Decision-makers and professionals are facing the constant challenge of maintaining access and understanding new technologies and data, as information and communication technologies (ICTs) are continuously evolving and as more and more data is becoming available.
Despite continually improving technologies, it is difficult for decision makers to stay informed and up-to-date due to a lack of in-service education and professional training covering the most recent innovations in technology.
Decision-makers are in a position to greatly benefit from this data revolution and to better shape management strategies and make more informed, data-driven decisions if they have a periodic overview of emerging technologies and their potential applications.
Following this vision, the ISEPEI Project has been conducting a series of international workshops since 2014. ISEPEI, which stands for "In-Service ICT Training for Environmental Professionals", began as a seed-funded Eye on Earth project, aiming to bridge the gap between the powerful potential of ICTs, including geospatial technologies, and combatting environmental problems.
The ISEPEI workshops focus on the potential use and application of ICTs (e.g. remote sensing, geospatial technologies, crowdsourcing, distance learning) in various environmental and public policy themes, showing how these technologies are relevant, accessible, and easy to use for decision-making purposes despite traditional fears among practitioners.
Faculty typically represent UN agencies, environmental organizations, and geospatial experts from around the world, including UNDP, UNEP, UNOOSA, Esri, and Google, among others.
ISEPEI has run several workshops focused on Water Security and Disaster Management / Risk Reduction but will be expanding further into other environmental themes, including Biodiversity and Conservation, Urban Resiliency, and more. The ISEPEI framework is readily adaptable and transferable: whilst the environmental themes vary, some technologies used to address them can be used in numerous ways.
ISEPEI actively expands its network of partners in both the ICT industry and among environmental decision-makers from the Eye on Earth Communities of Practice and beyond. Using an established network, ISEPEI develops ICT workshops tailored to the needs of specific target groups of decision-makers.
In addition, ISEPEI has developed an online repository of case studies highlighting the use of ICTs in Water Security (http://isepei.org/training-manual), giving decision-makers access to real-life examples of how ICTs can improve decision-making.
ISEPEI started as a joint project of UNEP's Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) and CEU with seed financing from UNEP and The Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI). The associated workshops are now run under the organizational framework of the CEU Summer University.
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