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UNEP-WCMC Proteus 2012

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HISTORY

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.


NEW WPDA

UNEP-WCMC, IUCN, WCPATo create and launch in 2008 a decentralised, user-friendly, up-to-date system for storing, managing, and reporting on trends in coverage for all the world’s protected areas – conforming to best practice techniques and providing a platform that allows for the easy integration of other conservation datasets and user opinion.

In 2006 the support provided by Proteus Partners was focussed on re-developing the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). Established in 1981 by the IUCN and containing more than 120,000 records, this database provides the only comprehensive global inventory of the world’s protected areas.

Incorporating the official UN List of Protected Areas, this database is a key conservation resource, not only within the biodiversity community, but also for commercial organizations striving to minimize the impact of their activities on the environment. Sadly, data quality and delivery came into question at a time when demand and expectation were increasing along with the capability of technology and a growing appreciation of the severity of biodiversity loss. A total rebuild was deemed the most appropriate response.

The rebuilding of the WDPA was a major technical and political project that allowed for protected area datasets to be included from both Governments and NGOs; introduced quality assurance and peer review; decentralised data management to the regional level; gave more accurate boundary information and better metadata, especially of the original sources; provided the scope and quality of coverage that is necessary to do global gap analysis; gave better direction and instruction in appropriate data uses; allowed online queries; allowed for alternative viewpoints to be contributed; linked to other data sources and projects such as information on management effectiveness or tourism information.

Delivering the new database in 2008 will be accompanied by a series of pre-launches to introduce it to key stakeholders, starting with Governments, allowing them to work with and comment on the new technology. The database will then be refined and officially launched in October 2008, at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, by UNEP, UNEP-WCMC, IUCN, the Proteus supporters and other key partners.


PROTEUS 2012

Proteus 2012 is a new five year partnership building on the successes of Proteus between 2004 and 2007. It recognises that more needs to be done to deliver comprehensive protected area information, and that the task of joining different biodiversity datasets has barely started. The goal by 2012 is for decision-makers in industry and elsewhere to have access to the best possible data and information on the location and distribution of biodiversity of the highest value, as determined by globally important priority setting frameworks.

Proteus 2012 has three major objectives.

The first is to populate the new WDPA with the best available information and this will entail inter alia significant rebuilding of the IUCN expert network within the World Commission on Protected Areas, and a gradual move towards a decentralized and distributed approach to data capture, management and reporting. It will also involve a sharpened focus on data quality and maintenance processes.

The second is to work with leading biodiversity organisations to combine other key biodiversity datasets with the WDPA, integrating them or making them fully interoperable, so that decision-makers have the best available data on irreplaceable, but unprotected biodiversity and prospective protected areas.

The third is to develop an online resource on critical coastal and inshore marine ecosystems and pioneer the use of ‘citizen science’ (using ‘Wiki-style’ web tools) for creating a continually updated online resource.

Meeting these objectives will require the development of new partnerships and data-sharing agreements in line with the principles of the Conservation Commons. Success will depend on innovative new relationships with conservation NGOs that can bring important new data and information into the mix. An early example of this is the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) produced by BirdLife International, Conservation International and UNEP-WCMC with IUCN as an observer.


PROTEUS 2012 - WORK PLAN

Implementation Plan 2008: This plan is for the first year of a five-year programme of activities for which the total budget for implementation is US$ 9 million. The plan is optimistic, but achievable with sufficient planning, financial support and the cooperation of partners and stakeholders.

Some of these activities will be completed in 2008, others will continue into 2009 and beyond in this or a modified form. In addition, some activities will not start until later years, so the programme therefore does not include all activities necessary for achieving the objectives.

OBJECTIVE 1: Significantly improve the accuracy, completeness and currency of information available in the World Database on Protected Areas

1.1 Common data standards

1.1.1 Prepare a paper on draft standards as a basis for discussion, drawing on existing standards and common usage wherever possible

1.1.2 Working in close collaboration with IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA),review the discussion paper with a wide range of protected areas professionals and other key stakeholders

1.1.3 Prepare a draft common data standard based on the feedback received and incorporating other identified standards (e.g. categories, metadata)

1.1.4 Secure endorsement of the draft standard by IUCN WCPA and widely disseminate the agreed standard

1.2 Improved processes for data capture

1.2.1 Prepare guidelines on data management as one of the WCPA guidelines series, and promote these through WCPA etc.

1.2.2 Review ways in which protected area management agencies and governments currently manage and make available protected areas data

1.2.3 Test means of directly accessing national or agency data with a number of countries with a view to moving towards a distributed database

1.2.4 Based on the review and experience, develop a strategy for capacity building and extending direct access to national data and identify what tools are required

1.2.5 Work with WCPA regional meetings to increase the flow of information to the WDPA, including promoting development of a distributed approach

1.2.6 Work with other agencies and organizations holding protected areas data to increase its incorporation within the WDPA

1.2.7 Prepare a report on improvements in the WDPA over the year for communication to stakeholders

1.3 Improved processes for quality control

1.3.1 Document and test the data check and quality control processes implemented during the redevelopment of WDPA

1.3.2 Review the database to identify site data which does not pass these new checks and either quarantine the data or correct inadequacies/errors

1.3.3 Prepare a discussion paper on options for a structured WDPA peer review by IUCN WCPA and its membership

1.3.4 Convene a workshop with the WCPA Steering Committee (particularly regional vice-chairs) to review and agree on a process for WDPA peer review

1.3.5 Test the agreed WDPA peer review process in one IUCN WCPA region and review the results with the IUCN WCPA Steering Committee

1.3.6 Prepare, publish and disseminate a quality control and peer review plan based on the outcomes of these activities

1.4 Ongoing promotion of WDPA and its products

1.4.1 Prepare a marketing and communications strategy for the WDPA, working in collaboration with IUCN WCPA

1.4.2 Use the World Conservation Congress, the World Protected Areas Leadership Forum and Durban+5 meetings as a major opportunities to promote the WDPA

1.4.3 Disseminate other marketing materials as agreed, including briefing materials in appropriate languages to all protected area management agencies

 

OBJECTIVE 2: Provide integrated access to information on sites important for biodiversity identified by a wide range of internationally active organizations

2.1 Analysis of opportunities and needs

2.1.1 Review opportunities and needs with key stakeholders as a basis for identifying key datasets and characteristics of necessary data capture and management tools

2.1.2 Review the essential characteristics of decision support tools with data providers and those we anticipate will ultimately use the tools

2.2 Data sharing partnerships and agreements

2.2.1 Develop partnership agreements with key data providers on data sharing, access and use, to ensure clear understanding of roles, responsibilities and resources

2.3 Improvements in key datasets

2.3.1 Work with partner organizations to review key datasets and identify data that needs to be added, modified or updated in the context of this programme

2.3.2 Provide individual partner organizations with the support necessary for making identified improvements as specified in partner-specific TOR

2.4 Online tools for data integration and access

2.4.1 Design tools for integrating and managing the datasets available within UNEP-WCMC and from partner organizations, either as a central or distributed database

2.4.2 Begin to develop and test the tools, incorporating data from multiple sources and combining them with other necessary data (e.g. country boundaries, topography)

2.4.3 Prepare initial analyses based on overlays of information for use in promotional materials (see below)

2.5 Decision support tools

2.5.1 Prepare initial design of decision support tools based on the input received from stakeholders through the review process

2.6 Promotion of the partnerships and products

2.6.1 Prepare the first draft of a marketing and communications strategy for review and comment

2.6.2 Prepare and disseminate promotional materials on the project and what it aims to achieve for data providers to use within their own organizations/networks

 

OBJECTIVE 3: Increase access to up-to-date information on the distribution and status of coastal and inshore marine ecosystems

3.1 Analysis of opportunities and needs

3.1.1 Review opportunities and needs with key stakeholders as a basis for identifying key datasets and characteristics of necessary data capture and management tools

3.1.2 Review the essential characteristics of decision support tools with data providers and those we anticipate will ultimately use the tools

3.2 Data sharing partnerships and agreements

3.2.1 Develop partnership agreements with key data providers on data sharing, access and use, to ensure clear understanding of roles, responsibilities and resources

3.3 Improvements in key datasets

3.3.1 Work with partner organizations to review key datasets and identify data that needs to be added, modified or updated in the context of this programme

3.3.2 Provide individual partner organizations with the support necessary for making identified improvements as specified in partner-specific TOR.

3.4 Online "geo-wiki" tools for data management

3.4.1 Design tools for integrating and managing the datasets available within UNEP-WCMC and from partner organizations, either as a central or distributed database

3.4.2 Begin to develop and test the tools, incorporating data from multiple sources and combining them with other necessary data (e.g. country boundaries, topography)

3.4.3 Begin to develop and test a geo-wiki component for incorporating data, including necessary checking, review and endorsement processes

3.4.4 Prepare initial analyses based on overlays of information for use in promotional materials

3.5 Online tools for data visualization

3.5.1 Review available tools and the ways in which they could be used to present data now and in the future

3.5.2 Initiate dialogue with those developing and marketing the visualization tools with a view to collaboration in delivery of information and services

3.6 Decision support tools

3.6.1 Prepare initial design of decision support tools based on the input received from stakeholders through the review process

3.7 Promotion of the partnerships and products

3.7.1 Prepare a communications strategy for encouraging the collaboration of those who can contribute to data content

3.7.2 Prepare and disseminate promotional materials on the project and what it aims to achieve for potential data providers and project partners and their networks


PROTEUS 2012 - PARTNERS

Since its inception, the Proteus partnership has proved itself to be an effective vehicle for progressive corporate businesses that recognise the importance of biodiversity to support the important work of UNEP-WCMC. A particular challenge for Proteus 2012 is to build on the strengths of this early experience while charting a way into important new territory that involves extensive collaboration and flow of significant financial resources to conservation partners.

Business participation in Proteus has broadened considerably since 2004, but at the start of 2007 it predominantly comprised major companies from the Oil and Gas, Minerals and Mining sectors, together with a number of important technology providers. As a result of the strong performance of Proteus in recent years, together with the adoption of a more participatory operational model, it is expected that a number of new business partners will be recruited.

Proteus 2012 partners contribute within a three-tiered system of support. Platinum partners contribute in the order of US$ 100,000 and are fully involved in the governance of Proteus 2012. Gold partners and Silver partners contribute at a lower level and are less involved in governance.

The current Proteus 2012 partners are:

Anglo American; BP; BHPBilliton; Chevron; ConocoPhillips; ESRI; ExxonMobil; IHS; Microsoft; Oracle; PremierOil; Repsol YPF; RioTinto; Safe Software; Shell; StatoilHydro; Total; WellData.


PROTEUS 2012 - IBAT

Contributing to the second Objective of Proteus 2012, the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) is the first outcome of a broad, ambitious vision for improved collection, monitoring, curation and interoperability of biodiversity data shared by an alliance of globally respected organizations that is being promoted by BirdLife International, Conservation International (CI) and UNEP-WCMC. The IUCN, which creates a global framework for gathering species data and is a partner in the creation of the WDPA, contributes to the alliance as an observer.

The IBAT for Business that will be launched during 2008 responds to the need for accurate biodiversity information at the site level when planning new operations and assessing the risks associated with certain sourcing practices. This tool will allow companies to access critical site-scale biodiversity information allowing decision-makers to incorporate important biodiversity priorities into their risk assessment procedures for existing and potential operations.

IBAT is designed to also support the explicit consideration of conservation priorities in development agendas. More specifically, IBAT will help inform the implementation of various environmental safeguard policies by facilitating access to information on high priority sites for conservation, whether or not these are legally protected at the moment. Many will be candidates for future legal protection. Providing access to this information at the earliest stages of project planning will make it easier to consider alternative projects or locations when such changes are still economically viable.


The core site-scale data available through IBAT is:

i) Protected Areas: National legally protected areas categorized by IUCN, together with sites recognized under international agreements such as the UNESCO World Heritage, UNESCO Man-and-Biosphere and Ramsar conventions. These datasets originate from the WDPA

ii) Key Biodiversity Areas: Critically important sites holding globally threatened, restricted range and/or biome-representative communities of species, as well as globally significant congregations of any species. These sites, including Important Bird Areas, Important Plant Areas and sites identified by the Alliance for Zero Extinction, have been identified in 173 countries and territories by a global network of international and local partners using global standards and criteria. These datasets originate from the World Biodiversity Database (WBDB)

 


 

 

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