Assessment of the UN website
The UN portal contains a collection of data sets used mainly for reporting the global environment outlook. The portal is structured in a manner that enables one to analyze the data and present it in form of graphical representation, spatial data, and tabular representation. It is also possible for one to make comparison of the data in terms of regions, sub regions, and nations. The portal has several themes which are relevant for environmental reporting. The themes cover two major domains of social economic and environmental. Under the environmental domain, some of the themes covered include: climate, vegetation, agriculture, and forestry; while under social economics, some of the themes covered include policies on health, the economy, population, and education.
The global environment outlook is a project conducted by UNEP in collaboration with other partnering organizations. This is part of the requirement for agenda 21 and also a decision reached by the governing council of UNEP. These datasets are therefore important for evaluating and reporting the overall outlook of global environment. They provide information that can be used to monitor progress in creation of sustainable development both in national level and global level. This information is mainly collected from various agencies that work closely with the UN. They include: the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, UNEP, UNESCO, The World Bank, IEA, OECD, and the UN statistical division.
These data sets also have limitations, despite the fact that they have been made accessible to all. Because of the nature of data collection, limitations can occur. At the national level, some data appear to be missing. This therefore limits one from having a general aggregate look into a specific variable or indicator.
Analysts argue that the approach used in assessing risk and vulnerability can pose a challenge when it comes to identifying areas which contribute to policy change and decision making. The use of vulnerability indicators have been proved to fail in providing a comprehensive assessment of vulnerability in one dimension. Because there can be several factors acting simultaneously and leading to mortality and the same time, it becomes difficult to associate mortality to one particular factor or dimension. For instance, one particular area can be deemed vulnerable to drought without any major loss of life while at the same time another area can be deemed vulnerable to drought with significant life loss. However, within such areas where there is huge life loss, other factors may also contribute to the loss of life. This could be poverty or communicable diseases. Therefore it may be challenging to measure the mortality or any other related dimension using flooding as an indicator.
Two countries, Germany and Indonesia, were selected for the presentation. Germany is known to be a one of the developed countries while Indonesia is still a developing country. The first vulnerability indicator in the presentation falls under the social economic domain. Health life expectancy is high in developed countries while low in developing countries. This is mainly because the developed countries have made effort in improving the living standards of its people in terms of healthcare, education, infrastructure, and job opportunities. This can be seen in the graph that compares HALE between Germany and Indonesia. However, an overview of the population reveals that Indonesia has a more economically active population than Germany. A large percentage of Indonesians are still young people and this segment of the population is growing unlike in Germany. Regarding emission of CO2, there is high level of emission in Germany compared to Indonesia. Most of this emission comes from industries and use of fossil fuels.
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