Using ARIES technology, the ARIES for SEEA Explorer application allows users anywhere in the world to produce rapid, standardized, scalable and customizable ecosystem accounts for their area of interest that are consistent with the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting framework.
Explained: UN Artificial Intelligence Tool ARIES for SEEA Explorer Works
New Delhi (ABC Live India): The United Nations launched an innovative artificial intelligence (AI) tool,ARIES for SEEA Explorer that will make it easier for countries to measure the contributions of nature to their economic prosperity and well‑being.
for Environment & Sustainability (ARIES, developed by researchers at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), is
an integrated, open-source modelling platform for environmental
sustainability, where researchers from across the globe can add their own data
and models to web-based repositories.
technology, the ARIES for SEEA Explorer application allows users anywhere in
the world to produce rapid, standardized, scalable and customizable ecosystem
their area of interest that are consistent with the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting
ARIES for SEEA is
available on the UN Global Platform, a cloud-service platform supporting
international collaboration in the development of official statistics using new
data sources and innovative methods.
does it do?
Easy-to-use and readily
available, the ARIES for SEEA Explorer lowers the barriers to compiling
ecosystem accounts. The application can generate ecosystem accounts for any
user-specified terrestrial area in the world (such as a country, administrative
region, watershed, etc.), by using freely available global remote-sensing
derived data and models, and rapidly computes these accounts online, using
a web browser.
Explorer functionalities are restricted to assessing ecosystem
1. Extent (based on the IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology),
2. Condition (for
forest ecosystem types),
3. Selected ecosystem
services in physical
and monetary units using basic models as a starting point. The outcomes
can be analyzed and downloaded to further explore the results (either through a
spreadsheet or GIS software).
Explorer automatically generates a comprehensive ecosystem accounts report,
fully documenting the data, models, coefficients and methods used.
does it work?
The use of artificial
intelligence (AI) – specifically semantics and machine reasoning – the ARIES
for SEEA Explorer automates data and model integration. A core component of
ARIES is the use of a set of consistent semantics, which comprise uniform and
unambiguous definitions for the data and models involved, and the relationships
between them. These semantics are constructed using an intuitive language
readable by both people and computers. For example, different datasets and
models are consistently labelled with clear, uniform and unambiguous
Explorer thus automates model selection based on a user’s specific request. It
chooses the “most appropriate” model for the location, spatiotemporal
resolution and account specified (e.g., an ecosystem service or condition
account for a given country and year) and depending on the models and data
sources accessible to the system.
How ARIES for SEEA
Explorer Can be use in Future ?
The functionalities of
the ARIES for SEEA Explorer will be continuously improved and expanded. Plans
are already in place to add additional ecosystem types to the extent accounts;
expand the condition accounts; and include additional ecosystem services, such
as water supply and flood regulation. The SEEA News and Notes will
report periodically as new updates become available.
Users will also be able to add their own
datasets through a simple drag-and-drop function of the interface, which will
allow to improve the quality the of accounts by making local/national data even
easier to incorporate into the Explorer. Users will also be able to decide who
accesses their additional datasets: they can keep their dataset confidential or
give access to selected users or make it broadly available for further reuse.
Finally, the ARIES for SEEA Explorer will
support compilation of selected SEEA Central Framework accounts.
can Access ARIES for SEEA?
RIES for SEEA can be
accessed in two different ways: using a web browser or using ARIES’ k.LAB
software. In both
instances, new users should first register by creating a user profile on the
Integrated Modelling Hub: https://integratedmodelling.org/hub/#/register. Please
note that if using a web browser to access ARIES for SEEA, it is preferable to
avoid the Edge browser.
During registration, users should provide a
username and email to create their profile (no
password is required at this stage). Users will receive a confirmation
e-mail immediately. If no confirmation email is received, please check your
spam folder. After
registration, users can access the web-based version of ARIES at: https://klab.officialstatistics.org/modeler?app=aries.seea.en.
After creating a profile, users can also access
the main Integrated Modelling hub page (https://integratedmodelling.org/hub/#/home). On this
page, users can find more information on how to get started, check/modify the
information in their profile (https://integratedmodelling.org/hub/#/profile/view), change
their password and perform steps needed to use ARIES’ k.LAB software.
The ARIES for SEEA Explorer is part of the ongoing strategy aiming towards ambitious yet achievable goals for data and model interoperability in the SEEA community. The interoperability strategy will describe the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders (data providers, research and model developers, and platform hosts) to support global SEEA Ecosystem Accounting implementation.
“The ARIES for SEEA Explorer is a game changer for governments that want to implement the recently adopted SEEA Ecosystem Accounting standard,” stressed Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the Statistics Division. “This application allows countries to jump-start accounts compilation from global data sources, which they can refine with national data or model parameters.”
The ecosystem accounts produced by
countries will track the extent, condition and services provided by nature’s
ecosystems – such as forests and wetlands – in the form of physical and
monetary accounts and indicators. The adoption of the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting
has been heralded as a historic step forward for the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) and to move beyond GDP in tracking global progress.
Bert Kroese, Deputy Director for
Statistics Netherlands and Chair of the UN Committee of Environmental-Economic
Accounting said, “The ARIES for SEEA Explorer will give countries a much-needed
tool to make progress with the SDGs and the monitoring framework of the
post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Its low barrier to entry will ensure
that no country is left behind when it comes to ecosystem accounting.”
Risenga Maluleke, Statistician-General
of Statistics South Africa and Chair of the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data
and Data Science for Official Statistics said, “The launch of the ARIES for
SEEA Explorer on the UN Global Platform is an important step to mainstream the
measurement of ecosystems and their contribution to the economy and wellbeing
into global, regional and domestic statistics that will feed into policy and
decision making. Better measures of nature will contribute to better policies
to save our planet.”
Building economic systems that value
nature as a central source of human wellbeing, environmental health and
economic prosperity in the post-COVID-19 world is essential, according to Susan
Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division. “Having technology that
incorporates and integrates the latest data, models and understanding of
nature’s contributions through natural capital accounting will facilitate
well-informed nature positive decision-making from businesses and governments –
driving tangible action on biodiversity loss and climate change and a
sustainable future for all,” she said.
The new platform could lead to greater
collaboration. Ferdinando Villa, Ikerbasque Professor and Lead Investigator of
ARIES at BC3, added, “There is a growing global demand for sustainable
management of our natural resources, and to achieve this, scientists and
decision-makers need to collaborate more and more. AI-based tools like the
ARIES for SEEA Explorer hold the key to a future where open integration and
reuse of knowledge, by both, is possible.”
The ARIES for SEEA Explorer is
available on the UN Global Platform: a cloud-service environment supporting
international collaboration among all countries in the world by sharing
scientific knowledge, data, methods and technology.
A number of countries have already
started using the ARIES for SEEA Explorer. The Explorer will continue to be
expanded in the near future, by adding the functionality to derive indicators
that allow to assess progress towards SDGs and the emerging post-2020 Global