Project aims to bring data to policy

Discussions for a project aiming to bring data-driven decision making and reporting to public policy in Samoa will officially begin on Monday at the Sheraton Samoa in Apia.

Attendees will include representatives from the Cook Islands, Niue, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands, the Tonga, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Samoa.

The 'Inform' project has an implementation period of four years from 2017-2021 and will be supported by multilateral and regional organisations  such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.), Pacific Community (S.P.C.) and the United Nations. 

Project Manager, Paul Anderson, told the Samoa Observer that Inform is designed to improve environmental decision making and reporting in the region through the establishment of new tools and processes to compile high quality data and use it.

“One of the results of the Inform project is the national data portals, which have been developed to enhance the use and access of environmental data in Pacific island countries," he said. 

"There is also the regional environment portal which acts to collate information and data for the national portals. 

“The regional meeting will bring together the project countries to update on the progress of the project delivery and share and learn from best practices around the region. 

"In the Pacific region there are some very innovative approaches to the use of improved technology to streamline workflows and improve governance – it will also strive to make these regional innovations available to all participants."

Mr. Anderson said they are working to improve collaboration between Pacific Island countries which would include sharing experiences on data management and insights on environmental data use. 

The meeting on Monday will also further strengthen the community of practice, which he said is forming around open data for decision making in the Pacific. 

“We are collaborating with our colleagues from S.P.C. in further developing the Pacific Data partnership," he said.

"Through this partnership both S.P.C. and S.P.R.E.P. have increased access and use of information available to Pacific Island countries for sustainable development. 

"Open data platforms promote the free flow and exchange of data within and amongst government agencies allowing more people to access and use the data for improved decision-making."

He said a new indicator reporting tool will be launched at Monday's meeting. 

“Participants will also learn about the Indicator Reporting Tool, which provides a streamlined method to use and re-use environmental indicators for reporting and planning," he said. 

"The meeting will promote the Pacific Open Data Community with the aim to develop a community to champion and practise the free flow and exchange of data in the Pacific."

One of the objectives of the project is to make information available to decision-makers with major events scheduled for next year set to benefit.

“There are a few major events in 2020 including the 2020 Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas which will be a target for outputs form this work," he said. 

“We acknowledge the dedicated officers from Environment departments around the region for their ongoing support and hard work, S.P.R.E.P’s senior management team and collaborating  partners." 

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