Dr Stuart Minchin

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Stuart Minchin

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Keynote Presentation: 
Geospatial information – the foundation for monitoring the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Dr Stuart Minchin, Chief, Environmental Geoscience Division – Geoscience Australia 


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5 Things You Will Learn

  1. Ending poverty, protecting the planet from degradation and climate change impacts, and fostering peace are the goals of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda, to which all Member States have signed up
  2. Geospatial information and technology can help Member States meet the UN Sustainable Development Agenda goals
  3. Geospatial information and technology can monitor progress against achieving these goals
  4. Australia’s leadership in the implementation of the United Nations geospatial management agenda
  5. National geospatial authorities have an ongoing advocacy role to highlight the importance of geospatial information to nonspatial policy making and decision making authorities

Target Audience

Government policy makers Providers of foundation spatial data Innovators and researchers looking to exploit current and emerging foundation spatial data sources.

Presentation Overview

In 2015 the United Nations published its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda are designed to stimulate action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet, by aiming to end poverty and hunger in all forms, protect the planet from degradation and the actions of climate change, ensure all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives, and foster peaceful and inclusive societies. In response to this call to arms, the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) recognises that geospatial information will have an essential role in both assisting Member States in achieving those goals, and monitor progress along the journey. As everything happens somewhere, location provides a unique link between where that activity is occurring and the statistical, demographic and environmental information that can be used to monitor that activity. National geospatial authorities also have a responsibility to further advocate an understanding of the power of location information to policy- and decision-making levels in government. The potential of the world’s geospatial information holdings, technology and expertise to help achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda will be explored in this keynote speech. Australia’s continuing leadership in the implementation of the UN-GGIM’s activities, including the recognition of the need for a Global Geodetic Reference Frame and the importance of linking statistical and geospatial information, will also be explored.


Currently head of Australia’s delegation to the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, an Australian representative to the Group on Earth Observation (GEO), and Chief of Geoscience Australia’s Environmental Geoscience Division I have extensive experience in water and environmental information sciences, particularly in the earth observation and water resource management area. My career has been focused on the development and delivery of improved natural resource information and knowledge to stakeholders and the public. My executive level employment as Research Director(Environmental Observation and Landscape Science) and previously as Principal Scientist (Water Assessment and Research) has involved the direction of research priorities and the specification and management of large-scale natural resource observation and information management programs conducted by both the private and public sector. I have a strong background in the management and computer modelling of water and environmental data and the online management, interoperability, and delivery of data, modelling and reporting tools for improved natural resource management.