In accordance with the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is dedicated to assisting the Member States and the Secretary-General in their efforts to maintain international peace and security. The Department's mission is to plan, prepare, manage and direct UN peacekeeping operations, so that they can effectively fulfil their mandates under the overall authority of the Security Council and General Assembly, and under the command vested in the Secretary-General.
DPKO provides political and executive direction to UN peacekeeping operations, and maintains contact with the Security Council, troop and financial contributors, and parties to the conflict in the implementation of Security Council mandates. DPKO strives to provide the best possible and most cost-efficient administrative and logistical support to missions in the field through the timely deployment of quality equipment and services, adequate financial resources and well-trained personnel. The Department works to integrate the efforts of UN, governmental and non-governmental entities in the context of peacekeeping operations. DPKO also provides guidance and support on military, police, mine action, and logistical and administrative issues to other UN political and peacebuilding missions.
DPKO's Cartographic Section has established GIS units in major United Nations Peacekeeping Missions, such as MONUC (Democratic Republic of the Congo), UNAMSIL (Sierra Leone), UNMEE (Eritrea-Ethiopia), UNMIL (Liberia), UNMIS (Sudan), UNOCI (Ivory Coast), ONUB (Burundi) and MINUSTAH (Haiti). The GIS units aim to establish a capability to integrate information from various sources on top of digital maps of the theater of peacekeeping operations that allows the Department to enhance its operational readiness and capabilities. The GIS units establish country level GIS working groups among United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and host countries to improve the sharing of geospatial data and to enhance operational capabilities.
DPKO and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have establish Sudan Interagency Mapping (SIM) group. SIM is comprised of GIS professionals working for non-profit humanitarian, developmental and peacekeeping initiatives. It functions in cooperation with local authorities to promote and facilitate the sharing of standardised geospatial information to enable all members to develop compatible and reliable products to assist in their operations. The members of the group include UNMIS, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Mine Action Service, the United Nations Joint Logistics Center, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, the Humanitarian Information Center for Darfur, the European Union Satellite Centre, Sudan Central Bureau of Statistics and the New Sudan Centre for Statistics and Evaluation.
DPKO supported various activities in response to the tsunami in the framework of UNGIWG and the Geographic Information Support Team (GIST) Such activities included collecting various digital vector layers and satellite imagery, and processing high-resolution satellite imagery with support from UNMOVIC to produce tiled, compressed and geo-referenced products that could increase the image portability for the field and mobile applications.
DPKO and WHO provide global coverage of international and administrative boundaries to the international communities. The Department has developed and maintained the international boundaries at scales of 1:1, 1:5, 1:10 and 1:25 million. Such information is available to United Nations entities upon request. WHO is providing the Second Administrative Level Boundaries data set (SALB), the updated of which will be completed by the end of 2006. Presently, contact information for more than 70 countries can be downloaded from the project web site: http://www3.who.int/whosis/gis/salb/salb_contact.htm. The project provides United Nations entities with access to geographic information on various countries. Information on the progress of SALB is now available through a newsletter, which is distributed quarterly through the project's mailing list.
Office for Outer Space Affairs
Vienna International Centre
P.O. Box 500, A - 1400 Vienna
Phone: (43-1) 26060-4950
Fax: (43-1) 26060 5830