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India Leveraging Geospatial Tech to Tackle Sustainability Challenges: UNWGIC 2022

October 19, 2022 - 11:09
India Leveraging Geospatial Tech to Tackle Sustainability Challenges: UNWGIC 2022

With the theme of “Geo-Enabling the Global Village: No one should be left behind”, the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) has convened the Second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) in Hyderabad, India from 10-14 October 2022.

For more than a decade, Esri has been at the forefront of assisting the United Nations and national governments in addressing the complex challenges of sustainable development. Supporting the sustainable development agenda, Esri India, the country’s leading Geographic Information System (GIS) Software & Solutions provider, showcased two critical initiatives namely – Bhu-Kaushal (Esri India-CSC Academy joint initiative for women empowerment and education) and Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal (Esri India – Amrita Vishwa Vidyalayam joint initiative for strengthening community resilience through Geospatial). The initiatives were showcased in the G-Chaupal, a platform that seeks to link village communities with geospatial services at UNGWIC-2022.

Dr. Debapriya Dutta, Advisor & Head, Seed, SSTP Division, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India said, “G-Chaupal is a unique initiative at UNWGIC 2022 through which we have brought out the discussions of geo-enablement out of the four walls of the conference. This showcasing by the real stakeholders is the proof of ‘Geo-Enabling the Global Village: No one should be left behind.’”

Agendra Kumar, Managing Director, Esri India, said, “It is no secret that the coming years are vital to save the planet, and this is highly dependent on our ability to achieve sustainable, inclusive, and equitable development. The time has come when the approach to economic growth needs to be given equal importance to economic sustainability along with environmental sustainability and social sustainability. It is a matter of pride for us that two of Esri India’s joint initiatives are being showcased by the Ministry of Science and Technology at UNGWIC 2022. Through these two initiatives, Esri India aims to lead the sustainable development charter while also promoting inclusion and progress.”

The Bhu-Kaushal (भू-कौशल) is a first-of-its-kind program by Esri India in collaboration with CSC Academy, which aims to empower rural women with spatial skills and the use of GIS technologies. The program was launched last year. Under the umbrella of the ‘Women empowerment through promotion of education and livelihood enhancement project”, the vision of the program is to skill 10000 rural women in 3 years. At UNWGIC 2022, when some rural women personally shared their learning experiences and how geospatial knowledge and skills have helped them in earning their livelihood, it was evident that geospatial technologies have been able to make a difference in empowering and transforming communities. The program has already skilled 5000+ rural women in geospatial skills and the numbers in geo-enablement of rural women are continually growing.

Dr. Piyush Gupta, PhD | Chief Consultant, CSC Academy said, “CSC Academy is pleased to partner with Esri India in educating rural women in geospatial technologies. Through our CSC centres and VLE (Village Level Entrepreneurs) network, our endeavour is to take Bhu-Kaushal to every corner of India and empower rural women with spatial skills for strengthening our rural ecosystems”.

Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal (“My Village, Our Water”), a joint initiative by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s UNESCO Chair on Experiential learning and Esri India, is focused towards building more resilient communities through the use of geospatial technologies. Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal acts as a force multiplier in fostering safer living conditions and the overall well-being of communities. At UNWGIC 2022, the elaborate showcase of the initiative reinforced the fact that collaboration among different stakeholders, for instance, in this case, the industry and academia, can bring social change and build resilience. The initiative is actively helping in creating water-wise communities.

Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh, UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development and Provost, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham said, “Through the Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal initiative, with a current presence in 14 states across India, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s School for Sustainable Futures and UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development jointly with Esri India aims to bring in a transformational change in the community to perceive Water as Ours rather than Mine. By utilising Amrita’s Empower Community App for crowdsourcing the community-level data and Esri’s geospatial technology for data visualisation, this initiative strives to be a gamechanger in empowering and geo-enabling India’s villages for sustainability and resilience, thus accelerating the implementation of UN SDG 6 targets.”

Hosted by the Government of India through the Ministry of Science and Technology, the 5-day conference is being attended by over 2,000 delegates including 700 plus international delegates & participants from about 150 countries.

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