New UN report on geospatial data for decision-making

The United Nations (UN) Statistics Division and the World Bank have published a new guide aimed at supporting nations worldwide, in particular, developing nations, in better utilizing geospatial data in the decision-making process. The “Integrated Geospatial Information Framework”, launched on 24 July 2018, provides a strategic guide on establishing national geospatial information management processes and putting that information to use.

The “Integrated Geospatial Information Framework: A Strategic Guide to Develop and Strengthen National Geospatial Information Management” report can be found here.

According to the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), reliable geospatial data helps policymakers, international organizations and civil society have better information for decision-making processes, in particular in directing aid and development resources.

The “Integrated Geospatial Information Framework” report states that although governments hold a significant amount of geospatial information, it is often not current, shared or integrated with other necessary data. High-quality, timely geospatial information is often overlooked in policymaking, yet is fundamental to achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The framework developed by the report guides states to use geospatial data more effectively. It provides a framework to help countries build capacity for using geospatial technology to enhance informed government decision-making, facilitate private sector development, take practical actions to achieve a digital transformation and bridge the geospatial-digital divide.

The UN-GGIM emphasizes that this guide aims primarily to help low and middle-income countries move toward developing their “e-economies”, providing better economic and social services to citizens. For instance, integrated geospatial information management can enable Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to better monitor climate change impacts, plan mitigation, and manage disaster risks.

The report is divided into four sections. The first section, “Overarching Strategic Framework”, presents a forward-looking Framework built on national needs and circumstances, and provides the overarching strategic messages and more expansive and integrated national framework, particularly focusing on policy, perspectives and elements of geospatial information. The second section, “Implementation Guide”, is the detail document that provides specific guidance and actions to be taken in implementing the Framework. The final section, “Country-Level Action Plans”, provide templates and guides to operationalize the Framework in a national and sub-national context.

Representatives from governments and geospatial information experts attended the Eighth Session of the UN-GGIM in New York from 1 to 3 August to discuss efforts to enhance collaboration, coordination, and coherence in global geospatial information management. In November, high-level stakeholders will meet in Deqing, Zhejiang Province, China, at the UN World Geospatial Information Congress to ensure the widest and fullest use of geospatial information to advance social, economic, and environmental development.