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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

18 November 2020

Opening Remarks

 

 

Excellency, Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Innovation, Thailand,

Excellency Bambang Brodjonegoro, Minister of Research and Technology, Indonesia,

Mr. Pakorn Apaphant, Executive Director, GISTDA of Thailand,

Mr. Thomas Djamalludin, Chairman, LAPAN of Indonesia,

Excellencies, Distinguished representatives,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you to the Launch of Geospatial Practices for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific 2020: A Compendium.  I wish to extend sincere appreciation to our co-hosts today, GISTDA, Thailand and LAPAN, Indonesia.

My special thanks and appreciation are also to Minister Anek Laothamatas and Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, for your ministries’ support to the preparation of this publication through a generous sharing of knowledge and good practices on space applications for sustainable development. 

Welcome to all of you here with us at the Space Krenovation Park in Thailand as well as those participating virtually.

We meet as the world continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19 on people’s health and the unprecedented strain it has put on our economies and societies. In less than a year, the pandemic has threatened to reverse the hard-won gain towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Notwithstanding these uniquely challenging times, spurred by the accelerated adoption of digital innovations, many countries in our region are leveraging geospatial information to provide timely evidence and insights for their responses to COVID-19.  From basic topographic features on maps, to complex 3D models, geospatial information and remotely sensed data can provide far-reaching solutions to the pressing issues facing us today.

In 2018, ESCAP member States endorsed the Asia-Pacific Plan of Action on Space Applications for Sustainable Development (2018–2030), an inclusive and country-needs driven blueprint to harness space and geospatial applications and support countries to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  The Compendium that we launch today provides an overview of the regional status and progress in all six thematic areas of the Plan of Action, namely, Social  Development, Disaster-risk reduction, energy, climate change, environmental resource management and connectivity -  which are based on the contribution of over 100 practices from countries and partners in the region.

I commend these countries for leveraging space applications for sustainable development, in particular countries such as Thailand and Indonesia that have been able to move quickly and generously share their expertise through regional cooperation opportunities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also proven the importance of partnerships between the public and private sector. For example, Governments have partnered with private sector companies such as Alipay, WeChat and credit card companies for tracing and tracking. Many regional and country-based efforts are sparking innovations that attract both public and private investments, supporting start-ups and spinoffs from space applications research and pilot projects.

This compendium demonstrates the diverse use for geospatial information and applications and the vital role they will continue to play in the future. It also highlights the importance of making geospatial data, tools and innovations accessible, available and affordable to maximize benefits for all. Key success factors include investing in cultivating national experts; incorporating geospatial information into a range of national institutions and platforms; integrating geospatial data with other data sources and policies; providing open data access; and encouraging local to international collaborations and certainly regional collaboration and cooperation. 

Investing in data-driven responses to COVID-19 will strengthen evidence-based policy making for a better, green, and more resilient and sustainable recovery that will further help accelerate implementation of SDGs in our region. I look forward to further strengthening our partnership in the coming year.

Thank you very much.

 

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