United Nations Statistical Commission

Overview   48th Session (2017)   Side Events

Statistical-Geospatial Integration Forum

The Data Ecosystem: Towards Integrative National Information Systems


  • Monday, 6 MAR 2017
  • 09:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Conference Room 4

Meeting organized by United Nations Statistics Division

Within many national governments, there has been for some time a clear recognition of the need to consider integrating alternative and new data sources and to link national information systems, especially statistical and geospatial information, to improve sub-national data, its disaggregation, and the relevance of the evidence on which decisions are made. Put simply, linking people, business and the economy to a particular place or geographic location can result in a fuller understanding of social and economic issues than is possible through a socio-economic information lens on its own. The geographic dimension is increasingly considered as a key enhancement to virtually all national statistics, as it provides the spatial framework and structure for collecting, processing, storing and aggregating the data. The UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) and UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UNGGIM) established the UN Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information (EGISGI) in 2013 to link statistical and geospatial information and to pursue the implementation of a Global Statistical Geospatial Framework (GSGF) in the 2020 Round of Censuses, with the understanding it would apply to other initiatives including other censuses, such as agriculture censuses, economic censuses, etc., and global initiatives such as the development agenda. The GSGF, a principles-based Framework developed by the Expert Group, is to be endorsed by the Statistical Commission at this 48th session.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development specifically recognizes the need for new data acquisition and integration approaches to improve the availability, quality, timeliness and disaggregation of data to support the implementation of the new development agenda at all levels, including to exploit the contribution to be made by a wide range of data, including Earth observations and geospatial information, while ensuring national ownership in supporting and tracking progress. The follow-up and review processes will be guided by a series of principles, one of which is to 'be rigorous and based on evidence, informed by country-led evaluations and data which is high-quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated, including by geographic locations, relevant in national contexts'. To meet the aspirations and demands of the 2030 Agenda, it is necessary for its global indicator framework to adequately and systematically address the issue of alternative data sources, including geospatial information and Earth observations within the context of geographic location.

The report of the IAEG-SDGs to the 47th Session of the Statistical Commission noted that the integration of statistical data and geospatial information will be key for the production of a number of indicators. As a means to address these issues, and to address specific areas relevant to SDG indicator implementation, the IAEG-SDGs established the Working Group on Geospatial Information at its third meeting in Mexico City 30 March to 1 April 2016. The primary objective of the Working Group is to ensure from a statistical and geographic location perspective that the key principle of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind is reflected in the global indicator framework. The development and acceptance of a global definition for settlements and cities is required to deliver comparable data for indicators concerned with urban and human settlements. This definition, by extension, will support a better understanding of urban and rural, further aiding in the disaggregation of data according to urban and rural.

This Statistical - Geospatial Integration Forum seeks to bring together actors and experts to consider the delivery of integrated high-quality, accessible, timely and reliable data to support, track and inform on progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at all levels. The Forum is organized by UN Statistics Division and its Global Geospatial Information Management Secretariat under the guidance of the UNSC and UN-GGIM with the support of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the European Commission, Policy Development and Economic Analysis Unit (EC).

    Programme Overview

  1.  9:00 - 10:00 am Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information
    The integration of statistical and geospatial information will be key for the production of a number of indicators, and that the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework (GSGF), a principles-based Framework developed by the Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information (EG-ISGI), is now necessary. This segment of the Forum will discuss the development of the five guiding principles of the GSGF, adopted by UN-GGIM at its sixth session, its planned implementation, and important aspects of geographic location.
  2.  10:20 - 11:40 am Statistical and Geospatial Perspectives for the Definition of Settlements and Cities
    The development and acceptance of a global definition for settlements and cities will be key to deliver comparable data for indicators concerned with urban and human settlements such as SDG Goal 11. This definition, by extension, will also support the understanding of rural and urban, thus aiding in the disaggregation of data according to rural and urban. This segment of the Forum will discuss ongoing work and experiences to develop an understanding and a global definition for settlements and cities that will support the global indicator framework.
  3.  12:00 - 1:00 pm Geospatial and Earth Observations in Support of the Global Indicator Framework
    The IAEG-SDGs Working Group on Geospatial Information concluded that there are a number of indicators, including Tier I indicators, which would be much more relevant once disaggregated through geospatial information as required within the targets. Geospatial information and Earth observations are able to provide enabling methodologies and processes for disaggregation. In some cases, the disaggregation of national statistical data is only viable by use of geospatial information. This is acknowledged within the five guiding principles of the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework. This segment of the Forum will demonstrate specific indicator examples that concretely demonstrate this disaggregation relevance.
  4. Programme Agenda

    (details of moderators and panelists to follow)

  5.  9:00 - 10:00 am Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information
  6. Moderator:
    Mr. Greg Scott, UNSD/UN-GGIM Secretariat
  7. Opening Remarks:
    Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Director, UNSD
  8. Panellists:
    Mr. Rolando Ocampo, Co-Chair UN-GGIM, Vice President, National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), Mexico
  9. Ms. Luise McCulloch, Deputy Australian Statistician, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia
  10. Mr. Alexandre Caldas, Chief of Country Outreach, Technology and Innovation Branch, UN Environment, Nairobi, Kenya
  11. Open Discussion

  12.  10:20 - 11:40 am Statistical and Geospatial Perspectives for the Definition of Settlements and Cities
  13. Moderator:
    Mr. Tim Trainor, Chief Geospatial Scientist, US Census Bureau, USA
  14. Panellists:
    What can we learn from the application of the degree of urbanisation in South Africa?
    Mr. Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa, South Africa
  15. A global definition of cities and settlements, testing the degree of urbanisation and how can you join this project?
    Mr. Lewis Dijkstra, DG for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission
  16. UN-Habitat experience of Global urban data monitoring--addressing global definitions and methodologies
    Mr. Robert Ndugwa, UN-Habitat
  17. Experiences with the EU-OECD definition of a city and commuting zone
    Mr. Paolo Veneri, OECD
  18. Open Discussion

  19.  12:00 - 1:00 pm Geospatial and Earth Observations in Support of the Global Indicator Framework
  20. Moderator:
    Mr. William A. Sonntag, Secretariat, Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
  21. Panellists:
    Mr. Rolando Ocampo, Co-Chair, UN-GGIM, National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), Mexico
  22. Mr. Tim Trainor, Co-Chair, UN-GGIM, Chief Geospatial Scientist, US Census Bureau, USA
  23. Mr. Chu Ishida, Space Technology Directorate, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Japan
  24. Mr. Lawrence Friedl, Director, Applied Sciences Program, Earth Science Division, NASA, USA
  25. Open Discussion
  26. Background documents

  27. Earth Observations in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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