who attended Eye on Earth 2011?
The Eye on Earth Summit hosted approximately 1500 invited delegates. These included current and former heads of state, Government Ministers, Environment Ministers, international environmental agency heads, leaders and officials from a wide range of international bodies ranging from the EU and World Bank to NGOs and academic organisations, international finance and development assistance institutions, private foundations, non-governmental organisations, scientific, technological and educational bodies, the private sector, media, civil society and youth. The delegates were united by a common interest in advancing environmental policy and decision-making through the development, networking and application of environmental data and information.
Who presented at the Summit?
The Summit included a unique and dynamic blend of prominent speakers from the worlds of, business, government, philanthropy, data engineering and technology, environmental protection, industry, civil society and youth. Speakers at the Eye on Earth 2011included former heads of state, royalty, global business leaders, the world’s top environmentalists, scientists and economists and high level executives from the data and information industries. The Summit programme included a diverse mix of components, designed to provoke, inform and inspire positive action. To ensure a programme that was as relevant and impactful as possible, the Eye on Earth Summit agenda and schedule were developed with the aid of a system of Summit Governance representing all aspects of the global environmental and social data movements. For individual presenters visit Speakers 2011.
What were the Summit’s outcomes?
The Summit produced a ministerial-level Eye on Earth Declaration on environmental data and information that will be carried forward to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012.
In addition from the Summit, was the announcement of a number of Special Initiatives each focused on solving specific issues related to access to, and use of, environmental data and information. These initiatives were developed through a multi-stakeholder Working Group process. The Special Initiatives will be carried forward through Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) with relevant identified stakeholders. For more information about the agreed Special Initiatives visit Summit Outcomes.
What did the Eye on Earth Exhibition include?
The Exhibition included a dynamic, multi-media mix of informational and educational products. These included a:
- Technology Showcase; demonstrated how GIS and other environmental information technologies have been used successfully in the field;
- AGEDI Showcase; provided insight into the history, current positioning and future of AGEDI, the AGEDI products, partners, stakeholders and members who have contributed to AGEDI’s success. The key partners presented the projects and were available for discussion throughout the 3.5 days.
- UN Pavilion, brought together UNEP and other UN agencies, funds and programmes;
- Eye on Earth Theatre, included award winning films, videos, photos from key environmental organisations from around the world including National Geographic, Conservation International, EWS-WWF. The theatre also hosted a number of presentations including: Dr. Jane Goodall to the students of the UAE on Generation eYe day, local UAE TV personality Ali Al Saloom, Philippe Cousteau, co Founder of EarthEcho International and Azure Worldwide and Daniel Edelson, Senior Vice President, Education, National Geographic Society
- Innovation Forum, provided examples of new, leading edge technologies and project applications. In addition, the Exhibition’s centre stage and adjoining areas included programmed presentations as well as informal, “pop-up” meetings to learn more about the innovations and technologies available in the field of environmental and geospatial data access.
How were the Summit’s key issues and topics identified and developed?
Five key areas of interest were determined with Working Groups for each, they convened to identify and frame the most challenging environmental data and information issues.
Working Groups comprise thought leaders in their fields who represent a variety of sector interests.
The Working Groups are:
- Policy, Governance and Institutional Networking
- Content and User Needs
- Technical Infrastructure
- Capacity Building, Education and Awareness-raising
- Applications Showcase