The Consortium for Advancing the Monitoring of Ecosystem Sustainability in the Americas (CAMESA) is a multinational association of nongovernmental and governmental organizations and agencies dedicated to capitalizing on the value of data and information generated by the monitoring, observational, and inventorying sciences. The ecological, economic and social resources of the Western Hemisphere comprise the foci of CAMESA activity.
CAMESA was created to address the complex problems of providing a sustainable world for future generations. Success in developing effective strategies to confront this formidable challenge will require novel forms of cooperation and collaboration between and among institutions across all jurisdictional boundaries. While a variety of socioeconomic and policy-making processes for moving toward this desired future condition are taking place, their evolution is being accelerated by the rapidly increasing knowledge in science, engineering and technology—and by the emergence of increasingly practical ways for disseminating and using data and information for the creation of knowledge. In the Knowledge Age that we are now entering, connectivity and networking among people and institutions have become common denominators of the sustainability equation. Outputs from such knowledge-based partnership strategies could become powerful multipliers of progress in a wide range of social and economic endeavors for sustainability.
Among many other indicators, these ongoing transformations strongly indicate that it is timely for nations of the Americas to galvanize the scientific and technological capabilities of their institutions into concerted action for advancing research and monitoring for managing their economic, social, and ecological systems in a sustainable manner across continental scales. Working in partnership to carry out this common task will further evolve the knowledge of our institutions to successfully confront the complex sustainability challenges of the new millennium. In light of these emerging scenarios, new strategies for harnessing the power of knowledge that can result from working in partnership are essential for ensuring the health of ecosystems and the well-being of future generations.
The Consortium for Advancing the Monitoring of Ecosystem Sustainability in the Americas (CAMESA) was created to address a key component of the complexity of the concerns referred to above. Specifically, the Consortium serves as a network mechanism for fostering cooperation and collaboration between and among institutions in the Americas on a variety of issue areas relevant to the development of integrated monitoring research approaches, and to their application for the assessment and management of ecosystem sustainability at different levels of geographic scale.
Under a non-legally binding framework, the Consortium provides a flexible platform where the institutions responsible for addressing the sustainability challenges of the new millennium can partner in a fashion that is equal and impartial. For the Americas, bringing about this multi-institutional capacity is fundamental to meeting the challenges of ecosystem sustainability and ensuring the well-being of people and society.
The vision of the Consortium is to bring together the scientific and technological capabilities of the new millennium for facilitating and supporting the advancement of knowledge on integrated inventorying and monitoring research approaches for the assessment and management of ecosystem sustainability in the Americas. Central to the pursuit of this vision is the communication and transfer of this knowledge to enable institutions and people everywhere in the Americas so that they can become effective stakeholders in the pursuit of socioeconomic development that renews rather than degrades the physical and biological environment, and that enriches rather than impoverishes the social and cultural environment.
The Consortium’s mission is to promote the development of integrated inventory and monitoring research approaches that are cost-effective, technically-feasible, and scientifically-defensible and credible. This will assure the suitability of their application for the assessment and management of ecosystem sustainability at multiple levels of geographic scale and among institutions in the Americas. This mission focuses on the design and implementation of research and development projects, pilot studies, short courses, seminars, conferences, symposia, workshops, and institutional networking. The expected outcomes of these activities include establishing effective communication channels between and among its partners and clients in order to maximize knowledge networking and connectivity on all issue areas related to inventory and monitoring for the assessment of ecosystem sustainability.
The ultimate goal of the Consortium is to galvanize government and non-government institutions into concerted action to confront, with measurable success, complex and shared sustainability challenges across national boundaries and ecological systems.
Scope and Function
The Consortium’s scope embodies facilitation of institutional processes for promoting the development of integrated monitoring research approaches, and their application for the assessment and management of ecosystem sustainability at local, state, national, and continental scales in the Americas. Working with partners and clients, the action programs of the Consortium will be conducted across a variety of ecosystem resource groups: agro-ecosystems, forests, woodlands, plantations, arid and rangelands, wetlands, riparian and estuarine areas, surface and coastal waters, atmospheric systems, and urban ecosystems. Central to this operational context is that none of these ecosystems exists in isolation; each is part of the whole, and together they define the whole.
Through specific topical activities, the Consortium will provide supporting services for integration of inventory and monitoring research approaches across national and continental scales. The topical activities shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Global Change Monitoring Research and Applications;
- Ecosystem Management Science and Geospatial Applications;
- Inventory and Monitoring Science and Geospatial Applications;
- Criteria and Indicators Science and Geospatial Applications;
- Statistical Sampling Design Validation and Geospatial Applications;
- Field Methodology Design and Implementation;
- Quality Assurance and Quality Control Systems;
- Statistical Data Analysis and Geospatial Modeling Approaches;
- Data and Information Management Systems Design;
- Assessments and Syntheses Development;
- Total Quality Management of Inventory and Monitoring Research Programs; and
- Networking Strategies for Effective Information Communication.
By working on these priority areas, partner and client institutions will generate and share pertinent information for advancing their monitoring and research programs. Building this knowledge base capability will allow institutions in the Americas to follow consistent, compatible, comparable, and integrated inventory and monitoring strategies for the assessment and management of ecosystem sustainability.
Actors and Players
As stated in its vision, the Consortium serves institutions and people involved with or having relevant inventory and monitoring research programs for the assessment and management of ecosystem sustainability. Consequently, potential actors and players include, but are not limited to: land management and environmental protection agencies, trilateral and multilateral organizations, universities and research centers, foundations, industry, landowners, resource managers, graduate students, and the wider scientific community. Working under a non-legally binding framework for cooperation and collaboration, the Consortium’s partners and clients will have access to shared resources and services (e.g., publicly-available datasets and databases, publicly-accessible information management systems, experts, technical support, contact networks, publications, newsletters, meetings, seminars, short courses, conferences, workshops, symposia, benchmarking and evaluation exercises, international mission representation, and referrals). The Consortium will bring, therefore, the distinctive capabilities of member institutions and individuals into an integrated multinational partnership for the advancement of ecosystem resource inventory and monitoring.
Outcomes and Benefits
While the Consortium delivers tangible products and benefits from a research and technology transfer perspective, the most fundamental value is its facilitating role in fostering the development and application of integrated inventory and monitoring approaches across local, state, national, and continental scales. As a knowledge-based partnership, the Consortium brings about a joint response capability to further understand common problems and issues, define and establish strategies for action, seek out ways for alternative solutions to confront issues and problems, deliver assessments and syntheses, and establish mechanisms to cultivate cooperation and collaboration between and among institutions in the Americas. Significantly, creation of this joint response capability will enable partner institutions and society to deal more effectively with current and future environmental and socioeconomic uncertainties.