Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The first session of the Committee on Development Information Science and Technology (CODIST-I) will take place from 28 April to 1 May 2009 at the United Nations Conference Centre Addis Ababa, (UNCC-AA) Ethiopia.
CODIST is one of the seven subsidiary bodies of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) composed of senior officials and experts from member States who meet on a biennial basis. The theme for CODIST-I is Scientific Development, Innovation and the Knowledge Economy.
The role of CODIST is to review challenges and issues pertaining to the ICT, Geoinformation, Science and Technology sectors, formulate policies and strategies to address Africa’s development challenges and determine priorities to be reflected in the work programme of the ICT, Science and Technology Division of ECA. Specifically, CODIST will strengthen the role of ECA in assisting its member States to develop their national information and communication infrastructure as well as integrate science and technology in their development programmes and strategies by bringing together experts and policy makers to advise it in these areas. The Committee would also address issues related to knowledge and information services that are important to move the African development agenda forward.
Sub Committee on Geoinformation – CODIST-Geo
With CODIST placing emphasis on the information society, CODIST-Geo, treats mapping and related activities as data collection and processing activities in the overall information management continuum.
The recommendations and resolutions of CODIST, including CODIST-Geo are submitted to the Conference of Ministers, and on approval become mandates for ECA and member States to take action.
Activities could also be initiated by member States and partners. The Windhoek Declaration, which articulates the principles of the AFREF project, was prepared at a workshop organized as a pre-meeting event of the Conference of Ministers of the member States of the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD).
The Durban Statement on Mapping Africa for Africa was adopted at a meeting sponsored by the Government of South Africa. Under this initiative, the Government of South Africa, through the Chief Directorate of Surveys and Mapping, has provided funds for studies on Fundamental Data Sets (FDS), conducted by EIS Africa and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa.
Another important function of CODIST-Geo is the coordination of SDI activities in Africa. A symposium that was convened to establish a permanent committee on SDI, similar to PCGIAP (Asia-Pacific) and CP IDEA (Latin America), recommended that instead of establishing yet another body, the terms of reference of CODIST-Geo should be revised to strengthen the SDI coordination and other related activities. The revised TOR for CODIST-Geo was approved by CODI III, including the establishment of an Executive Working Group to provide feedback and oversight in between the biannual CODIST meetings.
Though CODIST and especially CODIST-Geo are not implementing structures, they provide important oversight and advisory roles in the development of geoinformation in Africa. The CODIST approach combined the old cartographic conference with conferences of other development information practitioners, thereby creating synergies with these discipline groups.