News in 2016

Report from the 39th FIG General Assembly – two new Vice Presidents

2 and 6 May 2016, Christchurch, New Zealand 

During the FIG Working Week 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand, the 39th FIG General Assembly was held; the first session on 2 May and second session on 6 May 2016. The delegates filled out the large arena - a much different venue than at previous FIG conference, but this was not a “normal” Working Week due to the fact that the conference centre in Christchurch was destroyed during the large earthquakes in 2011 and 12, and today, a new Conference Centre has not yet been built up. The sports arena made it however out for a useful conference centre.

At the first General Assembly 50 Member Associations were represented and at the second first 53 Member Associations out of 104 representing 68 votes for the Vice Presidents. Later two more Associations arrived and could vote for the destination for the Working Week 2020 giving a total of 70 votes. Together with observers around 250 participated in the General Assembly.

Reports from the 10 Commission and Young Surveyors Network


The General Assembly was opened with the traditional FIG Fanfare. During the first General Assembly there were reports from the President, the 10 Commission Chairs, Networks, Permanent Institutions, Task Forces and FIG Foundation. Each candidate for the election for Vice President got 10 minutes to present themselves including their visions and ideas as Vice President for FIG and the two venues, Interlaken, Switzerland and Amsterdam, the Netherlands also succeeded in giving inspiring and tempting presentations of their proposed Working Week 2020 and destination.

The commissions have had a busy first year of their term with many activities which were reported to the General Assembly. The new Regional Capacity Development Network reported from their meeting held in Kenya in November 2015.  Africa has been the first region to establish a network, and Chair of the Network Diane Dumashie could inform that another regional network is on its way in Asia/Pacific area. Hopefully there can also be established networks in other regions.

FIG Commission structure

At the General Assembly in 2015 a Task Force on Commission Structure was established, and at the General Assembly 2016 they presented a report that should initiate a discussion about FIG Commission Structure between the member associations in order to find out whether a change in the current structure is needed. Since this work was started Council had decided that the voting for the Commission Chairs Elects for the term 2017-18 was postponed. The proposal was discussed first at the General Assembly and hereafter also at a special lunch meeting where all member associations were invited. The report from the Task Force certainly initiated a good and healthy discussion on the FIG Commissions, which was its purpose. FIG Council and the Task Force appreciated all comments and they are now taken into consideration in order to find the next steps.


The elections were awaited with excitement during the Working Week. The two destinations were creative to catch and attract the attention of the delegates in order to promote their destination. the At the second General Assembly the first election was to find two new Vice Presidents, replacing Dr. Cheng Pengfei, CSSMG, China and Bruno Razza, CNGeGL Italy, who have served in FIG Council since 2013. A second vote for the first candidate was needed. If no candidate would get absolute majority in the first round of voting there would be a second vote with the candidates with the two highest votes. The candidates were Mikael Lilje and Yerach Doytsher, and the second voting showed a victory to Mikael Lilje, Swedish professionals for the built environment. Hereafter the second voting took place to find the next Vice President between Yerach Doytsher and Orhan Ercan. Unfortunately Sunil Lalloo, Institute of Surveyors of Trinidad and Tobago was not able to attend the Working Week and withdraw his application. The second voting was won by Orhan Ercan, Chamber of Surveying and Cadastre Engineers of Turkey. A big thanks to all candidates.

The voting for the Working Week 2020 was between two very strong candidates, both more than capable of organising a very successful Working Week. Interlaken, Switzerland presented by Geosuisse, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, presented by GIN. The voting showed a close run and with a victory to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The current Council was represented by VP Diane Dumashie, President Chryssy Potsiou and VP Rudolf Staiger.

The two new Vice Presidents for the term 2017-2020 Mikael Lilje, Sweden and Orhan Ercan, Turkey.

The President's report at the General Assembly

55 Member Associations out of 104 were represented at the General Assembly

The voting takes place

Orange was dominating at the presentation of the Dutch bid

New members

 The General Assembly could welcome two new Member Associations:

  • Géographie, Topographie, Hydraulique, Energie et Construction (GEOTHECO), Uganda 
  • The South African Geomatics Institute, SAGI

Further to this, Federación Argentina de Agrimensores (FADA) Argentina and National Order of Cameroon Surveyors (NOCS) were reinstalled as member, and FIG Council is pleased that Argentina is now represented again. Licensed Surveyors Association in Palestine, Palestina was granted suspended status.

Since the General Assembly 2015, FIG Council has admitted the following other members:

Corporate members: 

Beijing Spatial Corporation
GeoReference, Engineering Consultants Saudi Arabia

Affiliate members:

  • Survey and Land Registration Bureau, Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Cadastral Agency of Bulgaria, Bulgaria
  • The State Land Service of Latvia
  • LINZ – Land Information New Zealand
  • National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, NAMIRA, Philippines
  • State corporation Government for Citicens- Astana Kazakhstan
  • Dubai Municipality

Academic members:

  • Ghent University Belgium
  • University West, Department of Engineering, Sweden
  • Papua New Guinea University of Technology
  • Polytechnic of Namibia, Department of Land and Property Sciences 

The General Assembly also has the less attractive job to expel Member Associations that are more than three years in arrears, and unfortunately Cadastral Surveyors Association Liberia is no longer member of FIG.

Hereto the following associations have terminated their membership:

  •  College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico
  • The Irish Institution of Surveyors - now represented through RICS.
Reports from the Working Week to the General Assembly and closing

At the second General Assembly there were reports from various activities that took place during the Working Week hereunder from the commissions, and again this year Brent Jones, ESRI was persuaded to give a feed back from the Corporate Members meeting which also included an evaluation of the Working Week in general.

At the closing ceremony FIG President Potsiou thanked for all the engagement throughout the Working Week. There was a special thanks to the UN partners FAO and UN-Habitat/GLTN, UN-GGIM and the World Bank for their active participation in the Working Week and that it is important that FIG build on these relationships. She stated that “FIG will work with Member Associations to support the implementation of the VGGT and the continuum of land rights at the country level “and that  “FIG will continue to work with UN GGIM to further develop the use of geo spatial data in the context of land governance. Land Administration is high in the GGIM agenda”.  The Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration approach that was discussed in several technical sessions, hereunder a special session with GLTN was furthermore highlighted in the closing speech.

FIG president Potsiou also reminded the delegates of the invitation by the Key Note speaker in the Opening Ceremony, Margareta Wahlstrom to  have surveyors and their work  become more visible; “surveyors should be better to marketing themselves”.

The Local Organisers had done a great job to organise the Working Week. A report from the Working Week will be published. At the end of the closing afer having thanked the Local Organising Committee the FIG Flag was handed over from NZIS to the Finnish Organisers, MIL and MAKLI, represented by Co-Conference Director Pekka Halme.



Louise Friis-Hansen

30 May 2016