December 12, 2011

Abu Dhabi
December 12, 2011
Courtesy of WAM/Emirates News Agency
Edited by Deb Castellana

Running through the 15th of December at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
(ADNEC),  the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi Summit and Exhibition will draw attention to the gap that exists between the need for better information about the environment and the efforts being made thus far to address the issue. Decision-makers worldwide will be asked to share their data in The Summit’s development initiatives.
“The United Arab Emirates and Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) looks forward to welcoming both local and international and to move toward developing a unified framework to keep the global environment under continuous review and improve access to environmental and societal data,” said H. H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative of the Western Region and Chairman of EAD.
“In terms of environmental and societal data, too many institutions around the world still live in the past,” said Mohammed Al Bowardi, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chair of the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Summit. “Much data is not freely available, housed in incompatible formats, or just kept on paper in an archive.  Also much environmental data simply does not exist, particularly in developing countries, and these countries do not have the means to acquire or generate them. But we know how important data and its access are for sustainable development. The Summit and Exhibition are expressions of our commitment.”
A key outcome of the Summit is the adoption of the Eye on Earth Summit Declaration, which will provide input to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012 (Rio+20).
Through this Declaration, attending ministers, representatives of government and other participants will commit to facilitate the work required to make quality data and information available to those who need it, especially in emerging economies. The public is invited to sign the declaration at the Exhibition.
A feature of the Exhibition will be the Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre’s (ADSIC) model of the city of Abu Dhabi which displays many layers of environmental and societal data mapped onto a physical model representing the future of Abu Dhabi.
The Pavilion will offer visitors and spatial data experts a glimpse of the continuous progress that the Program has witnessed since its launch in 2007, as it now boasts an expanding community of over 50 governmental entities. It will also showcase the Program’s current and future projects and initiatives, in line with the UAE’s leadership objectives of achieving a higher level of geo-spatial maturity and empowerment in the community, as part of the Abu Dhabi e-Government strategy.
Confirmed attendees of the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Summit and Exhibition include UAE leadership, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dame Jane Morris Goodall, Russell Mittermeier, President of Conservation International, Dr.Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence, and Sha Zukang, United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and the Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

Held under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Summit and Exhibition is hosted by Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), facilitated by Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) and held in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
National Geographic Al Arabiya will participate as a media partner at the Summit. It will be part of the exhibition area showcasing its photo exhibitions, ‘Colors of the World’ and ‘Simply Beautiful’ featuring 32 National Geographic photographs from around the globe. Mohammed Al Hammadi, editor-in-chief, National Geographic Al Arabiya, said, “The National Geographic Al Arabiya photo exhibit is a wonderful example of the rich content we provide to inspire and educate our audience about our planet and our responsibility to protect it.”

Dr. Sylvia Earle,  explorer-in-residence at National Geographic, said, “I am going to Abu Dhabi because that is where the action is. That’s where people are gathering from all over the world to put their heads together and reflect on what we need to know going forward and how we’re going to get there.”

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