Addis Ababa, 22 April 2016 (ECA) – As the curtain falls on the 4th High Level Forum on UN Global Geospatial Information Management, geo-spatial experts, interested parties and governments declare the necessity of fit-for-purpose geo-spatial information for successful implementation of development programmes.
The Addis Ababa Declaration, adopted by over 300 delegates from 57 different countries resolves to “advocate for and increase political awareness and value of geospatial information in the context of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the 2063 African Union Agenda as a collective vision and roadmap to secure land and property rights for all.”
Entitled ‘Geospatial Information Management Towards Good Land Governance for the 2030 Agenda’ (Sustainable Development Goals), the Forum, opened on 20 April by Ethiopia’s President, Mr. Mulatu Teshome, notes that up to 75% of people-to-land relationships globally are not formalised thus paving a way to insecurity of tenure and unproductive use of land.
As geospatial information touches on many aspects of human life, conference delegates discussed a wide range of subjects related to good land governance such as land registration, administration, property rights, regulation frameworks, open data and standards systems, capacity building and partnerships.
“Population growth and urbanisation represent a challenge. Countries need to comprehend the scale and usage of land. It is therefore important to understand critical land information for management, for coping with climate change and for ensuring land rights for citizens,” asserted Mr. Oliver Chinganya, Director of the African Centre for Statistics at the Economic Commission for Africa.
The delegates emphasised the positive contribution geo-spatial information can have towards the implementation of the sustainable development goals and that good land governance through up-to-date and accurate information underpins a successful implementation of the goals. As Mr. Li Pengde, Co-chair of the UNGGIM stressed on Friday at a press conference, “without geo-spatial information, no government can plan and make good decisions.”
Many speakers encouraged countries to plan, coordinate and co-operate with other institutions and share data and information openly. The Forum advocated for coordination between mapping, geospatial agencies and national statistics institutions, to allow for the integration of geospatial and statistical information.
Potential areas of partnership include infrastructure development, geospatial applications, research, human capacity building, resource mobilisation, and institutional collaboration.
Mr. Andre Nonguierma, from ECA’s African Centre for Statistics encouraged countries to develop joint research initiatives in land, involving Africans, diaspora and scientific, technical and financial partners.
“Count on oneself and develop indigenous African capabilities and initiatives where all the technical capacities are maintained and shared,” he said.
The Forum was jointly organised by the Government of Ethiopia, the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UNGGIM) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
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