News in 2013


Policies and Practices for Responsible Governance - Pacific Small Island Developing States Symposium

18-20 September 2013, Suva, Fiji

90 participants found their way to Suva to participate in the three day symposium from the following nations: Australia, Austria, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, Germany, Israel, Kenya, Kiribati, Malaysia, Micronesia, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States and Vanuatu.

 
The local organisers had done an amazing work to organise the symposium, and participants were greeted by a street banner

The overall theme of the symposium was “Policies and Practices for Responsible Governance”. During the three days focus on the three main thematic tracks were:

  • Improved governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests through the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure;
     
  • Improved geospatial information management through the strengthening of geodetic reference frame, national spatial information infrastructure, the creation, sharing and delivery of reliable geospatial information;
     
  • Securing access to land, land and property rights including the administering of customary rights and implementing a plurality of tenure system; Cross-cutting themes included capacity development, professional development and climate change.

The workshop program was developed with the assistance of FAO, UN-GGIM, FIG (in particular Commissions 3 and 5 and the Climate Change Task Force),the Fiji Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, the Fiji Institute of Surveyors (a member association of FIG) and the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat. The workshop was open to all, with specific emphasis on participation from Pacific Small Island Developing States.

FAO, UN-GGIM, the Fiji Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, the Fiji Institute of Surveyors and the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat worked closely together with FIG to organised this special symposium. The symposium was partly sponsored by FAO and UN-GLTN and funding was additionally and with great thanks provided by the Fijian Government.

Background

During the XXIV FIG Congress in Sydney, 2010, a seminar was organized in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to address the challenges Small Island Developing States are facing in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and with a special focus on the South Pacific Region. The Seminar emphasized the importance of good land governance especially in relation to climate change and natural disaster; access to land, coastal and marine resources; and secure land tenure and administration. The seminar adopted the “Sydney Agenda for Action” that aims at developing the capacity of land professionals to deal with these challenges. (please also see: The Sydney declaration).

Further to this the following activites have taken place:

  • a UN FAO regional consultation meeting for the Voluntary Guidelines in Samoa in 2010; and
  • an AusAID funded training on land tenure and disaster management in Suva at the USP in 2012.

As a follow up, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) agreed on organising this 3-day symposium. The purpose of the symposium was to "Contribute to the development of an international framework so that countries’ capacities are reinforced for responsible governance of access to, and secure and equitable tenure of land and its interface with other natural resources, with particular emphasis on its contribution to rural development".

Outcome of the symposium

As such, the following outcomes were achieved:

  • Dissemination of information regarding global level initiatives including the United Nations Initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management, the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure and affordable access to land and basic services to surveyors and related professionals as key land, natural and built environment professionals at the operative level in the South Pacific Region;
     
  • Engagement of academic and teaching institutions to raise awareness of key surveying opportunities and challenges in the South Pacific Region;
     
  • Development of partnerships and networks with surveyors and related professionals as key land, natural and built environment professionals in the South Pacific Region; and
     
  • Capacity development of surveyors and related professionals as key land, natural and built environment professionals in the South Pacific Region to further the object of the global level initiatives.

A key outcome of the Workshop was The Suva Statement, which was discussed and agreed upon in the final session. i

Symposium programme and presentations

The Symposium was structured around plenary presentations, technical sessions and workshops. The overarching goal was to deliver professional knowledge, engage professionals and stake-holders and to contribute towards regional information dissemination and capacity development. The Symposium program is available on the web site http://www.fig.net/pub/fiji/techprog.htm. Presentations are available as hyperlinks from the same site.

A separate report on the UN-GGIM-AP and FIG Commission 5 activities at the Symposium has been prepared. It is available at: http://www.fig.net/commission5/index.htm

 The Opening Session and Plenaries of the Symposium generally introduced and expanded upon the key themes and intended outcomes of the Symposium in the context of the Pacific SIDS. The applicability of the Voluntary Guidelines to the region was generally acknowledged, as was the need for appropriate and affordable technology and capacity. Issues of transparency in governance were continually returned to, as were the challenges of climate change. Climate change and pervasive new technologies were seen to be creating a greater imperative for action by surveyors, and also increased opportunities. The location and size of small island states in the Pacific region was seen to critically need the adoption of fit for purpose technologies.

Figure 2: A selection of slides from the Plenary presentations.

Technical sessions were scheduled for the morning and afternoon of the second day. Broad topics included the collection, management and display of geospatial information, hydrography, climate change, land administration, valuation and geospatial infrastructure. Presenters included professionals living in the region, as well as experts and organizational representatives from around the world. Many academics were present, as were industry and government representatives.

Figure 3: A selection of presentations from the Technical Sessions

Two parallel workshop streams were hosted on the second day. The first was lead by UN-GGIM, UN-GGIM-AP and FIG Commission 5, whilst the second was led by the FAO in partnership with GLTN. A report on the FIG Commission 5 and UN GGIM AP jointly organised workshops is available at http://www.fig.net/commission5/index.htm.  A report from the joint FAO and GLTN workshop is also anticipated.

The Symposium Closing Session comprised a panel of four regional participants who each presented their key conclusions, roles and actions. Critical points were addressed in the Suva Statement of the Symposium, which was discussed and agreed upon in the closing session. These included the need for partnerships within and beyond the region, the need for the adoption of fit-for-purpose technologies and the need for strong, participatory governance. Key concerns raised were included education and training opportunities in the region, potential liability relating to the quality and availability of hydrographic data and the future impact of climate change in the region.

Thanks to the organisers

The workshop program was developed with the assistance of FAO, UN-GGIM, FIG (in particular Commissions 3 and 5 and the Climate Change Task Force),the Fiji Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, the Fiji Institute of Surveyors (a member association of FIG) and the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat. The workshop was open to all, with specific emphasis on participation from Pacific Small Island Developing States.

FIG expresses a huge thanks to all the involved parties who contributed and worked hard to make this seminar a success. A special thanks to Fiji Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources who both assisted and also help financially with the seminar.

The final participant list is available on the conference website.

Many thanks to the local organisers from

Links

Additional Information

Additional information on documents and items discussed at the Symposium can be found on the following partner websites:

FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure: http://www.fao.org/nr/tenure/voluntary-guidelines/en/ 

UN-GGIM Secretariat: http://ggim.un.org 

Regional Committee of the UN-GGIM for Asia and the Pacific: http://www.un-ggim-ap.org 

Global Land Tool Network: www.gltn.net 

International Federation of Surveyors: www.fig.net 

 

Kate Fairlie, Chair FIG young Surveyors Network
October 2013

16 October 2013


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