Decision-makers are faced with the constant challenge of maintaining access to and understanding new technologies and data, as information and communication technologies (ICTs) are constantly evolving and as more and more data is becoming available. Despite continually improving technologies, informed decision-making is being hindered by inadequate attention to enabling conditions, e.g. a lack of in-service education and professional training for decision-makers. 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 ICTs and the environment.
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 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 into other environmental themes, including Biodiversity and Conservation, Urban Resiliency, and more. The ISEPEI framework is readily adaptable and transferable: while the environmental themes vary, many of the ICTs that can be used to address them are the same.
ISEPEI actively expands its network of partners in both the ICT industry and among environmental decision-makers from within Eye on Earth Communities of Practice and beyond. Using the established network, ISEPEI develops ICT workshops tailored for 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), thereby 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 AGEDI. The associated workshops are run under the organizational framework of the CEU Summer University.
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