Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

To increase the electronic linkage and integration of distributed databases of information relevant to the environment and natural resources.


During the G-7 Ministerial Conference devoted to the Information Society (Brussels 25-26 February) the G-7 members, along with the European Commission, decided to launch 11 pilot projects which are designed to demonstrate the potential benefits of the Information Society and to stimulate its deployment.

The key objectives of the pilot projects are to:

- Support international consensus on common principles for applications, access and interoperability of networks;
- Establish groundwork for cooperation among G-7 partners to create a critical mass to address the global Information Society issue;
- Create an opportunity for information exchange leading to further development of the Information Society;
- Identify and select exemplary projects with tangible, understandable, and demonstrable social, economic, and cultural benefits;
- Identify obstacles to implementing applications related to a global Information Society;
- Help create markets for new products and services.

The pilot project on Environment and Natural Resources Management aims at enhancing and invigorating on-going efforts while demonstrating the potential of a fully-fledged GII, by using information infrastructure and information management technologies to address key environmental and natural resources issues of relevance to both developed and developing nations. The long-term result of such efforts will be a virtual library of data and information held in globally distributed electronic sites accessible on emerging electronic networks. By making data and information regarding a pressing global problem more accessible, this project will enhance efforts to protect the environment and preserve natural resources.

As individual collectors of data related to the environment continue to collect and share new and different kinds of information, the pilot project would provide a basis for virtual integration of data from a wide variety of sources and encourage a collaborative, interoperable approach which captures the full potential of the emerging global Information Society.

The other pilot projects which were launched at the Brussels G-7 Ministerial Meeting cover the following theme areas: Global inventory; Global interoperability of broadband networks; Cross-cultural education and training; Electronic Libraries; Electronic museums and galleries; Global emergency management; Global healthcare applications; Government online; Global market place for SMEs; and Maritime information systems.


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The United States is responsible for the operational coordination of the Environment and Natural Resources Management project, backed up by a Group of Experts composed of representatives from all participating bodies.

The Group of Experts, which will meet at least once every six months, will develop, with interested national organizations, a plan of action for a two-year cycle of activities. The plan of action will identify major tasks, responsible parties, and methods to evaluate the effectiveness of mechanisms used in the initial pilot project and their applicability to a wider range of environmental and natural resources topics. It will also encourage those agencies currently exchanging environmental and natural resources data and information under other on-going cooperative activities such as CEOS, CEO and GOIN, to make their data and information available for this pilot project.

Non-G7 nations and other interested parties are encouraged to participate in the project, since the usefulness of the data base would be enhanced by a diversity of data sources. Participation would require network connectivity, willingness to make existing data available for electronic data inter exchange, willingness to cooperate on efforts to promote interoperability, and commitment to maintaining data quality.

The G-7, together with the other participants in the project, will expand and test electronic linkage and integration of distributed sources of data and information relevant to the environment and natural resources, by exchanging data and information regarding specific issues of concern to both developed and developing nations. One initial target issue will be linking data and information regarding climate change, an issue on which governments have already agreed to cooperate. Biodiversity, desertification, and other global issues may also be considered.

Implementation is to begin with digitizing (where necessary) and linking on the Internet platform climate change data and information, such as each G-7 nation's national reports to the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and underlying databases and documentation where possible. The US will be responsible for developing and maintaining the World Wide Web home page, but the National Communications and other data and information will be held by the originating nations. The expert group will encourage the appropriate international standards bodies to develop a Global Information Locator Service definition that will be applied to make this virtual library of data and information regarding climate change easily navigable.

The pilot project is scheduled to be completed, and ready for evaluation, in June 1997.
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