Article of the Month - June 2024

Opening Address by the President of Ghana at the FIG Working Week 2024

We are excited to present to you the opening speech by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for this article of the month, delivered at the FIG Working Week 2024. The address elaborates over the theme of the Working Week: "Your World, Our World: Resilient Environment and Sustainable Resource Management for All".
The article of the month starts with an introduction by FIG president Diane Dumashie.

Introduction address by FIG President Diane Dumashie

Your World, Our World: FIG 2024’s Call for Resilient Environments. Survey and Geospatial Professionals in the land, built and natural environment from over 90 countries gathered for the FIG 2024 annual conference. We were united under the theme “Resilient Environment and Sustainable Resource Management for All.”

This gathering was not just a meeting of minds but a connection of diverse cultures and expertise in land, the built and natural environment, all dedicated to one cause: how to better manage the Earth's resources and work with one another.

A defining moment was the opening of our conference by the esteemed President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nan Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, ceremonial inaugurating our proceedings. His speech was directional, charting our course through our discussions to the interconnectedness and diversity essential for planetary resilience and climate action.

“Your World, Our World” encapsulates our collective journey towards sustainability, in this case the context of planet. Our journey is marked by innovation, collaboration, and discovery. Our goal is clear: to advance sustainable development and environmental resilience while tackling climate challenges head-on.
Our professional diversity combined culture, land, and built environment expertise with governance, people and place.

Our collective mandate calls for diversity of thought aimed at a biodiverse future, a future that ensures a better life for all.

Land governance is a foundational to climate change adaptation and mitigation, yet its significance is often underestimated.  The urgency to combat climate change looms over the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in our discussions SDG 13 (Climate Action) and SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).   Hosting the conference in Ghana is special, spotlighting Africa’s abundant resources and the special role the continent has to play in tackling climate change; yet ensuring All African people are fairly recognised on the global stage.

As Survey and Geospatial professionals, we bear a unique responsibility to steer the world toward greater climate resilience and sustainable growth. We understand land and planetary resources, as well as the importance of digital connectivity and geo-partnerships. Our expertise in land governance is crucial in shaping sustainable development.

Surveyors and geospatial experts serve society’s greater good, recognising that land is more than a resource it embodies a community’s identity and continuity.  Connecting with traditional land governance perspectives is an important socio- political dimension and developing countries can be incorporated into a just and resilient society for all of us.

As custodians of land matter, we employ our expertise to work with partners to shape sustainable development. We strive for optimal use of land and marine resources, ensuring our cities are resilient and adaptive.  Above all we truly recognise our profeiosnal diversity has greater impact in tackling the climate challenged when we are united in our efforts.

The environment and nature are the bedrock of planetary and human health. Inspired by Agenda 2030 and Africa’s Agenda 2060, FIG is committed to safeguarding our planet from degradation.

Our discussions this week have bolstered our capacity through shared knowledge. We’ve generated new approaches and emphasized the importance of connectivity—with sustainable resources, partnerships, across generations, and through purposeful digital infrastructure. Together we’ll strengthen our professions bond with society, aiming to fulfil FIG’s vision for the prosperity of future generations.
Recalling the words of the esteemed President of Ghana:

“Let us remain mindful of the urgency of our collective endeavours. The decisions we make today will have far-reaching implications for future generations, and it is incumbent upon us to act decisively and responsibly.”

We are honoured by his Excellency the President of Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo speech which I share with you here:

Address by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

I thank the dynamic Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel Abu Jinapor, Member of Parliament for Damongo, for the invitation to join you at the opening ceremony of the Annual Working Week of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), which is being held in our vibrant capital of Accra. Akwaaba, is our word of welcome, and I hope you are enjoying your stay amongst a people who pride themselves on their warm hospitality.

I must, at the outset, congratulate my fellow Ghanaian, Dr. Diane Dumashie, on her election as President of FIG for the period 2022 to 2026, and leading this current process towards realizing a world that is fighting for sustainable development.

This gathering, under the theme "Your World, Our World: Resilient Environment and Sustainable Resource Management for All," holds profound significance for our shared future.

The theme you have chosen underscores the pivotal role that surveyors play in not only mapping our world, but also in crafting the sustainable frameworks that support our environment and resource management. This is a role that resonates deeply with Ghana’s vision for development, grounded in efficiency, sustainability and inclusivity.

Indeed, the surveying profession in Ghana has been a fundamental pillar in the development of the nation's socio-economic infrastructure. I recall with pride the pioneering work of George Ekem Ferguson, who led the mapping of the boundaries of modern-day Ghana in the late 19th century. Following on from this, surveyors have played crucial roles in major infrastructure projects, such as the Akosombo Dam, the Tema and Takoradi Harbours, and the highways that span the country. It is in recognition of the exceptional contributions of the local surveying profession, I am certain, that FIG has assembled the global community of surveyors to Accra for this event.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ghana, like many nations across the globe, faces significant challenges in the realms of land administration and spatial planning. Rapid urbanisation, environmental degradation, and the urgent need for sustainable resource management demand innovative solutions. Solutions that ensure growth and development, whilst maintaining the delicate balance of our ecosystems.

The International Federation of Surveyors has been instrumental in promoting such innovations and standards. Your work in promoting global collaboration amongst surveying professionals contributes immensely to enhancing land governance and spatial planning worldwide. In Ghana, we have felt the impact of your initiatives, particularly in improving our land administration systems. These efforts are crucial as they influence directly our goals for economic growth, agricultural productivity and environmental conservation.

It is our responsibility to ensure that, as we develop, we do so in a manner that is sustainable. This sustainability can only be achieved through resilient environmental practices that are built into every aspect of our planning and development processes. Surveyors are at the forefront of this endeavour, providing the critical data and insights needed to make informed decisions that protect and preserve our natural resources.

Moreover, the issue of climate change and its impact on land and water resources cannot be overstated. As a nation, we are committed to implementing the Paris Agreement and the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. But these are not just international obligations; they are essential for the survival and prosperity of our people. The data and systems developed by surveyors enable us to monitor changes, assess risks and plan accordingly. Your expertise allows us to build resilience against the inevitable impacts of climate change.

In Ghana, our government has taken significant steps to improve land administration through the Land Administration Project (LAP). This project, supported by international partners and aligned with global best practices, promoted by your federation, aims to streamline land registration, resolve land disputes, and, thus, enhance investor confidence in land transactions. These improvements are vital for achieving our broader economic and developmental goals.

Furthermore, our focus on harnessing digital technology in surveying practices is another area where collaboration with the International Federation of Surveyors is invaluable. The adoption of modern technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing is transforming how we manage land and resources. These tools not only increase the accuracy of our data, but also the efficiency of our processes, enabling faster decision-making that is critical in today’s fast-paced world.

As we look to the future, the role of education and continuous professional development cannot be ignored. We need to ensure that the next generation of surveyors is equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage the complexities of modern-day land administration and environmental management. Our educational institutions, supported by professional bodies like yours, are key to nurturing these talents.

In this light, I urge the International Federation of Surveyors to continue its work in promoting professional standards and ethics in surveying. Your efforts in advocating for sustainable practices, enhancing education, and supporting research are commendable and necessary for the challenges ahead.

Let us also recognize the importance of inclusivity in our practices. In Ghana, we are working to ensure that our policies and initiatives around land and resource management include the voices of all stakeholders, including the marginalized and vulnerable. It is only by working together that we can achieve the sustainable and resilient world we aspire to create.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, the theme "Your World, Our World" is a powerful reminder of our interconnectedness and the shared responsibility we hold in shaping a sustainable future. The International Federation of Surveyors plays a crucial role in this journey, and Ghana is proud to be a partner in this enterprise.

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to making our world a better place. I am confident that the discussions and deliberations of the FIG Working Week 2024 will yield tangible outcomes, and contribute to our shared vision of a more resilient, sustainable and prosperous world for all.

May God bless the International Federation of Surveyors, Mother Africa, and us all.

I thank you for your attention.


Read more about FIG Working Week 2024