Ecology Programmes Resource Watch

The world’s ecosystems―forests, wetlands, mangroves, freshwater, rivers and lakes, oceans, deserts, mountains, and more―are being degraded, jeopardizing the well-being of people and the planet. One factor hindering conservation and reversal of this degradation is the paucity of usable, timely, decision-relevant data. “Out of sight” often means “out of mind.” Efforts to close this data gap and shine a spotlight on the degradation of the world’s resources are constrained by 3 challenges:

  1. Data is unavailable;
  2. Data is unusable;
  3. Data is unused.

These data challenges in turn contribute to challenges in governance. Inadequate data results in poor resource management decisions, poor law enforcement, and weak political momentum. Without access to data, citizens can be shut out of decisions about resources that affect their livelihoods and well-being. And lack of data independence can facilitate corruption and prevent accountability. In short, information is necessary for driving transparency. Transparency combined with citizen engagement can drive accountability. And accountability leads to more responsible and better decisions. Public and private actors are more likely to make environmentally and socially responsible choices if they know that they are being watched.

To address the data challenge and take advantage of the data revolution, Resource Watch will be launched. Resource Watch will be an open, freely accessible, online global data system that unites technology, transparency, and human networks to drive sustainable management of the planet’s resources. It will combine advanced monitoring systems, data (historic, near-real-time, and projections), complementary imagery and maps, cloud computing, mobile technology, and a networked world to create never-before-possible transparency on what is happening to the world’s resources―both faraway and right at home. This resulting radical transparency on climate change, energy, food, water, cities, ecosystems and other critical issues will empower civil society, NGOs, the media, and progressive public and private sector leaders to take action to conserve, restore, and sustainably manage resources at a pace that matches the modern world.

Resource Watch is a collaborative initiative of the World Resources Institute.

Key features

  Free, open-data online data system
  State-of-the-art technology combined with cutting edge science
  Radically improves transparency and decision-making
  New frontier in management of resources and restoration of ecosystems