UN Biodiversity Lab is now a registered Digital Public Good

UN Biodiversity Lab is now a registered Digital Public Good

The UN Biodiversity Lab (UNBL), an innovative spatial data analytics platform supported by One Earth, is now a digital public good, facilitating open access to spatial data that can inform environmental evidence-based decisions.

Designed to aid policymakers in identifying and addressing pressing issues related to conservation and sustainable development, UNBL is a key resource available in the digital public goods registry – a globally recognized list of digital public goods (DPGs).

DPGs are defined as open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable best practices, do no harm by design, and are highly relevant for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. In effect, this designation recognizes UNBL’s role in bringing together 400 of the world’s best global spatial data layers from more than 40 data providers for use in research, policymaking, and innovative software applications, based on the terms of use from the data providers who generate this wealth of knowledge.

Following its initial development in 2018, an updated UNBL 2.0 was launched in 2021 as a free, open-source platform by the Secretariat of the UN Biodiversity Convention (CBD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).

UNBL is powered by Impact Observatory and the Planetary Computer, which are leaders in producing technological innovation to support state-of-the-art infrastructure and user-centric design. The platform collates high-quality national and global spatial data on biodiversity to generate insight for action. Its recognition as a digital public good means it adheres to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices and does no harm by design. These attributes encourage its greater utility as a safe and trusted platform that countries can adapt to build their own digital public infrastructure.

UNBL assists stakeholders in monitoring and understanding the impacts of biodiversity loss, as well as recommending where action should be taken to protect, manage, and restore nature based on evidence-backed, high-quality data.

With the shift towards digitalization across countries, there has been an increased demand as well as an uptick in the development of digital data analytics platforms. UNBL’s stewardship by UN-based actors, its emphasis on the intersection between nature and nature-dependent development, and its focus on supporting countries in their commitments to the UN Biodiversity Convention distinguish it as an open-source resource designed for the public good.

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