The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is ready to host the sixth United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management for Africa (UN-GGIM: Africa) Committee meeting which will be held virtually from 1-4 December 2020.
UN-GGIM: Africa was established to coordinate African geospatial development and contribute to the wider global initiative. UN-GGIM: Africa supports ECA Member States to advance holistic visions that foster the effective use of geospatial products and resources in support of emerging global challenges and various socio-economic sectors in Africa.
This time around, the Sixth UN-GGIM: Africa meeting will be organised within the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the unprecedented global health crisis of the novel coronavirus since the beginning of this year, the National Mapping Agencies (NMAs) have faced several challenges, therefore supporting the national mapping system is needed more than ever.
The various strategies adopted by member States to contain the pandemic have helped to mitigate damages created by the health crisis in all socio-economic and environmental sectors with mapping not excluded. These measures have adversely affected the implementation of mapping plans, and the NMA’s ability to respond to data needs and mapping services in a timely manner. Resilience strategies have been adopted by NMAs to ensure the production of fundamental and thematic geospatial datasets, this has been made possible by the introduction of business continuity measures during COVID-19. These measures have greatly facilitated the gradual recovery observed at the NMAs.
The main aim of the sixth meeting is to review progress achieved on the recommendations and actions of UN-GGIM: Africa previous meetings. The meeting will act as a platform for reviewing and sharing knowledge and best practices on the development of geospatial information in the continent; raising awareness on the benefits to be derived through the utilization of geospatial information for sustainable development; looking at policies, measures and steps that African countries could take to ensure the successful implementation of the UN-GGIM initiative in the region; promoting networking among institutions and practitioners in geoinformation and generate synergy at national level to facilitate its management as well as ensuring linkages with partners and other regional subcommittees within the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
The outcome of the sixth UN-GGIM: Africa is expected to contribute to the achievement the UN-GGIM vision globally, encourage that more substantive progress is made for the Africa region, and leverage the enabling capabilities of geospatial information technology to meet the African development agenda and in support of the emerging global challenges.
It will also help countries to become aware of opportunities and facilities offered by Pan-African institutions and partners that are critical for supporting geospatial activities in response to the ongoing COVID-19 impacts.