Data portal keeps National Environment Service informed

The National Environment Service has strengthened its foundation for informed decision-making. Having easy access to content to help this has been one of the roles of the Cook Islands Environment Data Portal. It houses information that can help identify past challenges and future trends to help bring about a sustainable, resilient environment.

The Cook Islands National Environment Data Portal currently has just under 500 data sets and four data set dashboards.  The data set dashboards are the different groupings of types of information.  All of this content can help guide decision-making and policy development.

Staff from the National Environment Service worked with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to continue cataloguing and management of this data as well as the sharing of content.  A three-day training programme was held in the Cook Islands in July 2022.

Data portal provides valuable information

“There is great value in data collection and the various information it can produce. Our Cook Islands Environment Data Portal is a growing treasure chest of wealth. It helps us to make the best decisions possible, ensures we learn from past actions to bring about a sustainable, resilient Cook Islands environment and better inform our people of the state of our environment,” says Ms Elizabeth Munro, from the National Environment Service.

“When we all contribute to this growing data portal, we are contributing to a better Cook Islands.   The National Environment Service will work with others to continue maintaining this Cook Islands Environment Data Portal. We’re pleased to undergo this training to help make this happen.”

The Cook Islands Environment Data Portal provides an easy way to find, access and reuse national data.  The safe storage of environmental datasets will help ensure information is available to monitor, evaluate and analyse environmental conditions and trends to support environmental planning, forecasting and reporting requirements at all levels.

Inform project highlights importance of data for decision making

It is part of a Pacific regional project called Inform, which is the unified response to the need for data-driven decision-making in the Pacific.  The three challenges the Inform project addresses are to increase data availability, improve information management and interpretation, as well as standard procedures for environmental data, and easy access and timely information for decision making, planning and reporting.

Content from within the Cook Islands Environment Data Portal helped develop the Cook Islands State of Environment Report that was released in 2020.  The training also helped build awareness and understanding of the existing tools and processes available such as data governance, and the National Environment Management Strategies.

“We’re pleased to work in partnership with the Cook Islands National Environment Service. Our engagement with the Cook Islands has been largely virtual over the past two years.  We’re excited about working with the Cook Islands team to expand the existing processes and services for the Cook Islands Environment Portal,” said Mr Tavita Su’a the Environmental Information Systems Developer and Analyst for SPREP.

“We look forward to the growth of information and data sets within this portal, and continuing partnership as we support the Cook Islands as it moves forward.  We know the importance of having available information – we know it can make a positive difference.”

Participants in the data portal training programme.

The Inform Project is supported through a strategic partnership between Pacific Island countries, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the UN-Environment Programme.  It is executed in fourteen Pacific Island Countries during a four-year regional project (2017–2021) including the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The training for the Cook Islands National Environment Service in partnership with SPREP was held from 26 – 28 July in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

SOURCE: Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

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The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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