New Technology for a New Century
Plenary Session - FIG Co-operation with the United Nations and Other International Agencies
Co-operation between FIG and the United Nations Agencies
Prof. Ian Williamson, Director, United Nations Liaison, International Federation of Surveyors
The following abstract is based on the report on recent activities given to the FIG General Assembly by the Director, FIG / UN Liaison in Seoul, May 2001.
The General Assembly confirmed the FIG policy with the United Nations and its agencies at its meeting in Prague, 2000. The main joint projects and activities were discussed previously with the different UN partners at a round table during the UN/FIG Conference in Melbourne in 1999. They are also recorded in the FIG publication "Co-operation between FIG and the UN Agencies 2000–2003". This co-operation includes a close relationship to UN/DESA, UNCHS (Habitat), UNFAO, WTO, UNESCO and The World Bank. It further covers co-operation with regional offices like the Economic Commission for Africa, the Economic Commission for Europe (especially its Working Party on Land Administration, WPLA) and UNCHS Branch offices and activities like UN Regional Cartographic Conferences.
The co-operation is coordinated through Prof. Ian Williamson, Director, FIG/UN Liaison, but the responsibilities are shared between several actors, especially input from the Commissions has increased remarkably during the past two years. In the following only the highlights of the many activities after the General Assembly in Prague are listed.
2. The World Bank
Prof. Ian Williamson spent 14 weeks in the World Bank during 2000 as research fellow on study leave from the University of Melbourne. The objectives of the visit were to interact with World Bank officers involved in the Bank’s Thematic Land Policy Group with regard to trends and developments in land administration, investigate land administration "best practice", investigate the relationship between land administration and sustainable development; and to investigate capacity building in land administration projects.
During the period at the World Bank Prof. Williamson undertook a range of activities in the land administration area. All these have direct relevance to the work of FIG and the World Bank in land administration. He attended and presented e.g. a paper on "Land administration best practice in developing countries" at the World Bank sponsored International Conference on Land Policy Reform in Jakarta, Indonesia in July 2000. Paper is also published on the World Bank’s Thematic Land Policy Group. He further attended and presented a paper on "The UN-FIG Bathurst Declaration on Land Administration for Sustainable Development" at the 22nd Urban and Regional Data Management Symposium at the Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands, September 2000.
The visit to the World Bank resulted in closer contacts between FIG and the World Bank and during the visit Professor Williamson managed in establishing links between the FIG and relevant World Bank officers. With the support of the President of The World Bank, Mr Ian Johnson, Vice President for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, has agreed to make one of the keynote presentations at the FIG Congress in Washington, 2002.
The contacts to the World Bank resulted in the FIG contributing to the World Bank–USAID workshop on capacity building in land administration in El Salvador 27–28 November 2000. At this workshop FIG was represented by Professor John Parker, Chair of FIG Commission 1. His visit was also the first direct contact between FIG and the new affiliate members in El Salvador and Guatemala.
3. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO
FIG has been working for some years to establish formal relationship to UNFAO. This work is now closing to its end and the Memorandum of Understanding will be discussed during the visit of Professor Holger Magel, Vice President of FIG to UNFAO in Rome in March/April 2001. Hopefully the MoU could be signed by the General Assembly in Seoul.
UNFAO has shown interest for several projects with FIG including best practices and a joint publication on women’s access to land based on the FIG Commission 7 task force work. The English version of the UNFAO thesaurus was also completed in 2000.
Dr. Fritz Rembold represented FAO at the FIG working week in Prague giving his and Dr Jim Riddell’s paper "Farm Land Rationalisation and Land Consolidation: Strategies for Multifunctional Use of Rural Space in Eastern and Central Europe".
Dr. Paul Munro-Faure, Chair of FIG Commission 7 was appointed as the Director of the UNFAO Land Tenure Service in November 2000 after Dr. Riddell’s retirement.
4. United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)
Of all UN agencies FIG has perhaps the closest co-operation with the UNCHS (Habitat). During the past year the co-operation included following activities:
Future activities with UNCHS (Habitat) will include:
Other co-operation with UNCHS (Habitat) include e.g. FIG input in the Habitat Best Practices Database provided by Commission 3 working group. Discussions on projects and publications, especially on the field of security of tenure and women’s access to land, are under preparation. The topic "the rural dimension of sustainable urban development" on the agenda of the 19th Session of the Committee on Human Settlements will offer many options for FIG.
The current MoU between UNCHS (Habitat) and FIG will be reviewed so that a new Memorandum will include the input from the new Bureau and Commission work plans. It is planned to be signed during the FIG Congress 2002.
5. United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for the Americas
The United Nations Regional Cartographic Conferences for Asia and the Pacific and for the Americas are organised by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). UNDESA has been a long standing supporter of FIG have supported the preparation of the UN-FIG Bogor Declaration on Cadastral Reform (1996) and the UN-FIG Bathurst Declaration on Land Administration for Sustainable Development. The key contacts are Mr Hermann Habermann and Mr Amor Laaribi.
Professor Williamson attended the UNRCC for the Americas 22-26 January 2001 in his capacity as the Director, UN/FIG Liaison and presented a paper titled "Land administration, spatial data infrastructures and sustainable development"(which highlighted the UN-FIG Bathurst Declaration n Land Administration for Sustainable Development). Also in attendance were Mr Robert Foster, President of FIG, Professor John Parker, Chair of Commission 1 and Professor Stig Enemark, the former Chair of Commission 2. All three presented papers.
While the conference focussed on the Americas, and particularly Latin America, there were representatives globally from both developed as well as developing countries. In total 35 countries attended as well as ISPRS, IUGG and IAC. Several specialised agencies also attended. The Permanent Committee on SDI for the Americas (PC-IDEA) had a high profile and was very active. Overall the FIG had the highest profile of any NGO.
The most important outcome for FIG was the passing of the following resolution under the heading "Land administration and Spatial Data Infrastructures": "..further noting the generous offer of the Government of Mexico to host a special workshop on the integration of Spatial Data Infrastructure initiatives and cadastral activities, along with the 4th PI-IDEA Meeting and requests United Nations Secretariat, within available resources and with the support of the Permanent Committee on SDI for the Americas (PC-IDEA) and the International Federation of Surveyors, to provide support on the program of the inter-regional workshop to be hosted by Mexico to determine policies and programs for educational, training and professional capacity building that will ensure the development of appropriate land administration systems and associated infrastructures".
It has been agreed that FIG would be responsible for arranging this workshop in conjunction with the PC IDEA and the UN (including the World Bank). It has been agreed that Professor John Parker, Chair of FIG Commission 1 for Professional Standards and Practice, would take the leading role in ensuring the workshop happened. He will be assisted by Professor Stig Enemark and Professor Ian Williamson, Director, FIG/UN Liaison. Initial thoughts are to invite Government Ministers and senior bureaucrats to participate. It is proposed to hold the conference at the headquarters of the INEGI in Aguascalientes, in central Mexico 10-12 September 2002. John Parker and Stig Enemark will visit Mexico during July 2001 to prepare the workshop.
6. Permanent Committee for Geospatial Infrastructure for Asia and the Pacific (PCGIAP)
The PCGIAP is constituted under and reports to the four yearly UN Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific. At the 15th UNRCC for Asia and the Pacific and the PCGIAP in Kuala Lumpur in April, 2000, Commission 7 agreed to support the establishment of Working Group 3 – Cadastre. Professor Williamson represented the FIG at the conference. The workplan of the WG3 focusses on marine cadastres, benchmarking cadastral systems and supporting the development of a global land tenure map. The Chair of WG3 is Dato Majid Mohammed, the Malaysian delegate to Commission 7. The activities of the Working Group are continuing with input from Professor Williamson and Professor Don Grant (Australian delegate to Commission 7). Working Group 3 will meet in Penang, Malaysia in 11-12 September, 2001 and FIG will be represented by Professors Williamson and Grant.
7. Others activities or relevant developments
Prof. Ian Williamson
28 March 2001
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