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Data sharing workshop, Pretoria, 4-6 June 2002


Regional workshop on natural resources and food security information management and data sharing. Pretoria, 4 to 6 June 2002.

Organized in cooperation with and hosted by the Agricultural Research Council: Institute of Soil, Climate and Water.


Improving access to timely, accurate, and comprehensive data and information can help improve the management of natural resources and increase food security in southern Africa. Even though various national and international initiatives have made the region fairly rich in data, their activities have not always translated into better access and use of that data for decision-making. Often data are collected and used by the individual projects or programmes for their own purposes. Once an initiative is finished, the data and institutional capacity is quickly lost. Improving this situation means putting in place procedures, systems and supports that enable better coordination, management and sharing of information between local, national and regional institutions and programmes.

The Global Terrestrial Observation System (GTOS) along with southern African national and regional institutions are holding a workshop that will bring together a diverse group of decision makers and experts to discuss these information management issues and to define potential solutions that will strengthen the region's capacity to manage and share environmental and food security information.

Objectives and expected results

The workshop will:

a. Identify the current status of country and regional information management initiatives and how · · they can be leveraged and enhanced to meet broader needs.
b. Define specific issues and impediments to information exchange at national and at regional
· · levels.
c. Identify potential solutions to these challenges.
d. Identify potential mechanisms and resources (technical, human and financial) needed to
· · promote information exchange at the national and regional level.
e. Begin to build consensus with the stakeholders on the best way forward.

The outputs of the workshop will be a set of recommendations, proposed solutions and follow-on actions that can be implemented by the invited partners to improve information management and exchange at the national and regional level.


The FAO Integrated Support to Sustainable Development and Food Security Programme (IP), funded by Finland, and the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) will sponsor the workshop.

Expected participants

Twenty-five decision-makers of government ministries and agencies (from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe), regional institutions and international organizations that are potential beneficiaries of improved information management and exchange are expected to attend the workshop.

Preliminary programme

The workshop programme will include:

Day 1: Tuesday, 4 June 2002

1. Country presentations on natural resources and food security information management, and links/relationships with regional institutions.

2. Presentation on natural resource and food security initiatives and activities within the region by SADC-FANR.

3. Regional natural resources and food security information management and sharing:
Introductory Presentations

· Needs
· Benefits at the national and regional level
· Examples and lessons learned
· Draft information management and exchange framework components

Day 2: Wednesday, 5 June 2002

4. Information management and exchange

· Organizational, institutional, spatial data issues
· Concepts, principles, and components
· Information Resources Centres - roles, responsibilities, services
· Information exchange process and protocols

5. Key issues and solutions

· Organizational, institutional, data (custodianship, availability, pricing, etc.)
· Detailed solutions definition
· Core/framework datasets

Day 3: Thursday, 6 June 2002

6. Information management and exchange framework
· Next Steps
· Activities
· Schedule

7. Summary and wrap-up

Information about the venue can be viewed at http://www.leadershipdev.co.za

Qualification for participation

Participants should be in positions of managerial or decision-making-responsibility at governmental ministries and agencies or regional institutions with programmes or activities relating to natural resources and food security. Each country will nominate a representative who will be required to prepare and deliver a short presentation on their activities and experiences on information management, data sharing, and relationship with regional institutions and initiatives.

Participants should have a good understanding of:
a. National spatial information management initiatives.
b. Work done on information exchange (spatial and non-spatial) from the local to the national and
regional level.
c. Issues and obstacles to information exchange and management.

Candidates with compelling reasons why information management and exchange would lead to the improvement of the performance of their programmes or activities will be selected on a priority basis. Applications from female candidates are particularly encouraged. Participants should arrive by the mid-afternoon on June 3 and leave not leave the workshop before 17:00 on June 6.


Applicants must have a good knowledge of English, which will be the working language of the workshop.


Approximately fifteen core participants will be selected by GTOS from nominations submitted by the governments and institutions of developing countries (i.e. Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe) to GTOS. Another ten resource persons from regional institutions and international organizations will be invited for their expertise. All applicants will be informed on the outcome of the selection process.

Financial arrangements

Participants from developing countries will be offered financial support to attend the workshop. Funded participants will be provided with a round trip air ticket (most economic fare) between the airport of international departure in their home country and Johannesburg International airport, South Africa. The sponsors will also cover boarding expenses and pocket money for all the participants for the duration of the workshop.

Deadline for nominations

A completed application form properly endorsed by the applicant's agency/organization, should be submitted through GTOS Secretariat, no later than 1 May 2002. An advance copy of the application form may be sent directly to the GTOS Secretariat to expedite the selection process (e-mail: gtos@fao.org or fax: +39 06 5705-3369).

Points of contact

For information regarding the agenda and programme and the submission of nominations for attendance, please contact Mr. Géraud Servin, GTOS Programme Officer, at the above address and fax number, or at the following e-mail address: geraud.servin@fao.org.


Document 1 - Agenda (83 KB)

Document 2 - Group break out questionnaire  (116 KB)

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© FAO   ::   Global Terrestrial Observing System - GTOS   ::   24 May 2002