This describes an information product that helps policy makers and the general user to understand the links between the threats to biodiversity, the various responses society is making to counter these environmental threats and the impact of both on the conservation of species and ecosystems.
The contents of this integrated multimedia resource package comprise globally comprehensive:
- Information on key environmental problems and their interactions;
- Integrated information on the actions being taken by society to deal with these problems;
- Information on species, ecosystems and sites affected by the problems and solutions;
- Associated information on relevant international organizations;
- Associated information on relevant publications and other information sources; and
- Development of two-way links to relevant external websites.
This project links raw scientific information on threatened species and habitats with its wider cultural, geographic, heritage, policy, economic and social contexts. The project addresses the needs of the 'professional user': public policy makers, government administrations and those working in the field, as well as educational institutions and public libraries, journalists, NGOs, students, amateur biologists, researchers and any other citizens with serious interest in environmental subjects.
The component datasets are built up from public domain information. They are unique in the world and regarded as "industry-standards" for both their quality and category of information. The information would be made available on both CD-ROM and the Web in a manner that facilitates user interaction, annotation and feedback to ensure further development of the information.
There will be an English language version of all the data. Where interest and/or use is high, certain of the data will be in other European languages. User interfaces will be in several European languages. Through a multi-lingual thesaurus, users can make foreign language query searches and use non-English subject categories to access data only available in English. With much of the data, hyperlinks in one language are valid in another.
This product/service is of pan-European relevance. It is equally of global importance and will be launched and marketed as such. It enhances inter-sectoral information transfer, as called for by Agenda 21 and complementary regional agendas in Europe; it supports the European Union's meeting of its objectives under international agreements such as the Bern, Bonn and Ramsar Conventions, the Caracas Action Plan and the Global Biodiversity Strategy; it directly supports both European Council Directives on the conservation of natural habitats, fauna and flora (Natura 2000) and current EC programmes on nature protection within the Community and environmental protection in developing countries and third countries.