Geospatial information for sustainable food systems

Enhancing land monitoring capacities in West Africa

Land cover is one of the 14th essential geospatial data layers recognized by the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM). It is essential for achieving most of the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite this recognized need, major efforts to improve plant cover monitoring are required. This is particularly relevant when preparing the land cover legend, collecting data and assessing accuracy. Indeed, in most countries, the inconsistency between different land use products hinders their potential and their use for various applications.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) developed the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) tool to provide a consistent framework for classifying and mapping land cover. The national and regional land cover datasets produced by FAO use the Land Cover Meta Language (LCML), an ISO standard (ISO 1914-2: 2012), which acts as a method to bring the land cover community together to create a common understanding of the land cover nomenclatures with the aim of producing global, regional and national datasets that can be reconciled at different scales, levels of detail and geographic locations. FAO, in collaboration with AGRYMETH, ECOWAS, OSS and SERVIR WEST AFRICA, and the regional Land Cover Land Use technical working group, provides technical support to develop a regional land representation system, in support to regional and land cover monitoring.

FAO, in collaboration with AGRYMETH, ECOWAS, OSS and SERVIR WEST AFRICA, and the regional technical working group on land use, provides technical support to develop a regional system of land representation, to the support for regional monitoring and land use.

An online training on Land Cover Classification System and Regional Land Representation System was held on October 21, 2021. A total of 32 regional experts from ten countries and six institutions participated in the training. The training covered various topics such as the state of land use mapping in West Africa, the various existing legends, and the latest state of the regional land use representation system, concepts and the application of LCCS in West Africa. Antonio Di Gregorio (FAO) presented Land Cover Meta Language and demonstrated legend preparation using LCCS-v3 software. Elisee Tchana (FAO) gave an overview of existing legends in West Africa. Matieu Henry (FAO) presented the latest version of the regional harmonized land use representation scheme.

Mohamadou Aw (FAO) stressed the importance of building capacity for land monitoring and the development of a regional land representation system. Foster Mensah (UG) highlighted the importance of sustainability for land monitoring, the use of standards and the contribution of the regional land use technical working group on land cover.