The lack of quality, quantifiable environmental data has proven a major hindrance to the global process of achieving sustainable development. The result is that throughout the world, policy-makers are being challenged to make vital decisions without the necessary data.
The UAE was particularly concerned with the approach and criteria used for the results of the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), produced by the World Economic Forum in February 2002. The Index ranked the UAE 141 out of 142 countries, with an ESI of 25.7. It was recognised that the application of non-Region specific measures and associated indicators presented skewed results. The need to ensure readily accessible, accurate and relevant data from which to inform sound environmental management, monitoring and performance was emphasised.
Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a Steering Committee was formed on 2 May 2002, with the responsibility of establishing a UAE-based organisation that would clearly address this need.
The Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) was launched on 2 September 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a Type II Initiative.
Inaugurated in 2002 by H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, AGEDI was formed to facilitate quality environmental data that equips policy-makers with actionable, timely information to inform and guide critical decisions. AGEDI works in close coordination with long-term partners Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to maximise information exchange for improved decision-making at the local, national, regional and global levels.
Today, UNEP champions AGEDI on an international level, while EAD supports AGEDI on a local level and helps pave the way for environmental sustainability efforts in developing countries across the Arab world.
AGEDI is a specialised organisation with an invaluable network that offers considerable access and reach. It works to enables participation in and support for an active network of thought and action leaders from global environmental information networking movements including governmental, inter-governmental, non-governmental and private organisations.