This voluntary initiative came from Partnerships for SD (CSD11/WSSD)
Global Information System and Land Surface Analysis, Monitoring, and Mapping for Sustainable Development to support Decision Making
Government of Italy - Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS)
Government of United States of America - U.S.A
Government of Italy - IAO
Government of United States of America - GISD
Government of United States of America - NASA
Government of United States of America - NIMA
Government of United States of America - NOAA
Government of United States of America - US Forest Service
Government of United States of America - USAID-GISD
Government of United States of America - USDA
Government of United States of America - USGS-EROS
Natural Resources Canada (Canada)
WRI (United States of America)
Winrock, (United States of America)
ESRI, Inc. ()
SKE, Inc ()
FAO (including GTOS) (Italy)
WMO (including GCOS) (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
World Bank (United States of America)
Other intergovernmental organizations:
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) (Switzerland)
I.A.O. - Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare (Italy)
CRSP Council (United States of America)
CESIA- Accademia dei Georgofili, ()
the Heron Group (University of Pensylvania) ()
Description/achievement of initiative
Main objectives: To make geo-referenced data and projects on the environment and natural resources worldwide more accessible, with emphasis on developing countries, as a contribution to consolidating the capacities of both institutional and private decision-makers to effectively and sustainably address their development pursuits. This important objective focuses on relevant planning and management challenges which emerge within the framework of current sustainable development constraints, as summarized hereafter.
Global concerns about food security for the growing populations in developing countries, environmental degradation, and climate change or variation, and civil unrest have underscored the need for consistent and timely biophysical and socio-economic geo-information. Technological approaches are now available to quantify, document, and disseminate information on fluctuations and trends in the environmental parameters and natural resources, climate, changes in vegetation cover, surface waters, wetlands, land quality (including degradation), desert margins, settlements and other land cover features at local, national, regional and global levels.
A number of land cover classification projects have been developed to provide for the growing demand for information at global and regional levels. For example, recent products include the global land-cover dataset (IGBP-DIS for coarse resolution information) and Africover in East Africa for detailed high-resolution assessments. These and other more localized projects produce potentially valuable information on the current status of the environment and natural resources which could help assess trends through time or predict and model future development scenarios. This information from diverse sources, however, can be applied more effectively toward meeting sustainable development needs especially relative to capacity building and applications.
There is a great need to bridge the digital and knowledge divide by consolidating the capacity of both institutions and local-level users to actually manage the technical implications of accessing, integrating, up-dating, and adding local value to geo-information that is used in decision-making. Specific regard must be given to the local and sub-national as well as regional and/or global levels in the provision of on-the-job training, the development of integrated databases, model development, networking, and remote sensing testing and interpretation.
Copyright United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs