The United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) will be convening the Second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) in Hyderabad, India from 10-14 October 2022. Hosted by the Government of India through its Ministry of Science and Technology, the conference aims to promote a comprehensive dialogue on global geospatial information management with all relevant governments, international organizations, and stakeholders.
The theme of the event, “Geo-Enabling the Global Village: No one should be left behind” reinforces the fact that in a connected world, information and communication technologies have become the backbone of economies and livelihoods. “Mapping the Common ground” has become important more than ever for understanding and managing complex interactions between economic, social, and environmental factors. With this also comes the need for dynamic capabilities for course correction and decentralizing decision support to promote equitable and inclusive growth.
There is no doubt that geospatial technologies have propelled us into a new era of contextualized ecosystems by their ability to bring together every aspect of communities and societies in a unified environment, with geography as a binding factor. There are multiple reasons why GIS is playing a vital role in implementing and tracking progress on the UN’s seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their many targets and indicators.
UN’s 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs with an overarching principle that “no one should be left behind” (adopted by member states of the UN in September 2015) are highly dependent on geospatial information and enabling technologies as the primary data and tools for relating people to their location and place, and to measure ‘where’ progress is, or is not, being made, particularly at ‘disaggregated’ sub-national and local levels.
“The Future We Want” declaration on sustainable development and a green economy adopted at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio in June 2012, recognized the importance of space-technology-based data, in situ monitoring, and reliable geospatial information for sustainable development policymaking, programming, and project operations. It also highlighted the importance of comprehensive hazard and risk assessments, and knowledge and information sharing, including reliable geospatial information. The 2030 Agenda launched in September 2015, specifically demanded the need for exploiting the contribution to be made by geospatial information and earth observations to support the implementation of the SDGs, targets, and global indicators. Leave no one behind (LNOB) the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes that “disaggregation of subjects by geographic location” is critical to ensure that no one is left behind.
UN-GGIM’s “Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (IGIF)” provides a basis and guide for developing, integrating, strengthening, and maximizing geospatial information management and related resources in all countries. The UN SDGs Geospatial Roadmap is a living resource that helps communicate, guide, and enhance the awareness of geospatial information, earth observations, and related data sources, products, and enabling tools and methods, to inform and support the implementation of the SDGs, according to national circumstances.
Supporting Sustainable Cause
The Federated Information System for the SDGs research exercise (known as FIS4SDGs) demonstrated the value of an open, GIS-backed, country-owned, and country-led, approach to monitoring and reporting on the SDGs. This effort has now expanded to the SDG Data Alliance which encourages collaboration and geospatial planning through the IGIF, backed by leading GIS technology with a broader goal of accelerating the achievement of the SDGs by creating 20 more SDG Data Hubs across countries in need.
Bringing geospatial technologies to the center stage, UNWGIC 2022 addresses the development and strengthening of integrated geospatial information management, against the three pillars of sustainable development, for a shared future and a better world.
It is no secret that the coming years are vital to save the planet, and this is highly dependent on our ability to achieve sustainable, inclusive, and equitable development. The time has come when the approach to economic growth needs to be given equal importance to economic sustainability along with environmental sustainability and social sustainability.
Agendra Kumar, Managing Director, Esri India