South Korea holds joint training program for national surveying and spatial intelligence agencies

South Korea’s National Geographic Information Institute (NGII) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have recently commenced a joint training program for 20 high-ranking government officials from national surveying and spatial intelligence agencies of 8 developing countries: Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Belarus, Mozambique, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Myanmar and Tanzania.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), the training program, which runs from 14th June to 3rd July, is intended to address key infrastructural development issues in developing countries by sharing Korean technical expertise.

The joint training program constitutes part of KOICA’s international development initiatives and taps on the NGII’s spatial technology expertise; consisting of 3 phases, the program begins with a “country report” where participants first share about the status of spatial intelligence infrastructure  in their home countries, following which relevant aspects of Korean technical expertise will be matched according to the challenges and needs faced by each country under the “Practice” phase; the program concludes with the “Action Plan” phase, where participants will develop solutions to tap on Korean technical expertise to solve domestic infrastructural issues.

The objectives of the joint training program are twofold: to address the need for proper land management systems in developing countries for sustainable and balanced national economic development, as well as create new opportunities and expand markets for relevant Korean enterprises. 

Rapid urbanisation and a population boom in many developing countries often lead to haphazard land management policies and systems that compound existing problems such as soil degradation and poverty. By tapping on Korean technical expertise in spatial technologies, it is hoped that participation in the joint training program will inform more comprehensive and prudent land management policies and systems in developing countries. In both Tanzania and Laos for example, poor land-use policies and management systems have resulted in soil degradation due to overgrazing and illegal logging.

While the NGII and KOICA are responsible for conducting the program, private enterprises specialising in spatial technology products and services will be roped in to provide solutions and consultative services for participants of the joint training program. Over the course of the joint training program, the NGII will provide avenues for “close consultation and (solutions advisory) on spatial information issues” present in the 8 developing countries. This will be done via cooperative programs between domestic Korean spatial information companies and participating developing countries.

According to MOLIT, it is hoped that via such efforts, participating developing countries will be able to develop a more feasible action plan for improving land management systems; it is also hoped that, via cross-border technical cooperation and public-private partnership, the program will boost the prospects for foreign entry and commercialisation of products of domestic Korean companies specialising in spatial information systems.

“We will actively transfer our experiences and skills in the area of ​​surveying and spatial information, and further strengthen cooperation with relevant government officials in developing countries,” said Yu Ki-Yun, Director of the National Geographic Information Institute.

“(The joint training program provides opportunities) which will help Korean companies to advance into overseas markets.”

As an exemplary model of development and policymaking excellence, South Korea possesses a consistent record of technical cooperation programs and initiatives to promote domestic technical expertise overseas. Earlier in May, South Korea’s Green Technology Center (GTC - K) had inked a business agreement with Kazakhstan’s International Center for Green Technology and Investment (IGTIC), strengthening bilateral cooperation on climate technology projects; the Seoul Metropolitan Government had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Asia and the Pacific last month to encourage the adoption and implementation of Seoul’s innovation policies in developing Asian cities.

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