August 15th, 2016, Published in Articles: PositionIT
by Clare van Zwieten, EE Publishers
A significant milestone has been reached by the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) following the adoption of a draft resolution by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) entitled “Strengthening institutional arrangements on geospatial information management”. The move is an acknowledgement of the UN-GGIM’s efforts over the last five years to co-ordinate and facilitate geospatial information management at an international level.
The adoption of the resolution followed a consultative review of the work and operations of the UN-GGIM and took place prior to the sixth session of the UN-GGIM which was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 1 to 5 August 2016.
The resolution acknowledges that the Committee of Experts is well placed to continue to contribute to the work of the United Nations, especially in the context of assisting member states to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway.
During his opening remarks, Wu Hongbo the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stated that the resolution represented a milestone for the Committee of Experts, that it would streamline the work of the subsidiary bodies of the council in the field of geospatial information management, and strengthen and broaden its mandate as the relevant body to report to the council on all matters relating to geography, geospatial information and related topics.
He further stated that the UN-GGIM has a valuable role to play in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which aims to guide the world’s collective social, economic and environmental transformation over the next 15 years. Hongbo pointed out that the resulting new data needs are unprecedented and that they will require co-ordinated efforts at global, regional and national levels. He emphasised that “efforts to increase the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data, disaggregated by a range of metrics, including geographic location, will be critical in order to track progress, make informed decisions and to ensure no one is left behind”.
The adoption of the draft resolution on strengthening institutional arrangements on geospatial information management, means that ECOSOC has agreed to broaden and strengthen the mandate of the Committee of Experts and to confirm the inclusion of the annual session of the committee within the regular United Nations calendar of conferences and meetings. Member states will also be encouraged to provide voluntary contributions, and to ask the Secretary-General to mobilise additional resources to support the activities of the UN-GGIM.
This is good news for all who work with geospatial information. The resolution gives geospatial data and its management a more prominent role on a global stage, and will ultimately assist South African initiatives, such as our own Committee for Spatial Information, to acquire the status and authority required in order to operate successfully.
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