Bahamas Environment Minister Ferreira Addressed 5th UN Global Geospatial Information Management Forum

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Mexico, November 30, 2017 – Mexico City – Bahamas Minister of the Environment & Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira under the theme, “Implementing The Sustainable Development Goals: The Role of Geospatial Technology And Innovation,” addressed the 5th High Level Forum on United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) at the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel in Mexico City, November 28, 2017.Minister Ferreira extended appreciation to the Ministerial segment of the UN-GGIM, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), and various UN Committees of experts for their leadership to foster greater dialogue concerning matters of mutual interest at Global and Regional levels.   He also thanked Dr. Julio A. Santaella and Mr. Stefan Schweinfest for inviting The Bahamas to speak on its experience regarding policy perspectives and the progress we are making nationally to strengthen our Geospatial Information Management Capacity and Spatial Data Infrastructure to support informed decision making.“Mr. President, within the wider context of implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, The Bahamas continues to maintain relations with the United Nations through its participation in several UN Fora on a number of fronts including Gender Equality, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Energy, Disaster Management, Resource Management (Land & Marine), as well as other programs stipulated in the Millennium Development Goals,” said Minister Ferreira.“In 2014, The Bahamas enacted ‘The Bahamas Spatial Data Infrastructure Act’.   This is intended to strengthen the capacity of our technical arm, The Bahamas National Geographic Information Systems (BNGIS) Centre, to meet its national mandate to effect the practical and efficient use of geospatial technologies.”Minister Ferreira added that it is the Bahamas Government’s intent to continue to build on our Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Program to support sound decision making in multiple sectors.   He emphasized the fact that BNGIS will require more resources to keep up with changing technologies and the Bahamian Government’s continued commitment to matters related to the UN-GGIM Secretariat and the UN-GGIM Americas Caribbean Project.“Mr. President, The Bahamas’ application of this technology has been utilized in areas of national importance such as, but not limited to, Utility Management, Planning, and National Security.    Additionally, The Bahamas is using Geospatial Technology in our ongoing matters related to the United Nations Convention on the Law of The Sea (UNCLOS),” said Minister Ferreira.“The integration of this technology has resulted in The Bahamas’ successful declaration of our Archipelagic Maritime Borders and our lodging, with the UN, a successful median line agreement with our Neighboring State, The Republic of Cuba.   Geospatial technologies will continue to play a vital role in our ongoing negotiations with the United States and eventually the Turks and Caicos, and Haiti.”Minister Ferreira explained the benefits of applying Geospatial Technologies as tools for supporting decision making in The Bahamas, even though there’s still more work to be done to make the Spatial Data Infrastructure Program whole.  The  Bahamas Government acknowledges the importance of using this information for its national strategy toward the sustainability of the country’s natural resources.“We have applied the technology in various sectors within the Government, albeit in an ad-hoc manner, resulting in isolated pockets of GIS, Duplication of Effort, Outdated Information with ‘No Standards’, and a lack of Procedures and Protocols for the sharing of information.   With the passage of The Bahamas Spatial Data Infrastructure (BSDI) Act 2014, and the establishment of the Bahamas Geospatial Advisory Council, we will coordinate such activities and develop the necessary standards, procedures, and protocols,” said Minister Ferreira.“In general, the BDSI system and program articulated in the legislation, outlines Spatial Technologies, Policies, and institutional arrangements that facilitate the management, availability of, and access to ‘Spatial Data’.    We do, however, face significant challenges in deploying Geospatial Technologies to support informed decision making.”Minister Ferreira explained to the UN panel that The Bahamas is a system of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with some 17 inhabited islands, and 2,500 rocks and cays, stretching over some 100,000 square miles of ocean.   He said it presents numerous challenges in addressing environmental concerns, which include land, sea, air, and submarine issues, as well as the added hazard of climate change and disaster risk reduction and preparedness.“Facilitating this work in a Spatial Environment is a ‘National Imperative’, in tandem with using a Geospatial Infrastructure to collect and disseminate data.   In the wake of extreme hurricane events that impacted The Bahamas — Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew, and Irma — we must place more emphasis in working to mitigate risk factors that may threaten our stability, including better Land Use Planning, to enable Government to use ‘Spatial Data’ to better understand and assess risks.  However, this is costly due to the geographical configuration of The Bahamas,” said Minister Ferreira.“The Bahamas ‘Spatial Data’ Infrastructure is crucial, and we recognize that out-of-date, incomplete and inaccurate information must be improved, in order to allow for informed decision making, based on accurate and reliable data.   This will minimize risk in the management of our Environment, and improve our ability to meet citizen expectations, for a better way of life.”Minister Ferreira categorized how effective SDI works, when considering Global and National requirements, combined to include Governance Reform, Institutional Strengthening of the BNGIS Centre, and Legislative Regulations to govern its operations.“Introducing a comprehensive ‘National Plan of Action for Geospatial Information Implementation’ is required in order to enable a more strategic approach to disaster preparedness; integrated Land Use and Coastal Zone (Land and Marine) Planning and Management; and the Modernization of Public Administration Agencies.“As stipulated in other fora, the most challenging question has been how we set a Global Agenda that enables collective international action, while delivering effective support to national efforts?   Having now initiated more focus participation in UN-GGIM initiatives, that question remains,” said Minister Ferreira.To conclude his address to the body of Global GeoSpatial experts, Minister Ferreira informed them that The Bahamas’ membership in the UN-GGIM initiative is a true indicator of the Government’s commitment to the UN’s processes, and meeting the expectations of Bahamian citizens, when applying Geospatial Technologies to improve the Bahamian way of life, while meeting the country’s sustainable goals.“We look forward to our continued participation, as the BNGIS Centre, as the Government’s Focal Point, and as the Technical Administrator of the the Bahamas Spatial Data Infrastructure system and programme, as expected,” said Minister Ferreira.center_img By: Gena Gibbs (BIS)Photo caption:  Bahamas Minister of the Environment & Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira delivers his address to the 5th High Level Forum on United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) at the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel in Mexico City, November 28, 2017.(BIS Photos/Gena Gibbs)last_img

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