The seventh session of the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) was successfully concluded at 5:00pm on Friday 4 August 2017 with the adoption of the report. The formal Committee session was opened by the Under-Secretary-General of DESA Mr. Liu Zhenmin, who welcomed almost 400 delegates from about 90 countries and international organizations active in the field of geospatial information management. The Committee elected its Bureau - United States (re-elected), China (re-elected), the Netherlands (new) and Cameroon (new). It considered 17 substantive agenda items, including: the contribution of regional committees and UN-GGIM networks to the global geospatial information agenda; strengthening geospatial information management; a global geodetic reference frame; land administration and management; national institutional arrangements; global fundamental geospatial data themes; geospatial information and services for disasters; national geospatial data and information systems; marine geospatial information; legal and policy frameworks, and implementing the 2030 Agenda through geospatial information and its integration with statistics.
Among the significant outcomes of the session were the establishment of two new Working Groups on Legal and Policy Frameworks, and Marine Geospatial Information; the adoption of a Strategic Framework on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters; the endorsement of an overarching framework for national institutional arrangements on geospatial information; and a collaborative agreement with the World Bank to implement a new initiative to assist low-income countries to develop their national geospatial information systems. The Committee also welcomed the convening of the fifth High Level Forum on United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management, hosted by INEGI of Mexico in Mexico City in November 2017, with an overarching theme "Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: The Role of Geospatial Technology and Innovation".
The formal Committee session was accompanied by a lively programme of side events, starting with a Caribbean Training Workshop on Sunday 30 July. A total of 30 side events were very well attended and are testimony of a vibrant professional community. One of the major side events was a Forum on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development "Where is the Data?" Attended by more than 200 participants, the Forum explored how we will measure, monitor and report progress on the 17 SDGs and their associated targets and indicators with geospatial information. A meeting of the Expanded Bureau of the Committee was also convened, which discussed among other things, mechanisms to implement the Strategic Framework of UN-GGIM for the 2017-2021 period.
One year on from the adoption of the ECOSOC resolution on "Strengthening institutional arrangements on geospatial information management", which broadened the mandate of the Committee of Experts, delegates expressed great satisfaction with the efforts to take practical and strategic actions to implement the resolution and strengthen geospatial information management for Member States. These actions include, developing frameworks, guides, norms, standards and methodological development along with normative strengthening and capacity development for geospatial information management; with a particular emphasis on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.