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Development Account Projects

Strengthening the geospatial information management capacities of developing countries for better policymaking at the national, regional and international levels

Background:

High-quality information and analyses are a prerequisite for good policymaking. In this respect, recent advances in technology have seen the emergence of location-based (geospatial) information as a major contributor to better policy formulation and responses to many of the current humanitarian, environmental and socio-economic problems facing the world, given its ability to integrate both quantitative and qualitative data across sectors and present such information to decision makers in innovative formats.
A number of international and regional initiatives have devoted attention and resources to assisting countries in building their national spatial data infrastructures. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the challenges developing countries face in effectively collecting and producing data, and in building and strengthening their national capacities, which often reside with the national mapping agencies. This imbalance was discussed in the Eighteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific in 2009, and the forty-first session of the Statistical Commission in 2010. In both events, the Member States recognized that increased international cooperation could help to develop greater potential of geospatial information and the underlying technologies, and make this more useful and accessible to a wide range of users and policymakers. Member States recommended reviewing the existing mechanisms and exploring the possibility of creating a global forum to better coordinate activities of United Nations bodies and other international organizations in this field, to exchange experiences of geospatial information management and to help countries in need to build their capacities. In light of this recommendation, the project will improve accessibility of national, regional and global geospatial data infrastructures by developing common standards and helping to establish a global coordination mechanism.
Strong accessibility to geospatial data is a fundamental requirement of good governance. An important implication of the project is that the increased exposure to country data of the public at large and the feedback and scrutiny to which the data will be subject, will have positive effects that can significantly enhance the quality and availability of national statistical and geospatial information required for development planning and for monitoring progress towards the internationally agreed development goals. The project will be executed by the United Nations Statistics Division in collaboration with the Economic and Social Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the African Centre for Statistics of the Economic Commission for Africa, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and the Economic Commission for Europe.

Objective:

To improve accessibility of timely, reliable and policy-relevant geospatial data for users, especially policy decision makers and researchers at the national, regional and international levels

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improved availability of national geospatial data provided to governmental organizations and other data producers by national statistical offices and national mapping agencies
  • Improved accessibility to national, regional and global geospatial data infrastructures of a wide range of users and policymakers by developing common standards and establishing a global coordination mechanism

Implementation status:

In progress.