Balázs Horváth, UNDP Country Director on handover of GIS Laboratory

18 Apr 2013

Juba, South Sudan

Check against delivery

-Honourable Isaiah Chol Aruai, Chairman of the National Bureau of Statistics,

-Honourable Margaret Labanya, Director General in NBS,

-Representatives of the international development community,

- Members of the community, Ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of UNDP, I am honoured to be here for the first handover of the Geographic Information System Laboratory building. 

Robust and credible statistical data are critical in advancing progress on human development in South Sudan. Statistics provide quantitative evidence on living conditions, a sound basis for policy dialogue, and a mechanism to measure the success of development actions.

The National Bureau of Statistics is the lead institution in this area. It supports government and international partners in planning and decision making. The NBS establishes data standards, leads and coordinates data collection activities in South Sudan, and supervises the monitoring and evaluation of the targets of the South Sudan Development Plan. 

This 700,000 US$ lab, built with generous support from the European Union, is related to two UNDP projects providing technical assistance and capacity support to the NBS: the Conflict Recovery and Mapping Analysis; and Planning and Financial Management projects.

Construction commenced on October 1, 2012, and its supervision and inspection was certified at various stages jointly with an engineer from the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure.  The GIS equipment has already been procured and UNDP will be acquiring the remaining items including IT equipment and a generator. 

When completed, this 330 m2 building will host the Department of GIS, Remote Sensing and Cartography, comprising a GIS laboratory, a remote sensing lab, an information room as well as six offices, conference and training facilities. The need for such technical facilities was established by a joint comprehensive capacity assessment of national information management capacities in 2011.

With a Geographic Information System Laboratory, the NBS will be able to map specific indicators, analyze patterns and trends, and pinpoint where interventions are most needed. Such information will allow Government and development partners identify key issues, track progress and establish a comprehensive baseline of information. 

For instance, this Lab will help determine the optimal location of water access points to prevent conflict, the number of woman who still lack access to maternal medical care, or whether efforts to improve community livelihoods are working. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to be here today and I look forward to the official handover of the facility. Since 2009, UNDP has supported the NBS GIS department with training, information management guidance on data collection, sharing and analysis, as well as support to state information hubs. UNDP will continue to provide technical capacity building support to the NBS and looks forward to continuing this fruitful partnership.

Thank you.