At the three day mega event ( October 10-October 13), light was shed on how geospatial is relevant to tackle some of the most pressing global challenges, address systematic imbalances, ensure social equity, inclusion, and empower citizens
HYDERABAD, India – The Second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC 2022) that began on October 11 2022, came to an end on October 13 after three exciting days. Convened by the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), the Second UNWGIC 2022 was organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations and hosted by the Department of Science & Technology – Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.
With the theme ‘Geo-Enabling the Global Village: No one should be left behind,’ the Second UNWGIC 2022 reflected on the importance of integrated geospatial information infrastructure and knowledge services to support implementation and monitoring of sustainable development goals. The event focused on addressing multifaceted challenges, including environmental destruction and climate change mitigation.
In his inaugural address through a video message, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, said that global organizations like the United Nations could lead the way in taking resources to the last mile in every region, even in fighting climate change, hand holding and technology transfer are crucial. “The possibilities that geospatial technology offers are endless; there is so much that we can do for our planet through this technology,” Shri Modi said. He highlighted that geospatial technology has been driving inclusion and progress in national development projects like SVAMITVA, PM Gati Shakti master plan, Jam Trinity, etc.
In his keynote address, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of Science and Technology, Government of India said that India has witnessed a lot of transformations in the past few years, jumping in the global innovation index. He said, “Tech is increasingly becoming available to generations, but there is no uniformity in adaptation. This needs to be taken into consideration at a global level. Definition of geospatial has evolved from a traditional one to a dynamic one. When we talk of futuristic themes, it’s very important to keep in mind the requirements of stakeholders for a synergistic association between industry, academia and others. India has been one of the earliest adopters of geospatial and the credit goes to coordination between different agencies.”
The occasion also received a congratulatory video message by António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations, which read, “We need geospatial expertise on two fronts: To make progress, and to mark progress. We need you to drive innovation and action through the power of data focused on the most marginalized ad vulnerable communities and place.”
In his welcome address Stefan Schweinfest, Director, Statistics Division United Nations, said, “Geospatial is a community of solidarity and solutions. Everything happens somewhere and that somewhere is often a village.”
Ingrid Vanden Berghe, Co-chair of UNGGIM, said, “UNGGIM is focusing on key elements for many local to global challenges, from operationalization to implantation for integration. Location undergirds everything we do. Stats and data are key to better knowledge, insights, sharing, understanding, and to achieve 2030 SDGs and to enable better livelihood for future generations.
We will continue to geo-enable the global village, bridge the digital divide, build back better, and leave no one behind, she added.
Over three days, the distinguished panelists took a deep dive into the realm of geospatial, exploring its convergence with other technologies for a marked social transformation and demonstrative impact.
At the closing ceremony, many notable people gave their concluding remarks. In the true spirit of fostering inclusivity, what started as all-in-one space for geospatial, ended up opening its space for stakeholders across the gamut of industries and sectors.
“We visualize new geospatial age as both a challenge and an opportunity,” says Surveyor General of India, Sunil Kumar.
“Spatial thinking will empower us towards a sustainable development process, stimulating the understanding of young minds. The event deliberated on different aspects of geospatial information systems,” notes Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Dr. Srivari Chandrashekhar.
“All outcomes of our shared endeavors should enrich the lives of the citizens, and this is what India has done. We have achieved significant progress in geo-referencing of land parcels. Land, land resources and land records are geo fabrics of any nation. Changes in land systems have relied on uptake of geospatial technologies in India,” states Ajay Tirke, Secretary, Department of Land resources, Government of India.
“Undoubtedly, geospatial technologies will play a crucial role in the road to recovery, and India becoming a five trillion-dollar economy. Geospatial technologies provide a unique approach for solutions locally, regionally, as well as globally, empowering stakeholders through data insights and tools. We have conceptualized and planned a national integrated geoportal. This will harness and leverage on the schemes and programs of government of India,” he adds.
“We need to keep the momentum and work with the committee of experts to make the world a better place, says Tulu Besha Bedada, Co-Chair, UNGGIM.
“We focus on Substantive goals for an overarching information framework. I thank the Indian government and the high-level dignitaries for generous hosting. I also thank the national organizing committee under the leadership of Ministry of Science & Technology. IGIF needs to be implemented in all countries. Let’s take our community home –and forward,” observes Stefan Schweinfest, Director, Statistics Division United Nations.
“United Nations has been at the forefront of evolving a global framework for a better world. Sustainable focus of United Nations has made it a forum for global development. UNWGIC allows stakeholders to discuss applications of geospatial technology as a force for good, and to exchange ideas. Indian competence, capacity and capability make it ideal to become an end-to-end in global geospatial. Indian innovators provide 360-degree geospatial view,” declares G. Kishan Reddy, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Region of India.
“Geospatial is the bedrock of many national development projects. Discussions and deliberations at the UNWGIC 2022 have set the benchmark for future conferences,” he adds.
“As a doctor, I am very happy that geospatial was very useful in reaching out to people for vaccination during Covid. Geospatial technology is also applicable in tribal welfare, and in analyzing their health conditions. It also plays a crucial role in ensuring gender equality. There’s a need to create more awareness in people about geospatial technology usage. It has use-cases from the simplest to the most advanced,” notes Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, Honorable Governor of State of Telangana, Hyderabad.
“Government schemes can reach to the last person via geospatial technology. India is a young country with an average age of 29 years, so we are equipped to use technology for maximum benefits,” she adds.
United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) aims to provide a convening, participatory and inclusive environment to enhance the communication, understanding, knowledge, and application of geospatial information management.
In 2011, the United Nations Economic and Social Council, “encouraged the Member States to hold regular high-level, multi-stakeholder discussions on global geospatial information, including through the convening of global forums, with a view to promoting a comprehensive dialogue with all relevant actors and bodies.”
Anusuya Datta, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, [email protected]; Meenal Dhande, Associate Editor & Product Manager – Europe, [email protected]
SOURCE Geospatial Media and Communications Pvt. Ltd.