Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS)

Système mondial de surveillance continue de l'environnement
Sistema Mundial de Vigilancia del Medio Ambiente

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1974, within the framework of United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), following recommendations made in 1972, Stockholm (Sweden). Originally one of the 6 main components of Earthwatch.


Ensure that comprehensive assessments are made of major environmental sectors and issues and thus provide the scientific data needed for the rational management of renewable natural resources and the environment; ensure the provision of early warning of environmental changes by analysing monitoring data; ensure that data gathered through monitoring are reliable, compatible and comparable.

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Cooperative technical environment monitoring and assessment programmes and projects, involving 25 major monitoring networks and the participation of 142 countries, provide governments and others with the information necessary to understand, anticipate and combat adverse environmental changes. They include: Global Programme for Urban Air Quality Monitoring and Assessment (GEMS/Air); GEMS/Water. Notable contributions have been made in: atmosphere, climate and ozone layer studies; ocean monitoring (through networks set up by UNEP's oceans and coastal areas programmes); transboundary air pollution (through ECE's environmental monitoring and evaluation programme). Renewable resources are surveyed from space, air and ground; for example, data has been used for assessing tropical forest resources.

'GEMS Programme Activity Centre (PAC)' links existing monitoring systems and catalyzes new stations and networks to fill any gaps. It provides the rigorous scientific basis for UNEP and the environmental management programmes of governments and other international agencies and institutions. It concentrates on GEM's 5 interlinked areas of concentration: monitoring related to atmosphere and climate; environment pollution; terrestrial renewable resources; collection of environmental data. Absorbed by another programme following dissolution of GEMS. UNEP Harmonization of Environmental Measurement Programme (UNEP-HEM), Munich (Germany), helps to standardize working data, handling and assessment procedures.


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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Resources
    • Resources
  • Societal Problems
    • Prevention
  • Research, Standards
    • Inspection, Tests
  • Cybernetics
    • Systems
  • Environment
    • Environment
  • Development
    • Sustainable Development

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on Land



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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