Climate Action

UN and Google team up to monitor environmental damage

UN Environment has announced a partnership with Google to provide trackable data on human impacts on the environment.

  • 18 July 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

UN Environment has announced a partnership with Google to provide trackable data on human impacts on the environment.

The goal of the new partnership is to provide countries, NGOs, and the public with unprecedented levels of access to data through a platform that monitors environmental changes. Once completed, the platform will allow countries to see which areas are in need of the most immediate attention, while also allowing them to track the progress that they have made on their ecosystems so far.

“UN Environment is excited to be partnering with Google, to make sure we have the most sophisticated online tools to track progress, identify priority areas for our action, and bring us one step closer to a sustainable world.” said UN Environment Head, Erik Solheim of the deal.

Compiling data can be slow and complicated, especially for smaller countries and, as a result, action on environmental problems is often hindered. This is something that the platform will attempt to change.

Rebecca Moore, Google’s Director of Google Earth, stated: "We are excited to enable all countries with equal access to the latest technology and information in support of global climate action and sustainable development."

Upon launching in October, the platform will only provide information on the Earth’s freshwater ecosystems, which provide habitat for 10 percent of the world’s species, but are also amongst the most threatened areas. From there, it will grow to include other critical ecosystems and environments.

Google will also collaborate with the European Space Agency (ESA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), to obtain satellite imagery and statistics, which it will then compile using its cloud computing technology.

The partnership between the American tech company and the UN was announced this week in New York City, at the annual High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The conference, which brings together governments, NGOs, and businesses, aims to review and ensure the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.