News in 2016

Report from the 5th session of UNGGIM 

3-7 August 2015, New York, United States

The Fifth Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) was held in NY, 3-7 August 2015. The session was attended by 290 participants (216 representatives from 85 Member States, 7 from 1 non-Member State, 67 from organizations of the United Nations and observers for intergovernmental, non-governmental and other organizations). FIG President participated in that event. The Co-Chair of the Committee, Vanessa Lawrence CB opened the session.
During the opening session, the Committee of Experts congratulated Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB for her achievements and the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Mr. Wu Hongbo awarded her a certificate of appreciation. The committee then elected the following new officers:

Co-Chairs: Tim Trainor (United States of America), Rolando Ocampo (Mexico), Li Pengde (China)
Rapporteur: Abdoulaye Belem (Burkina Faso)

FIG President Chryssy Potsiou attended the meeting

Dr Vanessa Lawrence receives the certificate of appreciation

The global importance of geospatial information was formally recognised by the United Nations when UN-GGIM was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July 2011, recognizing that there was no global Member State driven mechanism to discuss critical issues and set directions on the production, management and use of geospatial information within national and global policy frameworks and therefore it was an urgent need to take action in order to strengthen international cooperation in this field. As mentioned in the website ( the Committee of Experts is a formal inter-governmental mechanism that coordinates global geospatial information production and management, and is composed of government experts from the national geospatial information authorities from more than 100 United Nations Member States, as well as experts from relevant international organizations, the private sector, and other major global stakeholders from the geospatial information industry and civil society, who participate as observers. Since 2011 the Committee members have met and worked together at the annual sessions, the three High Level Forums that have been convened, and a number of international technical capacity development workshops and related fora.

The following text is a summary of information formally provided by UNGGIM, to help newcomers understand this initiative.

The Committee of Experts considered a detailed draft of the review of the work of the Committee during the 2011-2015 period and noted the considerable achievements and progress made, as well as the challenges that remain. With very limited resources but, importantly, with strong engagement and commitment by Member States and the international geospatial community, the Committee of Experts has established and organised itself quickly and delivered concrete results towards achieving its mandate. Over the past five years the Committee has produced key tangible outputs that may briefly be summarized as following:

At its fifth session, the Committee of Experts among other decided to:

In her statement to UN-GGIM, FIG President Chryssy Potsiou congratulated the UN-GGIM and the member countries for including land administration to the UN-GGIM agenda. She stated that FIG believes this is a major step towards achieving the post 2015 development goals. She further stated that, although we all live in the era of a globalised economy, not all citizen of this world experience the benefits of inclusive and efficient land administration that provides transparency in the management of land and the necessary infrastructure to the people, especially the low-income earners, to acquire access to capital, to improve their living standards and to protect the planet. FIG strongly believes in the land administration concept and has already developed long activity, in-depth research, international cooperation with FAO and the WB and a series of publications in this field. FIG declares its strong commitment to continue its cooperation with the UN-GGIM in this field and to build upon the existing experience and knowledge, avoid any dublication of efforts, avoid any time delays, and work closely, hand in hand with the countries, in an joint mission to translate these words into action.

At this critical stage in the global development cycle, Member States have specified that they seek to further expand the mandates of the Committee to enable it to function as the global governing body on all issues related to geospatial information in order to effectively and efficiently support the emerging geospatial demands for Member States and global agenda such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Chryssy Potsiou

06 January 2016

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