ESRI announced its participation in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), an international conference staged every 10 years. This year, more than 60,000 delegates attended the conference, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4.

Among ESRI's list of WSSD activities was the display of a sampling of the many entries for the My Community, Our Earth (MyCOE) and Geographic Information for Sustainable Development (GISD) projects. During the past year, ESRI has partnered with many institutions on these two major initiatives. The exhibit at WSSD focused on the importance of geographic information and related technologies to the successful implementation of sustainable development projects.

In the MyCOE project, secondary and university students from around the world completed projects in which they used the tools and methods of geography to study how their communities are changing and explore the ways in which they might improve the quality of life in those communities. Some of the MyCOE projects have been posted on the Internet at http://gis.esri.com/geography/wssd/projects2002/index.cfm. The GISD exhibit highlighted the use of geographic information for decision making related to such issues as natural resource management, public health, and poverty reduction by African institutions in a public/private partnership with the U.S. government, universities, nongovernmental organizations, and private companies.

Both of these exhibitions were showcased in the Geographic Information Pavilion of the U.S. State Department in the Ubuntu Village.

ESRI also hosted a virtual booth called "GIS at the World Summit on Sustainable Development" that can be found at http://www.esri.com/events/wssd/index.html. The site details the many events and activities at the summit in which ESRI was involved.

In addition, ESRI participated in a variety of GIS training programs and receptions to explain the critical role of GIS in advancing sustainable development programs.