Table 3: Analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for environmental information management in Rwanda Issue
Institu- tions and manage- ment of environ- mental in- formation
Availability of core da- tasets
REMA is mandated by Law No. 16/2006 to collect, manage and disseminate environmental information for various purposes.
The mandate of REMA is vague regard- ing the management of environmental information in other institutions. The requirement for collaboration in the area of information is not formalized and this hinders the management of environmental information.
Core datasets are available in the institutions.
Data has some limitations like currency of dataset, completeness, quality/ac- curacy, scale, resolution and complete absence of data. The sectoral approach to data collection and management opens up avenues for potential conflict between institutions, and creates prob- lems related to quality and standards. Lack of consensus on indicators and therefore datasets used to monitor progress.
Environmental informa- tion is being used to sup- port decision making and development planning.
Capacity building (human resources and equip- ment)
Positive political will within REMA. Supportive development partners like GRID-Arendal and UNEP to enhance professional development. Existence of institutions with expertise provides possibilities for in- country capacity building.
Various networks already exist within Rwanda. Part- nerships with local institu- tions and with develop- ment partners.
Absence of an environmental resource centre which would otherwise enhance access to and use of the environmental information
Few professionals in natural resources sector trained in the requisite informa- tion management skills.
Each institution maintains specific respon- sibility for environmental management as stipulated in their individual expert mandates. Under Law No. 16/2006, REMA has the mandate to produce the SOE. This could be used as a tool to encourage net- working and information sharing among the REIN members.
Information management functions of in- stitutions as provided for by law. Collabora- tive arrangements with regional institutions like the Regional Remote Sensing Centre in Nairobi that can negotiate with interna- tional data providers or software makers like NASA and SPOT.
The lack of willingness to share or exchange data between the institutions.
Institutions may be unable to invest in state-of-the-art equip- ment and human resources required to maintain accuracy, manageability and timeliness to contemporary standards. Although not an immediate problem, commercial interests governing the sale of data may override the initial networking ethos and put restrictions on availability of data.
Demands and needs of the users and avail- ability of new technologies can drive the process for new and innovative approaches to environmental information management and products
Prospects for organisational learning be- tween institutions. For instance from the current SDI initiative: lessons learned could be disseminated and integrated into the REIN. Some Rwandans have training in en- vironmental information skills e.g. GIS and remote sensing
Conflicting institutional policies for information management and network- ing
The Spatial Data Infrastructure initia- tive presents opportunities for improved networking. REIN activities open avenues for targeted programmes to fill in any data gaps. Decentralisation policy offers a chance to build information sharing sys- tems from the grassroots, while addressing issues that are of relevance to the specific region.
Policy or legal
There exists a policy framework that supports the right to information on the state of the environ- ment and regular reporting on environmental issues.
The environment policy does not clear- ly call for the sharing and exchange of environmental information between institutions.
The new Access to Information Bill (2009) may offer prospects for improved informa- tion exchange between institutions and in the public domain.
Institutional ability to tailor data production to the users’ needs may not happen. Public perceptions can undermine the usefulness of data.
Regular investment in state-of- the art equipment and training of staff can be a challenge.
Inadequate staffing levels with- in institutions specifically to deal with environmental data.
Linking environmental infor- mation networking to policy process (eg ERDPS) to ensure relevance
Funding for the activities relat- ed to environmental informa- tion could be improved.
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