On 27 July 2016, and following a year-long consultative process on the comprehensive review of the work and operations of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a draft resolution (E/2016/L.28) entitled “Strengthening institutional arrangements on geospatial information management”. The draft resolution was facilitated and submitted by the Permanent Mission of Mexico, and co-sponsored by Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Introduced to ECOSOC by UN-GGIM Co-Chair, Mr. Rolando Ocampo, the resolution acknowledges the considerable achievements and progress made by the Committee of Experts over the past five years in the field of geospatial information management, and that the Committee 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.
The efforts of the Committee of Experts to streamline the work of the four current subsidiary bodies of ECOSOC in the field of geospatial information management have been particularly welcomed by Member States. These subsidiary organs are: the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management; the two UN-Regional Cartographic Conferences for Asia and the Pacific and the Americas respectively; and the UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names and its related Group of Experts.
Further, the establishment of a strong and operational regional infrastructure, composed of the five regional technical geospatial information committees that report to the Committee of Experts, recognize and encapsulate the importance of strengthening coordination, capacity building and coherence of global geospatial information management, especially in developing countries.
In adopting the draft resolution on strengthening institutional arrangements on geospatial information management, ECOSOC agreed to:
1. Broaden and strengthen the mandate of the Committee of Experts as the relevant body on geospatial information consisting of government experts, in a cost-neutral manner;
2. Cease forthwith the formal United Nations Regional Cartographic Conferences for Asia and the Pacific and the Americas, in order to streamline and avoid duplication, with the substantive mandates and obligations of the UNRCC-Asia Pacific and UNRCC-Americas assumed by the Committee of Experts at the global level, and their technical and substantive activities at the regional and national level assumed by UN-GGIM-AP and UN-GGIM: Americas, respectively;
3. Confirmed the inclusion of the annual session of the Committee of Experts within the regular United Nations calendar of conferences and meetings under the Council, inclusive of the provision of dedicated United Nations conference management services and full support for the annual session of the Committee;
4. Encourage Member States to provide voluntary contributions, and otherwise request the Secretary-General to try to mobilize additional resources, including through the means of trust funds and other sources, as appropriate, to support the activities of the Committee, and to cover the cost of participation of three government representative from each of the special situation country groupings in the Committee of Experts;
5. Change the item on the Council’s agenda from “Cartography” to “Geospatial Information” and invite thereunder the UN Group of Experts on Geographical Names and the UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names to continue to report on geographical names and the Committee on Global Geospatial Information Management to report on all matters relating to geography, geospatial information and related topics.
Noting the increasing role and relevance of the Committee of Experts and its acknowledged efforts in streamlining the subsidiary bodies of the Council on geospatial information matters, the Council requested that the Committee of Experts report back to the Council, no later than in 5 years’ time, on the implementation of the resolution as well as on its continued efforts to work with the Statistical Commission and with the entire United Nations system, and to integrate geospatial and statistical information systems and, in this context, examine the strengthening of the institutional arrangements of the Committee.
The UN-GGIM Secretariat would like to express its sincere appreciation for the broad participation and support of Member States, as well as the work of the UN-GGIM Bureau and each of the regional committee Chairs, and Mexico and its Permanent Mission in this productive negotiation process.
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