June 2007  -  Press release

FAO seeks standards for environment and natural resources


Press Release: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
1 June 2007

FAO hosted the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) plenary meetings in Rome, Italy this week. ISO/TC 211 is made up of representatives from 60 national bodies and over 50 liaison organizations, develops international standards for geographic information.

According to Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director General, declared:“ FAO sees ISO as an important partner in building consensus and standards for key environmental and natural resource issues related to agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Such standards help improve the quality and reliability of measurements needed to assess and understand environmental change. The ISO Action Plan for Developing Countries and its environmental management activities and supporting the UN Millennium Goals and global environmental change priorities, including the monitoring of essential climatic variables that impact food security, bio-diversity and desertification.”

The FAO/UNEP Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) is currently undergoing the approval process to become an ISO standard as a framework to classify land cover and compare systems internationally. Essential terrestrial climatic variables may eventually be included. ISO standardization allows integration with ISO standards and enables applications through its deployment in most countries of the world.

The ISO/TC 211 Metadata Standard has been adopted by the UN Geographic Information Working Group (UNGIWG) and adopted and implemented by FAO within its GeoNetwork digital map catalogue. This allows all users of GeoNetwork to identify, locate and use maps in an interchangeable way. GeoNetwork was initially developed by FAO as a free and open source software project and is now widely adopted within the UN, the CGIAR and a number of national and regional organizations. “GeoNetwork is an excellent example of what UN agencies can accomplish when they act collectively to solve common problems” Mr. Müller said.


UN FAO: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization www.fao.org


ISO/TC 211: International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 211 Geographic Information / Geomatics www.isotc211.org

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© FAO, 2007