CITES knowledge management contributes to UN Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (InforMEA)

Updated on 12 January 2021

For use of the media only;
not an official document.

Participants to 3rd MEA Information and Knowledge Management
Initiative Steering Committee Meeting held from 22 to 24 May
2012 in Montreux, Switzerland. Click to see a larger photo.

Geneva/Montreux, 24 May 2012 – InforMEA, an initiative launched in 2011 to enhance the sharing of information on international environmental agreements, has expanded its platform to include new members and innovative tools to support the governments when they need it most. The expansion will make a critical difference to the success of the platform and was crystallized at the Initiative’s third annual meeting held from 22 to 24 May 2012 in Montreux, Switzerland.

The meeting also discussed the development of a Virtual College on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), a Single Information Portal on Trade and Environment, a facility to analyse national reports, the development of a Thesaurus on Environmental Law and Conventions, as well as extensions of the open application programming interface (API) enabling InforMEA to exchange information with its participating MEAs. 

Mr John E. Scanlon, the Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), stated: "This Initiative is providing needed knowledge to officials who are working on the implementation of MEAs, and for policy makers seeking to take coherent and consistent decisions across multiple conventions".

New members to the MEA Information and Knowledge Management Initiative (InforMEA) include the four UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Conventions and the Regional Seas Programme. The European Environment Agency has also joined the Initiative as an observer. The Initiative currently includes 40 global and regional Agreements from 14 Secretariats hosted by four UN agencies and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its membership also includes observers involved in MEA information management.

Supported by UNEP, the Initiative aims to assist Parties to MEAs and the environment community at large, to access MEA information from one central location. The portal provides information on MEAs' decisions and resolutions, news, calendars of events, list of Parties, national focal points and national reports and strategies.

It also integrates literature, national legislation and case law as compiled in Ecolex – the Gateway to Environmental Law, operated jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), IUCN and UNEP. Information is organized against a set of 300 hierarchical terms extracted from the official agendas of each MEA Conference of the Parties. 

The Initiative remains committed to the harmonization of semantic and technical information management standards and to enhancing technical capacity at MEA Secretariats, which are the custodians of their data on behalf of their Parties.

Note to editors: For more information, please contact Marcos Silva at +41 22 917 8120 or [email protected]

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