Geospatial information coordination needs political commitment, ECA

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Addressing geospatial information coordination challenges in Africa requires the promotion of advancement in science and technology supported and backed by political commitment, it was stated at the Third Meeting of the Regional Committee on the United Nations Initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management in Africa (UN-GGIM: Africa) conference that was held at the UNECA this week.
Speaking during the opening of the conference, Oliver Chinganya, Director of African Centre for Statistics at the ECA stated that it’s only with engagement at high political commitment that experts will ensure impactful change on the ground.
“Perhaps, the burning question we need to address is how we arouse the interest among policymakers of this initiative; how do we establish an effective national leadership to steer the process and contribute to the implementation of the activities outlined in the Action Plan of UN-GGIM: Africa? I am informed that Africa is the first region all over the world that has developed a plan. This is laudable but action is required in implementing the plan” Chinganya said.
The meeting is a follow-up of several other meetings held in the past as part of a platform for member States’ representatives to present, discuss and share experiences on issues and challenges regarding geospatial information management in Africa.
“It is recognized, that the major impediments to building geospatial information infrastructure is institutional and organizational. This includes the inability to bring countries to work together and learn from each other in order to promote collaboration on the development of regional and global spatial data infrastructure standards,” said Chinganya.
The ECA Director said progress in improving the availability and accessibility of global geospatial information will depend on how well countries cooperate with each other. Hence, promoting international cooperation in institutional strengthening and knowledge transfer as well as in capacity development was essential.