Fourth Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, 6 – 8 August 2014, United Nations Headquarters in New York

“The many environmental, developmental and humanitarian challenges we are facing today, make it increasingly apparent that location matters. Thus, geospatial information is fundamental to decision making, policy formulation, measuring and monitoring development elements, all critical to the post 2015 development agenda. I encourage you to remain continuously engaged and provide your expert advice for all the processes mentioned above.” said Mr. WU HongBo, Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations (6th August 2014).

News in 2014

Fourth Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management

6 – 8 August 2014, United Nations Headquarters in New York

“The many environmental, developmental and humanitarian challenges we are facing today, make it increasingly apparent that location matters. Thus, geospatial information is fundamental to decision making, policy formulation, measuring and monitoring development elements, all critical to the post 2015 development agenda. I encourage you to remain continuously engaged and provide your expert advice for all the processes mentioned above.”
Mr. WU HongBo,
Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs,
United Nations
(6th August 2014)


Source: Greg Scott, UN-GGIM, June 2014

The Fourth Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) was held from 6-8 August 2014 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Fourth Session brought together senior executives from national geospatial information authorities within Member States, and international geospatial experts from across the globe. The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) established the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) in July 2011 (ECOSOC resolution 2011/24) as the official United Nations intergovernmental consultative mechanism on global geospatial information management.

The main objectives of the UN-GGIM are to provide a forum for coordination and dialogue among Member States, and between Member States and relevant international organizations and to propose work-plans and guidelines with a view to promoting common principles, policies, methods, mechanisms and standards for the interoperability and inter-changeability of geospatial data and services.

In his opening remarks, Mr. WU HongBo, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the International Conference on Small Island Development States said that “One of the key objectives of the Committee of Experts is to contribute to the United Nations post 2015 development agenda. In this context, I wish to mention to you a number of ongoing initiatives and programmes at the United Nations which invariably provide excellent opportunities to reflect on the important supporting role that the global geospatial community can play for the sustainable development agenda. The second meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development was held here in New York just recently in July, under the theme of achieving the Millennium Development Goals and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda. The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development has just concluded its work and so will the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing. Both processes will provide key inputs to the formulation of a new United Nations development agenda beyond 2015, with sustainable development at its core. Next month, the United Nations will organize its Third International Conference on Small Island Development States. In the same month the Secretary General has also invited Heads of State and Government, along with business, finance, civil society and local leaders, to a Climate Summit here in New York. The many environmental, developmental and humanitarian challenges we are facing today, make it increasingly apparent that location matters. Thus, geospatial information is fundamental to decision making, policy formulation, measuring and monitoring development elements, all critical to the post 2015 development agenda. I encourage you to remain continuously engaged and provide your expert advice for all the processes mentioned above.

The deliberations and the outcomes of the Fourth Session further recognized and underscored the critical role of geospatial information management and the need for enhanced collaboration and joint initiatives to advance the development, usefulness and use of geospatial data and tools to support global sustainable development.


(R-L: 4th Session UNGGIM Bureau & Secretariat: Rapportuer, Mr. Sultan Mohammed Alya (Ethiopia); Co-Chair, Dr. LI Pengde (PR China); Co-Chair Dr. Vanessa Lawrence (UK); Mr. Stefan Schweinfest (UN Statistics Division); Co-Chair Dr. Edouardo Sojo (Mexico); Mr. Kyoung-soo EOM (UN Cartographic Section); Mr. Greg Scott (UN Statistics Division)

A notable outcome from the Fourth Session was the adoption of the draft resolution on a Global Geodetic Reference Frame for Sustainable Development and to refer the Resolution to the United Nations Economic and Social Council for endorsement and further referral to the UN General Assembly. However the UN-GGIM regretted that the level of understanding and uptake of geography and geospatial information in sustainable development, particularly at the policy and decision-making level, as efforts remained somewhat limited. In this regard, UN-GGIM agreed to establish a small group of experts to support the Bureau and Secretariat in their efforts to enhance the role and value of geospatial information in the ongoing debate on sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda.

UN-GGIM agreed that actions be taken to work jointly towards the preparation, improvement and maintenance of fundamental geospatial data themes building on existing national and regional fundamental themes. The draft “A Statement of Shared Guiding Principles for Geospatial Information Management” was agreed as a more appropriate and with strong consensus, the Working Group where FIG is a member, will refine the statement based on the interventions by member states for endorsement by UN-GGIM and further referral to the Economic and Social Council.


Global Forum on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information, 4th – 5th August 2014, United Nations Headquarters in New York

Preceding the Fourth Session of UN-GGIM was the United Nations Global Forum on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information. The United Nations Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information substantively supported the Forum, organized by the United Nations Statistics Division, acting as the Secretariat for both the UN Statistical Commission and UN-GGIM. The Global Forum aimed to continue the global consultation and communication on the development of a global statistical-geospatial framework, initiated by the UN Statistical Commission and UN-GGIM. The Forum recognized the necessity to bring together both statistical and geospatial professional communities, discussed and aimed to develop strategic goals and better practices towards the integration of statistical and geospatial information.

The Forum acknowledged that the harmonizing of national statistical and geospatial systems provides valuable means nationally for the integrating of diverse data themes including that of socio-economic and environmental data. There was also the recognition that the upcoming 2020 round of census provides the opportunity to harmonize these two systems towards the desired integration of data and the avoidance of duplicative efforts.

Further meetings at UN Headquarter in New York, August 2014:

CheeHai Teo
August 2014
New York

19 August 2014


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