UNEP Live – United Nations Project

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has chosen the webLyzard platform to build a pioneering Web intelligence solution for global environmental indicators and related communication flows. The platform helps stakeholders to meet environmental goals and foster sustainable development. It analyzes public opinion trends on air quality, biodiversity and climate change from news and social media, corporate stakeholders, policy makers, and environmental organizations. Fully integrated into the UNEP Live knowledge management platform, webLyzard helps align and compare relevant articles and postings from these online sources with various environmental indicators.

Sharing Environmental Knowledge

unep-live-platformUNEP is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. For more than 40 years, UNEP has been actively promoting the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. UNEP uses the webLyzard platform to inform the public about the relevance of environmental online communication in decision making. In collaboration with the Department of New Media Technology of MODUL University Vienna, webLyzard has significantly extended the capabilities of UNEP Live, pursuing a system-wide approach to facilitating the exchange and sharing of environmental knowledge among member countries, research networks, communities of practice, indigenous peoples and society.

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Presentation of the Platform by Prof McGlade, UNEP Chief Scientist, at the Eye on Earth Summit 2015

Presentation at the UNEA-2 Summit

During the 2nd Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), held 23-27 May 2016 at the UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, the system has demonstrated its reliability and sophistication.

It was not only used to track the intense online media coverage about the event itself, in real time and across multiple languages, but was also presented as a live demo in invited talks at the Big Data Expo and the UNEA2 Science and Policy Forum (see related video tutorial and Slideshare online presentation).

Tracking the Evolution of the Public Dialog

To differentiate the environmental data gathered, the system automatically distinguishes factual information from individual, emotionally driven expressions of opinion. Capturing stakeholder perceptions of sustainability issues in real time helps to identify opinion leaders, and to structure the online dialog in terms of prevailing topics and geographic location. The result is a comprehensive repository of environmental knowledge. The system aligns social media postings contained in this repository with specific environmental indicators and provides visual tools to explore communication threads in a specific context. This helps environmental stakeholders to understand contested issues, track the evolution of public dialog over time, and identify key indicators that are shaping public opinion.

Searching and Seeing

Citizens and organizations can use the webLyzard dashboard to explore the latest environmental information on UNEP Live. Word trees show in which context terms such as “air quality”, “biodiversity” or “climate change” are discussed around the world. Geographic maps display origin and location targets of a communication, making it easier to track emerging stories and environmental trends. Entity maps enable users to explore relations among different organizations, individuals, or places. The resulting abilities to spot geographic patterns, identify shifts in opinions on environmental matters, and track the influence of stakeholders are highly valuable to decision makers.

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UNEP Live Roadmap

The webLyzard platform has a long tradition to support stakeholder communication and provide visual analytics solutions for major international organizations such as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Two major European research initiatives are currently extending the webLyzard platform. The ASAP project increases the scalability of novel methods to analyze and visualize big data archives. The DecarboNet project applies these methods to transform the Media Watch on Climate Change into a collective awareness platform that supports collaborative editing and reveals how information is created and shared in social media communities.