ESRI, a developer of geographic information system (GIS) software, announces the Global Urban Observatory (GUO) Grant Program. This ambitious international grant initiative is under the auspices of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT). The Global Urban Observatory, an international capacity-building network, was established to help meet the goals of the Habitat Agenda, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and Agenda 21, from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The goal of the grant program is to provide GIS technology and training for up to 1,000 cities in the least developed countries so they can participate in the collection of urban indicator information and improve both city management and the lives of urban citizens. These indicators are the foundation for the Global Urban Observatory. The data will be analyzed in support of the Millennium Declaration goal, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2000, to improve the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020. This declaration is closely related to UN-HABITAT’s Goal 7, Target 11, which states a similar purpose.

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