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Chinese pilot project tracks progress towards SDGs

National Geomatics Center of China, Beijing, China.
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Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong.

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China’s progress in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is being successfully monitored using geospatial and statistical information in a pilot scheme running in Deqing county, Zhejiang province.

A team of 20 researchers, led by the National Geomatics Center of China, measured 100 SDG indicators over the 938-square-kilometre county. In line with the UN Global SDG Indicator Framework, multi-scale and multi-type geospatial and statistical data were integrated for comprehensive measurement and evidence-based progress analysis. These data included topographic and land-cover maps, aerial and satellite images, disaggregated socio-economic information and environment statistics, as well as some from social media.

The conclusion is that the county, which has a population of around 430,000, has made significant economic and social advances and maintained a good ecological environment over the past 5 years. Challenges such as inadequate public transport in some regions have been drawn to the attention of policymakers.

An online public information service charts Deqing’s progress towards achieving the SDGs. The pilot scheme’s findings will be discussed at the UN’s first World Geospatial Information Congress later this month.

Nature 563, 184 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-07309-w
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