Cancun, December 10 - Imagine for a moment that a delegate from a small island state has to prepare a briefing for an international meeting on how certain species living along his state’s coastline are threatened by pollution, erosion, over-fishing and marine debris. This delegate is faced with an overwhelming task. He must identify and then wade through dozens of websites for information on the many different laws and regulations in place around the world protecting coastal endangered species from these threats. This is because there are over 70 different international environmental agreements in place worldwide to help countries manage everything from climate change and chemicals and waste, to biodiversity and African-Eurasian Migratory Birds. 

With these 70 agreements come the tools, data, reports and plans that help countries to meet their commitments under each agreement or treaty. It is a dense, complex and vast body of information. But within it lies much of the information needed for the responsible, effective and efficient governance of the global environment. The challenge of course for most governments, scientists and policymakers lies not only in finding the relevant information, but in identifying the commonalities and anomalies so critical to sound decision-making. Read More

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