Namibian to Co-Chair UN Expert Group

17 October 2019

Windhoek — For the first time since the formation of the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Committee of Experts, a Namibian has been appointed to co-chair an expert group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information (UN EG ISGI) under the UN-GGIM and United Nations Statistics Commission (UNSC).

Alex Muluti Mudabeti, an executive responsible for Geographic Information System (GIS) and National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) at the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), will for the next three years co-chair the UN EG ISGI alongside Kathrin Gebers from Germany.

The appointment was made by the expert group in Manchester, UK on 9 October 2019.

The UN EG ISGI was established by the UN-GGIM and UNSC with the mandate to develop an international statistical geospatial framework as there is consensus for an urgent need for a mechanism to facilitate consistent production and integration approaches for geo-statistical information.

In August 2019, the UNSC and UN-GGIM endorsed a Global Statistical Geospatial Framework (GSGF) to provide a common method for geospatially enabling statistical and administrative data that ensures data from across a range of sources can be integrated based on location.

The GSGF has five principles, namely the use of fundamental geospatial infrastructure and geocoding, geocoded unit record data in a data management environment, common geographies for dissemination of statistics, statistical and geospatial interoperability - data, standards and processes; and accessible and usable geospatially enabled statistics.

The GSGF comes at an important time as statistical and geospatial agencies work to modernise and transform their models of operation and infrastructure. The global framework will also be critical to support the work occurring on the 2020 Round of Population Censuses and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Mudabeti and Gebers take over from Martin Brady from Australia and Paloma Gomez from Mexico.

The main role of the new chairs is to direct the global adoption and implementation of the GSGF by UN member states.

Asked about his new global role, Mudabeti stated: "It is indeed a great honour for a developing country like Namibia to be recognised and be the co-chair of this global forum. It is my expectation that the aspirations of developing nations worldwide resonate more and more through this forum and that the two worlds (developed and developing) will find consensus as they work towards bridging the digital and knowledge divide. I am very thankful for a great learning environment at the NSA as this achievement shows that Namibia is ready to export knowledge and be a global player."

Mudabeti is a geographer by profession with a special interest in linking statistics to location to highly disaggregate statistics for evidence-based development planning and sound policy formulation.

His current responsibility is to develop internal and external GIS capacity for statistical data collection at the NSA and National Statistical System (NSS) and to coordinate the establishment of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).

As part of his role, Mudabeti is tasked to elevate NSDI functions across government by establishing a simple but effective NSDI governance structure in the country.

He holds an MSc in Geographical Information Science and Systems from the University of Salzburg, Austria.

He also holds a Master Degree in Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation specialising in Geo-Informatics from the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, now part of the University of Twente, the Netherlands.

He further holds a Bachelor of Technology Degree, Diploma, and Certificates in Land Management fields such as land information systems, surveying, and land valuation.

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