Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu

Speaking Points

FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu

FAO-Google Partnership: Earth Map and the Hand-in-Hand Geospatial Platform

16 September 2020

As prepared



Dear Rebecca Moore, Director of Google Earth Outreach,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues,

Data is a core element in the Hand-in-Hand initiative. Information that leads us to evidence-based decision-making and knowledge.

The Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform provides us with a wealth of knowledge, thereby strengthening informed decision-making.

The platform has already broken down silos and made the exchange of data, information and knowledge more effective.

Data has been sourced from FAO, partners and public data providers across the UN and NGOs, the private sector, international organizations, and space agencies, including national and subnational data.

Combining geospatial technologies and agricultural data creates an opportunity to find new ways of reducing hunger and poverty through more accessible and integrated data-driven solutions that allow us to be more precise on where and how to intervene.

The Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform serves as a digital public good to create interactive data maps, analyse trends, identify real-time gaps to ensure data-driven impact.

The geospatial platform is truly federated, transparent and inclusive, bringing together data from a wide range of digital technologies including the Google Earth Engine.

FAO offers its multidimensional geospatial platform to any user but specially to help countries and international partners identifying critical areas of policy intervention and public investment to unlock the potential for ending poverty and hunger.

Today, we are empowering our Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform by combining both the power of geospatial data and Earth Map.

Earth Map has been developed in the framework of the FAO-Google partnership and brings the Google Earth engine in synergy with the FAO Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform: it is an innovative and free web-based FAO-Google tool for quick historical analysis of environmental and climate parameters for evidence-based policies integrating cloud technologies and freely available datasets.

It enables any user to undertake a complex analysis of earth observation, environmental, socio-economic and climate data in a simple manner and without the need of coding.

It brings the most sophisticated tools and open data available together, including advanced geo-spatial analytics, thereby allowing us to identify the biggest opportunities to raise the incomes and reduce the inequities and vulnerabilities of rural populations, that constitute the vast majority of the world's poor.

Earth Map and the Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform bring the Google Earth Engine power and the large FAO geospatial data catalogue to everyone’s computer.

This will allow us to integrate new datasets and create country and domain specific evidence-based case studies to improve the targeting and tailoring of policy interventions, innovation, finance and investment, and institutional reform.

It provides us with tools for joint programming and better coordination on the ground.

It also contributes to addressing new global challenges in an innovative, effective and timely way. 


Ladies and Gentlemen,

We at FAO know the power of information and evidence and we strongly believe in the importance of partnerships.

The collaboration with Google today is a clear example for this and will contribute to achieving the enormous challenges we have in front of us.

Our focus is to attain zero hunger, and our aspiration is to realize “four betters”: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.

Making farmers happier, rural areas more attractive, and our world more beautiful.

Let us make this digital platform a public hall of knowledge and information, which will serve all humankind.

Today, we are taking a big step together in this direction. 

Thank you.