NSDI Forum Launched -

It is the use of spatial data that has improved the process of registering communal land rights in Namibia. Traditionally communal land rights were based on verbal agreements with headmen which would lead to double allocation, unauthorized extensions, illegal fencing and conflicting boundaries. The process of demarcation and mapping of communal land boundaries has created a sense of security of tenure to the land holders.

In Namibia land reform is aimed at ensuring equitable redistribution of agricultural land. In order to be able to deliver land reform in Namibia it is important to accurately know the location, size and agricultural quality of the land. Geospatial information is essential in this regards as it quantifies the size of the land available for redistribution and also provide different land holdings or tenure types. The question of ‘where’ is answered by geospatial information, therefore knowing the location of people and natural resources is vital to planning for any country.
Spatial planning is a dynamic component of sustainable development. Studies have shown that more than 80% of all information used by the public sector in the world can be related to a location ⇒ everything happens somewhere!If we are to sustainably use the land as well as preserve it for the future, we need to use spatial data to inform our decisions. The Ministry of Land Reform is an advocate in this regard and urges all government institutions to get behind this concept to unlock the true potential of geospatial data.
I applaud the Namibia Statistics Agency in leading the implementation of this data infrastructure. I also applaud the Surveyor-General for leading this implementation as chairperson of the Committee for Spatial Data. The infrastructure calling for a comradery relationship among government entities to be united in creating a truly spatially-enabled society. The partnerships we are building will only be to the benefit of our country to drive the development agenda. I fail to understand why some main producers of spatial data in the country are not yet part of this partnership through the NSA.
I suggest that we need to put in mechanisms to compel participation since non-participation will make us continue to work in isolation and duplicating government resources. I urge the Committee for Spatial Data which is chaired by the Surveyor-General to speed up the collaboration process.