Volume 19, No.08 - August 2015

Trends and analysis

Using geospatial information to address global challenges

ggim copyUN DESA’s Statistics Division is organizing the Fifth Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), to be held in New York on 5-7 August.

As a formal inter-governmental mechanism, UN-GGIM is playing a leading role in setting the agenda and direction for the development of global geospatial information and in promoting its use to address key global challenges.

It is expected that the meeting of senior executives from national geospatial information authorities and geospatial experts will augur for a very important visioning and strategic event, which recognizes the critical role of geospatial information management and the need for strengthened collaboration and joined initiatives, to advance the development and use of geospatial data and tools to support global sustainability.

The United Nations Committee of Experts on GGIM welcomes the participation of Member States and relevant international organisations to its Fifth Session as it continues to move forward in fulfilling its mandate to enhance collaboration and support the use of geospatial information to promote sustainable development globally. The formal Committee Session, convened from 5-7 August 2015, will be preceded by a number of related side events from 3 to 4 August.

For more information:

United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM)

VIDEO: Everything that happens, happens somewhere


Challenge calls for creative visualizations of development data

WebThe final Millennium Development Goals Report was released earlier this summer presenting the latest data on the progress of these global development goals over the last 15 years. To explore the achievements made and to dive deeper into the wealth of MDG data, the #WSD2015 Data Visualization Challenge competition has been launched by UN DESA’s Statistics Division in collaboration with Unite Ideas. Deadline for submissions is 20 September.

Taking place in the lead up to the upcoming celebration later this fall around World Statistics Day 2015, the contest invites students, data scientists, data journalists, graphic designers, and the public at large to put their data analysis and visualization skills to the test and contribute to answer relevant development policy questions by building an infographic or dynamic visualization, featuring the latest data from the 2015 MDG report.

Participants have a unique opportunity to delve into the latest MDG database, combing through development statistics data that have been the cornerstone of the development agenda over the last 15 years, to create visualizations and directly answer pressing policy questions.

The winner of the #WSD2015 Data Visualisation Challenge will be announced and showcased during World Statistics Day 2015, on 20 October. A selection of the best visualizations will also be showcased on the websites of UN DESA’s Statistics Division, Unite Ideas and related platforms worldwide.

The #WSD2015 Data Visualisation Challenge reflects UN DESA’s continued support to World Statistics Day under the guidance of the UN Statistical Commission, following the General Assembly’s invitation to Member States, members of specialized agencies, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society to observe the day.

This second World Statistics Day was officially adopted by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on 3 June 2015. This year, the day will be celebrated under the theme “Better data. Better lives.” The #WSD2015 Data Visualization Challenge allows everyone the chance to actively participate in this historic statistics celebration and showcase creative and unique visualizations featuring the latest development data.

Sound analysis and effective communication of high-quality data are an indispensable basis for informed policy making and for monitoring development efforts at all levels. As the world comes closer to the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, everyone can help make this historic World Statistics Day 2015 a success by contributing their knowledge and skills to make the best possible use of data and statistics to inform the creation and monitoring policies for sustainable development.

For more information: #WSD2015 Data Visualization Challenge


Milestone parade to promote rights of persons with disabilities in NYC

disability_parade2On Sunday 12 July, New York City celebrated its first-ever Disability Pride Parade to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Team United Nations joined the thousands of people who came out in support of persons with disabilities and their abilities, as well as to help raise awareness about the struggles they continue to face in their societies.

The milestone Parade included prominent speakers and live entertainment, as well as performances. Speakers include the Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Victor Calise of the Mayor’s Office for Persons with Disabilities and former Senator Tom Harkin, an original sponsor of the ADA and a strong supporter of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Along with the US speakers was Ambassador Oh Joon from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the UN, who is also the President of ECOSOC and President of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Daniela Bas, Director of UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development, was a lively and active participant in the group leading the parade. The Division houses the UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The multi-stakeholder Team United Nations was made up of delegates from Member States, staff from UN agencies and representatives of civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities. Members of the Team were visible in and around the Parade wearing blue UN T-shirts and carrying a large banner that read “Equality – Inclusion – Empowerment: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” as they walked down Broadway to Union Square.

In his speech, Ambassador Joon said “…the most significant contribution of the Convention is that it highlights the ‘rights-based approach’ to disability’. We must guarantee the equal rights of persons with disabilities to their physical environment and to information, not on the basis of favor or charity. We must make sure we ‘leave no one behind.’”

It was a time for people with disabilities to show pride their abilities and the way lived as full citizens of their societies who were just as capable as anyone. The Parade worked to raise awareness about the issues of concern to persons with disabilities in New York City – from high unemployment numbers to low availability of accessible transportation and from charity and pity to addressing stigma and discrimination, as well as the removal of barriers to the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in the lives of their societies.

During the parade, Daniela Bas noted: “Here in New York City – the city that also hosts the United Nations Headquarters – we are celebrating a very important issue that promotes equality and full participation of persons with disabilities in everyday life”. The Mayor of New York City declared the month of July as “Disability Pride Month”.

For more information: United Nations Enable