The Second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC 2022) opened on October 10, 2022, in Hyderabad. As expected, the week-long event saw participation from leaders in the Geospatial Industry from across the globe. The aim was to bring together all stakeholders to address and ensure that geospatial information has its widest and fullest utility in service of sustainable social, economic, and environmental development, and it was well-achieved.
As a market leader in GIS software and solutions, Esri India is committed to using science and technology to build a sustainable world. And, gladly, at UNWGIC 2022, by way of enthusiastic participation in the tracks, exhibition, and G-Chaupal, we could make a credible contribution towards making the adoption of the theme, “Geo-Enabling the Global Village: No one should be left behind” widespread.
G-Chaupal, a platform that sought to link village communities with geospatial services at UNGWIC-2022, showcased two of our critical initiatives — Bhu-Kaushal (Esri India-CSC Academy joint initiative for women empowerment and education) and Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal (Esri India – Amrita Vishwa Vidyalayam joint initiative for strengthening community resilience through Geospatial).
An essential element of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is women empowerment, which has a direct impact on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of Gender Equality, and the panoramic view of the Bhu-Kaushal program at UNWGIC helped us initiate many conversations that would go a long way in building a stronger, better India. The experience was enthralling as we could share compelling stories about empowering the last person at the last mile. What, we believe, made the most effective impact was the happy faces of the invited women participants of the program personally sharing their stories of learning, evolving, and becoming a part of the women workforce of the country. The Bhu-Kaushal program has already skilled 5000+ rural women in geospatial skills and the numbers are continually growing.
When Agendra Kumar, Managing Director, Esri India shared, “It is a matter of pride for us that two of Esri India’s joint initiatives are being showcased by the Ministry of Science and Technology at UNGWIC 2022. Through these two initiatives, Esri India aims to lead the sustainable development charter while also promoting inclusion and progress,” the fact that the program is a concrete step towards building a world where ‘no one is left behind’ got reinforced.
Dr Piyush Gupta, PhD | Chief Consultant, CSC Academy said during the event, "CSC Academy is pleased to partner with Esri India in educating rural women in geospatial technologies. Through our CSC centres and Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE) network our endeavor is to take Bhu-Kaushal to every corner of India and empower rural women with spatial skills for strengthening our rural ecosystems".
Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal
Any effort on achieving sustainability is incomplete without focusing on our natural resources which are finite in nature. Water is one such crucial resource that needs immediate attention. Water resource management using the capabilities of GIS has been a core focus area for Esri India since long. Additionally, we have identified that for better management and conservation of the resource, a change in the mindset is also needed and this is what the Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal (“My Village, Our Water”) initiative focuses on.
This joint initiative by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s UNESCO Chair on Experiential learning and Esri India, the aim is to bring a transformational change where societies perceive water as a community resource rather than as a personal resource. The elaborate showcase of the initiative at UNWGIC 2022 that involved interaction with key stakeholders re-established the fact that collaboration between the industry and academia can bring significant social change and build community resilience. As the initiative has already gained a presence in 14 states across India, we are glad to be actively helping in creating water-wise communities.
Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh, UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development and Provost, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham said, “Through the Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal initiative, we aim to bring in a transformational change in the community to perceive Water as Ours rather than Mine. By utilising Amrita’s Empower Community App for crowdsourcing the community-level data and Esri’s geospatial technology for data visualisation, this initiative strives to be a gamechanger in empowering and geo-enabling India’s villages for sustainability and resilience, thus accelerating the implementation of UN SDG 6 targets.”
The Bhu-Kaushal and Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal initiatives stole the show when it came to conveying the message of ‘leaving no one behind’ at UNWGIC 2022. We were glad to be able to back up the claims with credible statistics and actual results achieved. As the entrepreneurs, students, and other participants of the initiatives shared their stories, we could clearly envision the larger impact these initiatives will bring in the times to come. Esri India team also shared intriguing thoughts around Geospatial for Climate Challenges, Creativity, and Innovation in Geospatial R&D, Geospatial and SDGs, and more via thought-provoking presentations during the Presentation Tracks at UNWGIC 2022.
Overall, it was an extraordinary experience to be an integral part of one of the leading geospatial events of the world, UNWGIC 2022. GIS has the power to transform communities to create a sustainable future for all and as a pioneer in the field of GIS, we believe to have paved the way for more impactful discussions around geo-enablement at the event.
As a member of the marketing team of Esri India, I am inclined to create content pieces that can stimulate impactful conversations.