Countries within the Asia-Pacific region are already making steady progress on the uses of geospatial information and space applications. This has been demonstrated by the latest developments in the implementation of the Asia Pacific Plan of Action on Space Applications for Sustainable Development (2018–2030) (Plan of Action).
This Plan of Action is a needs-driven blueprint that harnesses space and geospatial applications, as well as digital innovations to support countries, particularly those with special needs, to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was the first UN Regional Commission to adopt and implement a regionally coordinated and inclusive Plan of Action on space applications towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ministers and the heads of the space community from over 30 countries within the Asia Pacific region met in Bangkok for the Third Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific in October 2018. The Ministerial Conference adopted two documents that guide work in the Asia-Pacific region over the next decade: 1) the Ministerial Declaration on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, and 2) the Asia-Pacific Plan of Action on Space Applications for Sustainable Development (2018 – 2030). The Plan of Action has set out a framework of 188 actions which contribute to six thematic areas, three action areas and 34 sub themes.
In 2020 ESCAP launched the publication ‘Geospatial Practices for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific 2020: A Compendium’ to facilitate knowledge sharing and showcase good practices of space applications from the region. The Compendium provides an overview of the regional status and progress in all six thematic areas of the Plan of Action, based on the contribution of over 100 practices from countries and partners in the region.
Progress towards implementation of the Plan of Action can be reported by member countries to the Regional Space Applications Programme network and its Intergovernmental Consultative Committee, to share experiences and seek support to overcome challenges though regional cooperation. Additionally, a report of the implementation of Phase I of the Plan of Action will be submitted to the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific in October 2022. In order to achieve this, the secretariat’s database and dashboard provide a streamlined and user-friendly platform for member States to report on the implementation of the Plan of Action. Furthermore, the platform will facilitate collecting and storing identified good practices for both knowledge sharing and future publications.