The Africa Environmental Information Network (AfricaEIN) initiative succeeds the old Africa Environmental Information Network, which was launched in 2003 and was mandated by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) to, among other purposes, support the Africa Environment Outlook (AEO) process . The rebranding of the initiative is a response to some of the challenges that the old network has faced . The AfricaeIN will be spearheaded by the AMCEN and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with support from GRID-Arendal.
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The network seeks to support African countries as they keep their state of the environment under review; to improve and provide integrated environmental assessment products that support national development planning processes; to strengthen the capacities of countries to meet environmental reporting obligations, including State of the environment (SOE) reports and the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) to which they are party; to facilitate the exchange of environmental information nationally, in Africa and globally; to enhance the incorporation of environmental considerations into national development planning, as well as in decision-making processes through improved access to data and information; and to support the preparation of relevant reports on policy and other products for use by governments, the AMCEN and other regional bodies and institutions .
The AfricaEIN focuses on identifying national strengths and weaknesses in the management of environmental information through a comprehensive set of performance indicators . The performance assessment will facilitate the monitoring of national progress towards achieving the objectives set out by the institutions engaged in environmental information management in Africa . It is intended that the performance of the various national environment information networks meets international standards .
Launched during the first quarter of 2013, the AfricaEIN’s initial phase is expected to run over a five-year period (from 2013 to 2017) . Anticipated milestones for the first two years of the project include: the establishment of a new AfricaEIN governance structure; the development and regular update of an AfricaEIN website; the training of National focal points (NFPS) so that activities are consistent and comparable across the region; the publication of national information products; and the regular assessment of the performance of environmental information management institutions in order to ensure that their activities are continuously improved and aligned with best practices .