Bundesamt f. Umwelt, Wald und Landschaft

Switzerland, the UN and the University of Geneva renew partnership Centre GRID, Geneva

Bern (ots) - The Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the University of Geneva are continuing to support the GRID-Geneva centre (Global Resource Information Database). The three partners signed an agreement on Friday which will renew their support for a period of four years. GRID's activities include the early detection of threats to the environment and the creation of environmental databases. Switzerland will pay, through SAEFL, an annual sum of CHF 350,000 over the period 2002-2005 to cover the activities of the GRID-Geneva Centre. «The early detection of threats is an important factor in protecting the environment» said SAEFL Director Philippe Roch. The support it gives to GRID-Geneva is also a sign of its desire to strengthen Geneva's green credentials, which were established with the International Environment House and the Geneva Environment Network (GEN). The objective of the GRID-Geneva centre is to provide and facilitate access to high-quality environmental information and data. It employs a staff of 26 and is managed by UNEP. The international organization is GRID's main funder. According to UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer, «GRID-Geneva provides UNEP with essential support in the areas of evaluation, communication and networking with organizations and programmes concerned with environmental monitoring». An example of collaboration University of Geneva Rector Maurice Bourquin said he was happy to sign the renewal of the cooperation agreement and went on, «This collaboration consolidates the University's teaching and research work in environmental sciences and sustainable development». The University of Geneva is seconding two researchers to GRID on a permanent basis. According to Philippe Roch, «GRID-Geneva is a very good example of collaboration between the Swiss government, the Cantons and international organizations». GRID-Geneva was set up by UNEP in 1985, with the support of the Canton of Geneva. The agreement signed on Friday is a continuation of the collaboration between the Swiss government, the University and GRID which began in 1998. ots Originaltext: Swiss Agency for the Environment Internet: www.newsaktuell.ch Contact: Philippe Roch, Director of the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape, tel. +41 (0) 79 277 51 88 Ron Witt, coordinator of the GRID-Geneva centre, tel. +41 (0) 22 917 82 94/5 Walter Wildi, University of Geneva, tel. +41 (0) 79 310 00 39 Internet GRID-Geneva website: http://www.grid.unep.ch UNEP website: http://www.unep.ch University of Geneva website: http://www.unige.ch Catalogue of Swiss environmental data sources: http://www.ch-cds.ch SAEFL website: http://www.environnement-suisse.ch/buwal/eng/index.html Attachment Fact sheet »Early detection from Geneva” UNEP UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME UNIVERSITY OF GENEVA SAEFL SWISS AGENCY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, FORESTS AND LANDSCAPE Press office