Second Administrative Level Boundaries

Geospatial Information Section & Statistics Division



The Second Administrative Level Boundaries (SALB) programme aims at a working platform for the collection, compilation and management of a homogeneous global repository on administrative boundaries and their names from authoritative source such as the National Geospatial Information Authorities.

Specifically SALB objectives are to:

Compile a complete and consistent authoritative GIS dataset worldwide for administrative boundaries and names at first and second level below national, at 1 million scale;

Identify and maintain contact information details of the National Geospatial Information Authorities responsible for administrative boundaries and names validation; and

Maintain an overview of historical changes of national administrative units and names.

SALB programme aims to avail publicly authoritative information on administrative boundaries and names globally; as such it is a public good available to Members States, international organizations, and the international civil society including the general public, statisticians, GIS experts and researchers...

Global Agenda

SALB is a historical initiative started in 2001 which aligns with priorities set within the context of global agendas as set forth by Member States in the context of several General Assembly, ECOSOC Resolutions 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 boundaries and names shown and designations used on maps, tables, documents, and databases do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

        Copyright of the SALB dataset (codes, datasets, and digital maps) is vested in the United Nations.

        The SALB dataset (codes and digital maps) is copyrighted. The owner of the data agrees on the use, reproduction, distribution, display, publication and dissemination at no cost to third parties of the SALB dataset, in any manner and in any form whatsoever, subject to the copyright and acknowledgement mentioned in the metadata. It is prohibited to change the contents of the database without consent of the owner. The SALB dataset is for non-commercial purposes only.

        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. 

        News and Status

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