Arendal II Workshop Report: UNEP and CGIAR Cooperation on Data, Capacity Building and Networking Needs for the Use of Geographical Information Systems in Agricultural Research
The theme of the meeting was well established by Dr. Stein Bie in his keynote address entitled Data Needs for the Food Insecure.
Workshop sessions addressed the following five primary areas, the first three of which emphasized information exchange, whereas the fourth and fifth moved towards project requirements and outputs.
1. The current activities and capacities of the 12 Centers represented were summarised. These showed a spectrum ranging from CIAT which has a large GIS unit with 20 scientists, digitising technicians and data analysts and a well equipped laboratory, to Centers which have minimal hardware and software and no dedicated specialist staff. The UNEP/GRID system, comprising 11 Cooperating Centers was also described and the position of GRID in UNEP's Environment Assessment Program.
2. Both the CGIAR and UNEP are at an early stage of implementing new telecommunication networks. For the Centers, the network will deliver global connectivity through an Integrated Voice Data Network (IVDN), the development of which is approved and rapid implementation is planned. UNEP is in the process of establishing a satellite-based communications network, UNEPnet.
3. Three invited presentations examined new issues in use of the technology and data. Underlying all was the theme of combining database management, geographic information systems, telecommunications, etc. with various types of models to integrate into true decision-support systems.
4. Invited speakers addressed the availability and use of data in different categories, and working groups then identified priorities and commonalities in data and information needs of Centers and their constituencies, and how these needs might be met. For some needs, existing available datasets were clearly identified e.g. Digital Chart of the World (DCW) and World Vector Shoreline (WVS); in other cases possible sources of data were identified to be pursued, e.g. Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA); and a third group were those datasets which needed to be compiled e.g. population data.
5. Working groups also addressed the question of building capacity in Centers, particularly those currently at a minimum level. The emphasis was clearly on building human resource capability, and the requirements included increasing awareness of the potential of such tools, at all levels. Training offerings should be application-based and use specific projects where possible, preferably cross-cutting programs and Centers.
Type: Staff Publications
Author: Gwynneth M. Martin
Year of publication: 1995
Publisher: UNEP and GRID-Arendal
Place of publication: Nairobi, Kenya and Arendal, Norway