Addis Abada, Ethiopia: During recent African preparatory meeting, the Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM) recommended that African countries, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission, should finalise and implement the African Action Plan on Geospatial Information Management.
The participants developed a common vision, approach and contribution for the Africa region. They defined an African broad plan of action for the initiative future activities. Jennifer Kargbo, Deputy Executive Secretary of ECA, said, “As it is now widely recognised and appreciated, geospatial information is effectively used in addressing many of the humanitarian, peace and security, environmental challenges facing the world such as climate change, natural disasters, land demarcation and its management, food and economic crises, and population displacement, which are of a cross-border nature requiring global, regional and national policy responses.”
Kargbo was conveying message of Abdoulie Janneh, United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ECA. In his message, Janneh stated, “Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) is increasingly recognised as an indispensable part of the national data infrastructure of our countries. Therefore, developing a national SDI will better facilitate the availability of and access to data, facilitating data sharing among producers and users; while also providing a common geospatial reference base within the country on which thematic geospatial information is built,” added the deputy secretary general.”
“Geospatial information is effectively used in addressing many of the humanitarian, peace and security, environmental and development challenges facing the world, such as climate change, natural disasters, land demarcation and its management, food and economic crises and population displacement, which are of a cross-border nature requiring regional and national policy responses,” Janneh added.
Janneh stressed that a global approach was necessary for managing geoinformation products and resources. He opined that African countries need to strengthen their corporation in this area to come with a firm position and strong plan of action for developing the necessary infrastructure across the continent. He urged the experts to identify the key challenges and opportunities of geospatial information in Africa and arrive at a viable plan for its development in the next decade.
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, fundamental geospatial datasets are the minimum primary sets of data that cannot be derived from other datasets, and that are required to spatially represent phenomena, objects, or themes important for the realisation of economic, social and environmental benefits consistently at the local, national, sub-regional and regional levels.
The capture, collection and maintenance of fundamental geospatial data sets for the continent will form the key stone of Africa’s Spatial Data Infrastructure that will in turn add considerable value to the development of Global Spatial Data Infrastructure.