Monitoring challenges and progress of potential solutions for the planet

Resource Watch (developed by WRI and over 30 partners) is a dynamic online platform that leverages technology, data, and human networks to bring unprecedented transparency about the state of the planet’s resources and citizens. Despite the crises WRI has been expanding this platform and sees many possibilities for the future. Read the optimistic conversation we had with Anders Pedersen, Resource Watch Director at WRI.

What do you feel has been the biggest contribution of RW?

“Since the launch of Resource Watch in 2018 the data catalog has grown to more than 350 curated global datasets across areas such as ocean, land use and restoration. Newly added visualization functionalities have enabled conservation groups, air quality managers and sustainable ocean researchers to use Resource Watch to inform sustainable decision making. More than a dozen applications have been developed using the open-source Resource Watch API, thereby harnessing our data and maps for custom tools across carbon soil analysis, biodiversity, and conservation media. WRI has also powered new major thematic data initiatives such as Ocean Watch and Land & Carbon Lab, all leveraging the data and technology of Resource Watch.”


Resource Watch


Enhancing and expanding Resource Watch, a dynamic platform that leverages technology, data, and partners to bring unprecedented transparency about the planet right now.


Two interventions: • Enable more local organizations to easily create their own place-based monitoring system, combining Resource Watch’s core global data and functionality with user generated data; • Empower users with the information they need to reverse ecosystem degradation.


World Resources Institute (WRI)

Have there been challenges as well and if so, what turned out to be the biggest one?

“Resource Watch’s global trusted datasets and visualizations have been used by NGOs and journalists across the world. However, over the years we learned from our engagement with local organizations that they at times need specific local datasets, for example on restoration or conservation. To meet this need we undertook the development of a set of features for Resource Watch with input from partners across the DOB Ecology network. This will enable local organizations to combine their own datasets with our global data catalog to thereby monitor their local community more effectively.”

We face a cascade of global crisis around biodiversity, natural resources, and climate: do we have any reasons to be optimistic? Or, put differently: where do you think progress lies in tackling these crises?

“We have better technologies now than ever to monitor the current challenges to our planet and to measure the effects of potential solutions across for example land use, restoration and oceans. During the past ten years, we have witnessed a revolution in forest monitoring and continue to see progress thanks to advancement in remote sensing and satellite imagery. Until recently satellite imagery would only provide limited insights about the vast amount of restoration efforts that are being developed outside of forests. Thanks to new machine learning technology Resource Watch was able to publish new data on tree growth outside forests, which will empower NGOs to monitor progress from current restoration efforts and hold governments accountable to restoration targets. Resource Watch plays a key role in making these technological advancements freely available on an accessible platform, so that users can focus on advocating for equitable environmental interventions and turn data into action on the ground.”

Explore Forest Carbon Fluxes on Global Forest Watch here.

Explore the Trees in Mosaic Landscapes on Resource Watch here.