Digital Earth Africa technology prospects captivate UN-GGIM: Africa participants

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 2, 2018 (ECA) - The Fourth Session of the Regional Committee on United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management for Africa continued in Addis Ababa Tuesday with the morning session focusing on Working Groups of the UNGGIM and how to make them more effective. 

Participants discussed challenges facing the UNGGIM Working Groups and opportunities that can be tapped into. They also looked at the groups’ terms of reference and their desire for the Working Groups to participate in various expert group meetings at the global level. 

They also focused on how they can translate the African Action Plan on Global Geospatial Information Management (AAP-GGIM) into concrete actionable projects. The AAP-GGIM is an implementation tool of the United Nations Geospatial Information Management in Africa focusing on the need to integrate geospatial information and statistics. 

The UNGGIM has five working groups; Africa Geodetic Reference Frame, Fundamental Datasets and Standards, Institutional and Legal Frameworks; Capacity and Capability Development, and Integration of Geospatial and Statistical Information for Sectoral Application. 

In the afternoon delegates went into a workshop on Digital Earth Africa and the regional data curve.  They focused on the main challenge for the continent, which is how it can translate data into development as it seeks to meet the needs of its fast growing population, in a time of increased climate variability. 

Participants learnt of the data cube technology which is meant help to address some of the Africa’s greatest challenges and unleash its social and economic potential. 

Digital Earth Africa aims to deliver a unique continental-scale platform to democratize capacity to process and analyze satellite data for better decision making across many areas, including water, forest and coastal resource management, agriculture, and urban development. 

It will track changes across Africa in unprecedented detail, and provide data on a vast number of issues, including soil and coastal erosion, agriculture, forest and desert development, water quality, and changes to water quality and human settlements.  

“It was a fruitful day and we hope to continue in the same fashion as the regional committee meeting starts tomorrow parallel to Statcom,” said ECA’s Andre Nonguierma, Chief of the GiSS Section.  

The regional committee meeting will focus on the UNGGIM structure with a new bureau expected to be put in place. Participants will discuss, among other things, an integrated geospatial information framework for Africa which will define some of the overarching principles that member States should follow-up on to ensure geospatial information is prioritized in their development activities and plans. 

The meeting in general is looking at policies, measures and steps that African countries can take to ensure a successful implementation of the UN-GGIM initiative in the region with the major objective of trying to fully tap into the capabilities of geospatial information technology to meet the African development agenda.

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