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About GEAS

Empowering people with engaging environmental information in a near-real time mode is now in the realm of reality. Decades after its birth, the Internet is slowly blossoming into a uniquely social medium that makes new information easily and continually available by harnessing the power of modern information and communication tools. UNEP's Global Environmental Alert Service (GEAS) will use the Internet to provide people with online access to compelling and dynamic information about environmental changes as they occur. This vehicle will be an engaging platform that piques interest in environmental issues and a tool that can help to mitigate environmental harm. The GEAS platform could well become the standard delivery mode for up-to-date information about any and all environment-related topics and the locales affected. One can easily imagine the BBC, CNN, and Google using the GEAS 'UNEP Living Sources' for describing the world's environmental affairs.

Harnessing the power of the Internet, GEAS will build on UNEP's existing infrastructure to enhance and accelerate the flow of information from scientific research and earth observation systems to environmental decision makers and the general public. 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 material and delivers that information in an easily understood format to the public and decision makers.

The Global Environmental Alert Service has three components that would support short and long-term decision-making:

Background Document

Early Warning Systems: State-of-Art Analysis and Future Directions

Component 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.

Component 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.

Component 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.