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SAARC Working Group for Regional Collaboration to be created

Hyderabad, February 9, 2015: Collaboration between the SAARC nations was the buzzword at the South Asia Geospatial Forum which kicked-off in the morning of February 9, 2015 at HICC, Hyderabad. Setting the tone for the discussions for the day, YS Chowdary, Minister of State for Science and Technology & Earth Sciences, in his inaugural address, made a strong pitch to the delegates representing SAARC nations, urging them to collaborate with each other and use geospatial technology to solve various problems of the region.

“While each country suffers from its own issues, it is the need of the hour to collaborate with each other. SAARC countries need to put in concerted efforts, build on each other’s strengths and develop solutions that would enable faster decision making and solve issues. It’s not time for competition and confrontation, it’s time collaboration,” he said.

Later in the day, representatives from different SAARC countries unequivocally agreed to create a working group for regional collaboration in geospatial technology. They also agreed that mere exchange of ideas would not be enough, and that it was important to pool in both economic and human resources to solve the issues plaguing the SAARC region.

The discussion concluded with the delegates committing to prepare a draft paper detailing areas of collaboration which includes — but will not be limited to — agriculture, disaster mitigation, terrorism and crime, satellite imagery and navigation, among others.

Welcoming the move, S Subba Rao, Surveyor General of India, announced that the first session of the SAARC Working Group will be hosted by India.

Who Said What

Dr PG Diwakar, Deputy Director (RSA), National Remote Sensing Centre, India

  • We are working on SAARC earth observation satellite.
  • IRNSS will enhance the coverage over SAARC region.
  • All the SAARC countries can be covered on Bhuvan.
  • We are in the process of signing an MoU with ICIMOD for collaboration.
  • Disaster support management programme of ISRO can be extended to SAARC countries.
  • The 12th five year plan of ISRO has several programmes that will benefit SAARC region.

Basantha Shrestha, Director for Strategic Cooperation and Regional Programme Manger, ICIMOD

  • We have an abundance of technology but how we convert that into problem solving technology is a matter to discuss and deliberate.
  • Poverty eradication by 2030 would be one of the key trends.

Dasho Pema Chewang, Secretary National Land Commission, Royal Government of Bhutan

  • It is important to put our heads together and develop solutions for SAARC region.
  • Need to create a platform where the SAARC secretariat can guide member countries on common issues.

S Subba Rao, Surveyor General of India

  • Developmental programmes and disaster mitigation would be the first two sectors to benefit from this collaboration.
  • We need to think over developing common standards that promote interoperability.

Madhu Sudan Adhikari, Director General, Department of Survey, Nepal

  • Necessary to integrate data acquired from different sectors.
  • Integration should be beyond the administrative boundaries.

Brigadier General Md Abdul Khair, Surveyor General & Head, Survey of Bangladesh

  • Collaborate to create standards that favour data exchange.
  • Integration of geospatial data with scientific and statistical data is necessary.
  • Develop common projection system, seamless map of the region, common cartographic symbols
  • Share best practices of SAARC countries.
  • We need to get real-time high resolution satellite imagery

Source: Our Correspondent