ArcNews Online

Fall 2006

OAS Expanding Use of GIS in Latin America and Education

Organization of American States Signs Strategic Alliance with Esri

The Organization of American States (OAS) officially signed an agreement with Esri supporting two projects promoting sustainable development in Latin America.

Ambassador Alfonso Qui��nez, the OAS executive secretary for integral development (SEDI), and Jack Dangermond, president of Esri, concluded the agreement at the 26th Annual Esri International User Conference during August of this year.

Ambassador Alfonso Qui��nez and Jack Dangermond conclude the Esri-OAS agreement at the 26th Annual Esri International User Conference.

"This agreement represents a milestone in expanding the use of GIS in the Latin American region and demonstrates a unique partnership between the private and public sectors," comments Dangermond. "Esri is donating software and support to underpin the project, while OAS is securing financial resources to ensure that the projects remain funded and sustainable. I believe that this is a significant step in ensuring successful implementation."

In the initial phase of the agreement, Esri will support two critical OAS projects: the Municipal Development Program (MuNet) and the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) project.

One of the components of OAS's MuNet is designed to empower municipalities in Latin America by providing them with the electronic tools necessary to start building their regional cadastral and land registry systems. In addition to software, Esri is providing training in El Salvador for representatives from selected municipalities in participating countries.

The Department of Sustainable Development within OAS supports the execution of multiple-country conservation projects, such as the Amazon-Andes Protected Area Metadata Database (AAPAMD), which is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. AAPAMD is a subcomponent of the IABIN project. Through OAS, Esri will provide software to 45 national parks and protected areas throughout the Amazon-Andes region with the expectation that these selected areas will share the data collected and facilitate the expansion of their GIS database. In addition to the donation of GIS software, Esri will provide training, Spanish documentation, and access to its Virtual Campus program.

Within the framework of this agreement, other areas of support are being explored, notably a program called GIS and Kids, which introduces the 4-H Club concept into Latin American countries. GIS could also aid in matters dealing with border disputes, population displacements, and "binational" parks.

According to Qui��nez, "This strategic alliance will enable OAS to support high-impact development and environmental programs in Central America and the Andean region. This is yet another successful example of the advantages that stem from OAS's partnerships with the private sector, and it illustrates our commitment to development."

More Information

For more information, contact Merrill Lyew, Esri's regional manager for Latin America (e-mail:

See also "Esri Chile Established to Expand GIS Growth in Region."

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