Second Administrative Level Boundaries

Geospatial Information Section & Statistics Division


"The data needs for the Sustainable Development Goals are great, and time is not on our side.
Reliable, timely, accessible and disaggregated geospatial information must be brought to bear to measure progress, inform decision-making and ensure effective and inclusive national and sub-national programs."

 - António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations


The Second Administrative Level Boundaires (SALB) programme objective is to promote accessible, interoperable and global data and information on subnational units and boundaries, or common geographies, for better decisions, stronger support to people and planet and to monitor the Sustainable Development Goals.

The SALB programme, in close collaboration with National Geospatial Information Authorities* each Member States of the United Nations, aims to make available a global repository of authoritative information and geospatial data about the administrative units structure of countries down to the second subnational level, and through time.

Specifically SALB objectives are to collect, maintain and share:

Contact information of the National Geospatial Information Authority responsible for administrative units and boundaries

Geospatial data for administrative units and boundaries for first and second level below national, at 1:1  million scale

Historical tables providing changes of national administrative units and names for the first and second level below national

The above data and information is a public good available to Members States, international organizations, and the international civil society including the general public, statisticians, geospatial experts and researchers.

Global Agenda

The SALB programme aligns with priorities of different global agendas as set forth by Member States in the context of several General Assembly, ECOSOC Resolutions, Committees and Group of Experts recommendations.

Rio + 20 : The Future We Want (General Assembly, RES/66/288)

SALB as an authoritative geospatial dataset on administrative boundaries supports the provision of:

  • “reliable geospatial information for sustainable development policy making, programming and project operations” [para 274]
  • “comprehensive hazard and risk assessments, and knowledge and information sharing, including reliable geospatial information” [para 187]

    2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (General Assembly, RES/70/1)

    SALB can play a crucial role in providing reliable global geospatial information to support measuring and monitoring the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda and in particular through the integration of statistics and geospatial data. SALB contributes to this global effort as it allows to:

    • “increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age […] and geographic location” [para 17.18 and 74(g)]
    • “promote transparent and accountable scaling-up of appropriate public-private cooperation to exploit the contribution to be made by a wide range of data […] and geospatial information, while ensuring national ownership in supporting and tracking progress” of the SDGs [para 76]
    • “report on the Sustainable Development Goals to be prepared by the Secretary-General in cooperation with the United Nations system, based on the global indicator framework and data produced by national statistical systems and information collected at the regional level’ [para 83]

    United Nations Committee of Expert on Global Geospatial Management (UN-GGIM)

    The United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM) which was established under resolution 2011/24 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). During its sixth session on the “Determination of global fundamental geospatial data themes”, the Committee:

    • highlighted administrative boundaries as a priority “core global fundamental geospatial data theme”
    • “noted the importance of the availability of seamless global administrative level boundary data for countries, and continuing to contribute to the SALB”

      United Nations Group of Experts on Geographic Names (UNGEGN)

      Finally, SALB also contributes to the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographic Names mandate by:

      • promoting the recording of locally-used names reflecting the languages and traditions of a country for administrative names
      • promoting the use of these names internationally and use of a single scientifically-based romanization system for administrative names
      • making mapping organizations aware of the importance of using standardized geographical names



        The designations employed and the presentation of material of the SALB programme of the United Nations do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

        Copyright of the SALB Data (including codes, historical tables, and geospatial data) is vested in the United Nations.

        This website is managed by the Geospatial Information Section of the United Nations. Links to other sites are provided for information only. The inclusion of these links and their content does not imply official endorsement or approval whatsoever by the United Nations.

        Terms of Contribution and Terms of Use are detailled under Methodology.

        * National Geospatial Information Authority, used as an encompassing term to cover National Mapping, National Cartographic, National Geospatial Information Agencies and Authorities 

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