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What is GEAS?

GEAS is an email and web based alert service proving compelling and dynamic scientific information about environmental changes. GEAS collects and integrates data and information from various scientifically credible sources using standard formats. The goal is to empower people with engaging environmental information.

What will you find in GEAS? What are the components of GEAS?

GEAS has following three main components:

1: Environmental Hotspots Alerts: Through change studies of photographs, satellite images, maps and narratives, GEAS documents visual evidence of site specific environmental changes resulting from natural processes, human activities and the interaction between them.

2: Environmental Science Alerts: GEAS provides decision makers and interested users with the latest policy-relevant scientific findings about the environment condensed into short reports and briefing notes.

3:Near Real-Time Environmental Event Alerts: a notification service that uses appropriate formats (email, web service with real-time maps) to alert people about environmental events in a timely fashion.

Why do we need GEAS? Can I get similar information from other sources?

Although much information and many data sets are currently available in the public domain, there is a need for a credible information broker that searches and packages the policy-relevant materials from multiple sources and delivers that information in an easily understood format to the public and decision makers on a regular basis. Right information to the Right people in the Right format.

Who are the users of GEAS?

GEAS aims at serving a broad range of users including UNEP and UN staff, Environment Ministries, the general public, decision makers, scientists, and media, and focusing on audiences from developing countries with limited Internet connectivity.

What is role of other UNEP offices and regions in GEAS?

To achieve a global and effective service, the coordination of UNEP offices and regions is crucial to maximizing the impact. In particular, UNEP offices have following role:

  • Identification of global/regional/local environmental issues and environmental hotspots
  • Identification of users
  • Interaction and cooperation with regional media services
  • Dissemination of information (alerts, environmental changes studies and policy relevant briefing notes) in regional languages
  • Foster cooperation with local governments

What is the benefit to developing countries? What are the capacity building elements in GEAS?

GEAS provides local level information to global audiences: i.e., "globalization of local information"; and facilitates the flow of information from global sources to regional, national and local ones: i.e., "localization of global information". Consequently, it assists in the development of national research, monitoring and assessment capacities, including training in assessment and early warning, data and scientific resources access, and networking among universities with programmes of excellence in the field of the environment.

How does GEAS differ from the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)?

GEOSS is a "system of systems" consisting of existing and future Earth observation systems. GEOSS will generate better information for decision-making, and GEAS will bring this information to policy makers and other users in a user-friendly format.

How does GEAS contribute towards UNEP's early warning function?

GEAS is mechanism for identifying and communicating early warning information related to UNEP's following six thematic priority areas on a regular basis to the international community:

  • Climate Change
  • Disasters and Conflicts
  • Ecosystem Management
  • Environmental Governance
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Resource Efficiency—Sustainable, Consumption and Production.