FIG President Stig Enemark attends the Second Preparatory Meeting on the proposed United Nations Committee of Experts on Geographic Information Management

United Nations, New York, USA, 10-11 May 2010

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New York – New York…

President Stig Enemark attended the Second Preparatory Meeting of the Proposed United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geographic Information Management held in New York, 10-11 May 2010.

The meeting was organized by United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in cooperation with the Cartographic Section of the Department of Field Services (DFS). Experts from 16 countries (Australia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, India, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, UK, USA) and 15 Regional and International Organizations (EuroGeographics, EUROGI, FIG, ICA, IHO, IGU, ISCGM, ISPRS, GSDI, GEO/GEOSS, Joint-Board of GIS/ESRI, ISO/TC 211, OGC, UNGEGN, PSMA) attended the Meeting that was chaired by Mr. Paul Cheung, Director of UNSD and co-chaired by Mr. Luiz Paulo Fortes (Brazil) and Mr. Hiroshi Murakami (Japan).

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Mr. Paul Cheung, Director UNSD chairing the meeting.
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UN building in proper perspective

This second preparatory meeting was following the first meeting held in Bangkok in October 2009 see: with the purpose to establish a global mechanism for discussion and coordination of critical issues in the field of geographic information management.

The meeting confirmed the need and relevance of such a global mechanism, in order to respond effectively to the need for multi-layered information on global issues and during humanitarian crises, and to support sustainable development and place-based development strategies.

Many participants stressed that the global forum would provide a unique opportunity for knowledge transfer and capacity building. In this context the importance of “enablement” to achieve desired specific results was stressed, rather than just the provision of general capacity building support.

FIG President Stig Enemark emphasised the need for such a global forum to integrate land administration, cadastre and land registration functions with topographic mapping programs within the context of wider national strategies for spatial data infrastructures. This should be reflected within the UN strategy for Global Geographic Information Management (GGIM).

The meeting reviewed practical models for a global architecture on GGIM. It was recognized that the model should include well defined official national membership and regular annual meetings. It was furthermore recognized, that in the field of geographical information, professional organizations, such as GSDI, FIG, ICA, ISPRS, the Joint Board of GIS, UNGEGN would have to play an important supportive role and would in turn see their specialized initiatives facilitated under the wider UN umbrella.

It was suggested that a new global architecture could consist of an Expert Committee and a Global Forum. The Expert Committee would meet more frequently - possibly annually - and be charged to coordinate specific areas of work. The Global Forum could help to provide a venue for a more global approach to geographic information and better advocacy to politicians and decision makers. Such a Global Forum could bring all member states together and address critical issues through an inter-governmental mechanism.

The meeting reached the conclusion that a global mechanism on geographic information management under the auspices of the United Nations is required and supported the idea of moving ahead with plans to organize and formalize this. The United Nations Economic and Social Council in its forthcoming session in July 2010 has been requested to commission a report on this issue and will provide the opportunity to develop detailed proposals on the scope and the modalities of the global mechanism for adoption in 2011.

In this context, the announcement of the Republic of Korea to offer to host a Global Forum in the second half of 2011 was warmly welcomed.

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15 June 2010