/ SMURBS - SMart URBan Solutions for air quality, disasters and city growth
SMURBS, partly due to its urban specialization, operates within a vast body of legal and policy frameworks. This body traverses many geographical and administrative scales, beginning from global and international policies such as the Sendai framework, the New Urban Agenda, and the SDG framework where it is aligned and pushes forward the corresponding GEO directives at the urban setting. Zeroing in at the European level and National level, the framework becomes legislatively more binding and the support more direct. Driven from an intensive gathering of stakeholder needs and identification of relative legal gaps or shortcomings, SMURBS purposed its Portfolio of Smart Urban Solutions to support local urban planners and national stakeholders in policies and operational activities that are Air Quality related (e.g. Directive 2008/50/EC, 2016/2284/EC, Helsinki Region Environmental Services, Stockholm Environment and Health Administration), Urban Growth and Migration policies (e.g. Leipzig charter on Sustainable European City, Kyiv Smart City Urban Atlas, Urban metrics for several Italian cities as well as resilience indicators for hosting migrants) as well as policies related to Disasters (e.g. Floods Directive 2007/60/EC, Seveso ΙΙΙ, disaster management in Attica Region, Bucharest management of land subsidence). The level of support to the aforementioned policies varies as some solutions entail direct monitoring and operational support while others offer insights on baselines, historical trends, current environmental hot-spots and, perhaps most importantly, enable scenario analysis for future planning. Thus, to use an example from the SDG framework, while SMURBS provides individual monitoring tools for SDG Indicators 11.1.1, 11.3.1 and 11.6.2, its Portfolio and implementation in the SMURBS cities collectively supports the, higher order, SDG 11 Targets and Goal. On a more strategic note, as SMURBS concludes, it is situated in a European turning point where Smart City has matured beyond its ICT origins and is seen as a means to realize the larger aspirations of urban sustainability and quality of life. SMURBS identified and advocated for this common scope between the Smart City and EO domains (only recently was the GEO 4th Engagement priority on resilient cities and human settlements endorsed, partly due to SMURBS efforts) and, understanding that the city is where much of the EU’s growth strategy, the “EU Green Deal”, will unfold, for which Horizon Europe has set aside an explicit Mission: Climate-neutral and smart cities, created a reference point for expanding the arsenal of policy makers and stakeholders, beyond monitoring into holistic planning for the sustainable future of cities.
/ GEO-essential - Essential Variables workflows for resource efficiency and environmental management
The ERA-PLANET/GEOEssential project is built on an end-user driven approach to first identify environmental policy indicators, then their associated Essential Variables (EVs), and finally the appropriate data sources. From international to local scales, environmental policies and indicators are more and more percolating from the global to the local agendas. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are being monitored with 232 indicators that are mostly thought to be derived from national statistics, but EO can help where national statistics or when adequate statistics are lacking. EO can also contribute to validate national statistics and provide assessment through time and space at finer resolutions. EO can help monitoring new indicators more easily, rapidly and systematically from space. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has been setting the scene for the national reporting on biodiversity conservation with the Aichi Targets since 1992. Established in 2010, the IPBES further developed a global and regional framework for biodiversity and ecosystem services models and scenarios, and further proposed a set of core and highlighted indicators. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has defined several indicators for the AR5 report to follow climate change, and impact and adaptation possibilities. These indicators are usually integrated in a vulnerability framework where climate change represents the exposure that is combined with sensitivity to define the potential impacts, and these indicators must themselves be combined with the adaptive capacity to assess vulnerability. UN-WATER coordinates the Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 and related indicators. With its yearly UN World Water Development reports, links with SDGs are becoming more explicit. UN-WATER is regularly using the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) and Vulnerability indicator frameworks in various reports. The International Energy Agency (IEA) provides annual country-by-country data on access to electricity and clean cooking (SDG 7.1). IEA energy balances are also the main data source for tracking official progress towards SDG targets on renewables (SDG 7.2) and energy efficiency (SDG 7.3). For the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the SDGs offer a new vision where food and agriculture are the key to sustainable development with indicators addressing the causes of poverty and hunger for a more just society. For the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the management of natural resources is a key to provide opportunities for decent employment, business development, increased fiscal revenues, and infrastructure linkages.
/ IGOSP - Integrated Global Observing Systems for Persistent Pollutants
iGOSP contributes to the activity of the GEO Flagship GOS4M (GlobalObservation System for Mercury) aimed to support nations, UNEP and all interested parties to characterize the links between mercury emissions and the impacts of Hg contamination on Earth System and human health. iGOSP provides Earth Observation (EO) data sets and validated interoperable tools to support policy makers in co-designing policy-driven scenarios that nations may implement for achieving the objectives of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The GOS4M Flagship is the development of an operational Knowledge Hub (GOS4M-KH), an integrated multi-model and multi-domain computational system designed to evaluate the potential effectiveness of measures that nations may undertake to reduce the impact of mercury worldwide. The first level macro-indicator is the Hg bioaccumulation in biological endpoints, which can be Hg in fish at upper trophic level (level 3 or 4), the second level is the Hg concentration in ambient air and precipitation samples. Long-term trends of macro-indicators can be analysed to assess the effectiveness of measures over medium to long time periods and eventually estimate associated socio-economic costs. In addition, iGOSP also supports implementation of the GEO initiative GOS4POPs (Global Observation System for Persistent Organic Pollutants) by developing a new integrated approach for global real-time monitoring of environmental quality with respect to air, water and human matrices contamination by toxic substances. The initiative uses a fully integrated system of advanced monitoring sensors and develops complex and fully harmonized information system complemented by visualization platform created within iGOSP. This initiative aims at increasing the availability of real-time data to policy-makers to make better decisions and design more effective policies in the area of regulating persistent pollutants and minimizing risks. Health, environment and data policies are all being supported within GOS4POPs.
ICUPE - Integrative and Comprehensive Understanding on Polar Environments
iCUPE is active at advising national agencies for environmental protection, climate, energy and space. The work in iCUPE has been greatly beneficial to support this advising activities. iCUPE supports its partners' national Arctic strategies as well as participates in the Arctic Council activities. iCUPE activities provide crucial data to UNEP Global Partnership on Atmospheric Mercury Transport and Fate Research (UNEP F&T) and to Global Monitoring Plan (GMP) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) of UNEP as well as GEO-flagship on mercury. iCUPE supports Minamata Convention by providing data on a quality controlled and consistent GMOS atmospheric mercury data set and improving mercury exposure estimates.The outcomes from iCUPE are directly relevant to the work of the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollutants (TF HTAP) under the UNECE-CLRTAP convention on long-range transport of air pollutants as well as AMAP/ACAP under the Arctic Council. iCUPE partner Aarhus University has been writing on a large report within the framework of AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program) on short-lived climate forcers, which will serve as a handbook for future decision making with respect to new mitigation strategies as well as extension of existent measurement programs to limit and evaluate the environmental changes in the Arctic.