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UNEP-WCMC Proteus 2012

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The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is UNEP's biodiversity assessment and policy support centre acting as a global integrator for biodiversity information. Its work is governed by a number of international mandates and includes ecosystem assessments, support for the implementation of environmental agreements, compilation and management of regional and global biodiversity information, research on threats and impacts, and the development of future scenarios.

In support of the Centre’s work a public-private partnershipProteuswas launched in late 2003 as an ambitious five-year programme to make biodiversity information more freely available to the world and as a first step it made resources available for the Centre to turn its data holdings into a more cohesive set of linked databases.

The first three years of Proteus strengthened internal processes at UNEP-WCMC and brought together ecological and environmental information for presentation to a wide audience via the Internet. It resulted in:

  • Development of an Interactive Map Service which allows users to create customised maps for specific regions of the world with overlays of environmentally sensitive data.
  • Reconstruction of the global database of international trade in threatened species, working hand-in-hand with the CITES Secretariat.
  • Strengthening of the Centre’s species databases to provide information on the legislative status of threatened and endangered species, and especially those in trade.
  • Improvement of a wide range of critical ecosystem datasets including those on coral reefs and mangroves.

In early 2006 Proteus was refocused exclusively on rebuilding the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) and improving its quality in priority areas. The WDPA is a 'foundation' dataset for conservation activity worldwide, and central to high-level risk assessment for private sector activities that have a footprint on the natural world.


UNEP - Environmental Governance

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UNEPUNEP has a rich history assisting governments in obtaining environmental information for decision-making, enhancing global and regional environmental cooperation, developing and applying national and international environmental law, advancing national and regional implementation of environmental objectives, and bridging major groups and governments in policy development and implementation processes.


Environmental governance at the national, regional and global levels is critical for the achievement of environmental sustainability. Strengthened environmental governance should be in place at all levels to respond quickly and effectively to emerging environmental challenges, and to address agreed environmental priorities. Actions are required:

  • To support coherent international decision-making processes for environmental governance;
  • To catalyze international efforts to pursue the implementation of internationally agreed objectives;
  • To support regional, subregional and national environmental governance processes and institutions;
  • To promote and support the environmental basis for sustainable development at the national level.

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