Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
December 2, 2002
Geographic Information for Sustainable Development
Purpose of Initiative: The Geographic Information for Sustainable Development (GISD) initiative is an international alliance of partners with a shared goal of realizing the potential of a new generation of geographic information technologies such as satellite data and computer software programs to help decision-makers meet a range of sustainable development challenges, including food security, sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, disaster mitigation, and poverty alleviation. Whereas the current focus of GISD is on Africa, in the future it will also address needs of users in other world regions.
Resources: The U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State have played a leading role in organizing the alliance, contributing about $2 million for training, capacity building, and equipment. GISD efforts to date have focused on supporting existing programs in Africa designed to strengthen in the links between environmental and natural resources management and economic development. To date this initiative has funded 12 projects in four target regions in Africa: Upper Niger, East African Great Lakes, Kenya-Tanzania Coast, and Limpopo/Zambezi Basin). For a comprehensive description, see http://www.opengis.org/gisd.
Partners: The GISD alliance focuses on developing broad partnerships among government agencies, the private sector, academia, and non-government organizations to support science-based decision-making in Africa, especially at the local level. GISD currently includes more than fifty partners. A full list of the local, sub-national, national, regional, and global partners and participants is available at http://www.opengis.org/gisd.
Accomplishments to Date: During 2002, GISD sponsored regional workshops and meetings in Bamako, Mali (March 13-14); Asmara, Eritrea (April 3-6); Nairobi, Kenya, (April 9-10); London, United Kingdom (June 10-13); Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at the USGS-EROS Data Center (EDC) in conjunction with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Centers (May 19-31) (http://edcintl.cr.usgs.gov/gassia.html); and San Diego, California (July 8-12). GISD also sponsored a study by the U.S. National Research Council's Geographic Foundation for Agenda 21 on opportunities for and obstacles to the use of geographic information tools and technologies to promote sustainable development (http://www.nap.edu/books/0309084784/html).
Since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (August 26–September 4, 2002), the GISD partners have begun creation of a coordinating body for Africa. It will share information about ongoing projects and programs, testing and developing applications, collaborating on the use of information to shape policies, coordinating funding and funding sources, providing technical support and leadership on new technologies, and improving links between users and data providers.
USG Points of Contact: Department of State: Fernando Echavarria (Phone: 202/663-2395; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), U.S. Agency for International Development: Robert Ford, (Phone: 202/712-5073, E-mail: email@example.com)