Integrated environmental assessment needs to be firmly based on reliable technical data and information. Environmental progress and policy effectiveness can be assessed only if quality data are routinely collected through monitoring systems. However, environmental monitoring infrastructure is poorly developed in most countries, making regular production of policy-relevant environmental data and indicators impossible. The situation is being exacerbated by the decline of some existing monitoring systems due to shrinking resources.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
Agenda 21 recommends:
Environmental assessments need data that are geo-referenced and information that is broken down by spatial areas other than administrative units. These data are still relatively scarce.