Main Conference Theme:

“Our Earth, Our Heritage: Harnessing Geospatial Technologies for Sustainable Development in Africa”

The conference theme recognizes not only the past efforts related to resource management challenges, but is also positioned to take care of the expected changes in 2015 in the global discourse to tackle the contemporary development challenges particularly.

Whilst the 5th IPCC report with its trajectories are fairly new, the development discourse after 2015 will be driven by the post 2015 global framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (HFA2) which will replace the HFA (2005-2015); the Sustainable Development Goals which will replace the MDG’s and the new Climate Change Agreement 2015.

Cognizant of these expected global developments, coupled with the fact that these challenges can be efficiently and sufficiently tackled with geospatial technology, the conference will address the following sub-themes, but with a geospatial technology lens.

Conference sub-Themes

1. Space and Earth Observation Technology for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

This sub-theme will focus on technological developments in earth observation and space that is crucial in addressing the sustainable development goals. The potential and capabilities of a range of earth observation systems including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), systems and sensors to generate data and its processing will be highlighted. This theme will also cover topical areas such as agriculture, ecosystems, resources and biodiversity, wetlands, coastal and marine. | Submit an Abstract

2.Disaster Risk Management & Resilience

The interaction or mis-interaction of poor communities on ecologically sensitive landscapes is the prime cause of disasters in Africa. Yet it is again the responsibility of the humans exploiting the landscapes to undertake responsible mechanisms to obviate disaster by appropriately tackling the risks. SDG’s without addressing disaster risk reduction and management will reverse the earlier achievements. With a geospatial lens, this sub-theme will address a range of hazards and systems with a view of improving landscape stewardship human security and resilience in Africa. | Submit an Abstract

3. From Climate Change to Climate Risk Management

The debate has significantly change from “if” to “what” can be done to manage disasters, reflecting a major. The 5th IPPC report has reaffirmed the earlier observations from previous assessment on vulnerability of the African systems and populations to the adverse impacts of climate variability and change.

Space science, earth observation and geospatial technology posits a significant potential for positive climate risk management. This subtheme will address the potential and applications for addressing the climate change challenges in Africa. The sub-theme will also address issues of land use conversions and change and how they relate to climate variability, change and livelihoods in Africa. | Submit an Abstract

4. Human Capital Development in Geospatial Science

The centre of gravity for optimization, utility and sustainability of remote sensing and geospatial technology lies in having a critical pool of technical personnel who are skilled to take advantage of the growing technology. Some capacities in geospatial science exists in Africa, but may not be optimally utilized or may require enhancement.

There are also many capacity development initiatives ongoing both originating from Africa and beyond. This theme will address the niches required for building, sustaining and as well utilizing available capacities. The programmes and strategies needed to initiate, nurture and sustain capacities will be addressed. | Submit an Abstract

5. Big Data and Spatial Data Infrastructure Utility and Management

Spatial data generation, management and utilization for sustainable resource management has remained a critical challenge in Africa. Yet globally and in this age, spatial data is increasingly available from a range of sources. Monitoring, Reporting and Verifiable (MRVs) SDG indicators can be tracked by using geospatial technologies and data.

This theme will focus on a range of data generation, data integration and management protocols including from none traditional sources e.g. crowd sourcing. The sub-theme also covers the quite recent but interesting issue of big data. It will explore ways of galvanizing the available geo data into relevant decisions for development. | Submit an Abstract

6. Africa’s Space Policy and Strategy: Cost Benefit of Space Technology

While substantial efforts have been invested in bridging science and policy together, significant gaps still exist. Yet it is the proximity and collaboration between science and policy that is likely to deliver and yield the targets of the SDGS and deepen development in Africa. This sub-theme will look into the African space policy and strategy, the national space policies and economic impacts of remote sensing, space science and earth observation. It is also expected that a policy forum entailing various policy actors at the continent will be organized where relevant issues needed to elevate the utility of science for accelerated development will be discussed. | Submit an Abstract

7. Geospatial Science and Technology for Water and Watershed Management

There is no doubt that efficient management of every water droplet is at the core of landscape development, livelihood development and national development through agricultural development, water for home consumption, surface processes such as erosion, pollution and sedimentation.

Inextricably, sustainable management of watersheds and water resources is a harbinger for conflict resolution at various scales, local, national, regional, continental and global. The thrust of the theme are water and watershed related novel and contemporary geospatial science and technology applications that builds and advances societies and systems. | Submit an Abstract

8. Conflict Management, Human Security and Peace

Africa is prone to a range of conflicts including border conflicts, wars, trans-boundary conflict (water, worrying factions), refugee issues etc. What will be the role of space technology in conflict management? Space technology offers great potentials and prospects of conflict resolution and management culminating into improved human security. This subtheme will address novel science and technological development that are crucial for human security, food security, water, sanitation, humanitarian actions among others. | Submit an Abstract

9. Cities and Demographic Transitions

It is now widely proclaimed that we have entered an ‘urban age’, with over half of the worlds population living in cities. Most importantly perhaps following Lefebvre’s prophetic pronouncement over forty years ago, all society ‘has been completely urbanized’ – at least in the sense that urbanization is deeply entangled in key processes shaping territories and societies hitherto thought of as both ‘urban’ and ‘non-urban’. Management of urban space and urban populations is projected to be the greatest challenge in Africa in the next decades. | Submit an Abstract

Extensive analyses point to demographic shifts and trajectories where Africa will be more urbanized but with the urban spaces, populations and landscapes being vulnerable to climate variability and change will see higher rates of urban growth and development in the next decades. In the context of these debates, what solutions does earth observation and space technologies offer for exploring urban landscapes? The thrust of this subtheme is to decipher the utility of geospatial and earth observation technologies in to addressing both the current and futuristic urban development challenges in Africa including urban hazards, security, poverty, shrinkage, sprawl, food security challenges, energy, housing, infrastructural and engineering technological challenges. | Submit an Abstract

10. Geospatial Technologies for Energy Management

Present-day prosperity largely rests on having secure and stable access to energy. It is  central in fostering economic growth and development, industrial innovations and the realisation of SDGs. Although the demand for energy continues to increase on the African continent and beyond particularly due to the unprecedented upsurge in population and related processes, inadequacies in supply and distribution remain.

The continent relies on biomass and petroleum for most of its rural household consumption and transportation respectively, while access to modern forms of energy is at its lowest. Widespread fuel ‘poverty’ and energy shortages are the ‘everyday’ experience especially across the continent. The need for new forms of energy vis-à-vis traditional forms is clear. These ‘development’ problems have produced and reproduced multiple interrelated consequences that could derail the achievement of sustainable development goals. A number of recent reviews and commentaries have called attention to the varied dimensions of energy

landscapes, transitions and infrastructures. They are interesting reasons, we believe, to consider the distinctive energy transitions, infrastructures, agencies and ‘materialities’ that characterize the African continent, and examine how contemporary energy regimes in diverse locales across the continent are being reconfigured in the context of the post-2015 agenda. Geospatial and space-based technologies can provide useful tools and information on which responses to these complex energy issues can be anchored; which creates emerging contours of the African energy landscape. How can geo-spatial technologies address fuel ‘poverty’ and energy shortages across the continent? How can geo-spatial technologies build new forms of geo-material agency (geothermal, wind, solar, hydro), more distributed forms of energy production, and new practices and technologies of energy consumption across the continent?  How can the technologies strengthen energy transformations that not only involve novel socio-material relations and infrastructures, but also reorganize governmental powers and practices? | Submit an Abstract