The Working Group met in the context of having being established by the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management at its seventh session in August 2017 to substantively address marine geospatial information with terms of reference that include issues related to inland water bodies and waterways with an overarching proviso to focus on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular, Sustainable Development Goal 14 - Life below water and to an extent, Goal 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Marine geospatial information is needed to support the management, administration and governance of the oceans, seas, coastal zones, inland waterways and water bodies to meet the demand for critical analysis when questions arise pertaining to the governance, management and coordination of inland water bodies and waterways, coastal zones, seas, oceans and its resources. The Working Group through its functions ensures that marine geospatial information is readily available as part of the reliable, timely and accessible location-based information in helping Member States develop strategic and development priorities. implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, make decisions, and measure and monitor outcomes, recognizing that once these geospatial data are created, they can be used many times to support a multiplicity of applications.
The first expert meeting of the Working Group was ably hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea through Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The meeting as participated by 42 expert representatives from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States of America, International Hydrographic Organization, Open Geospatial Consortium and UN-GGIM: Private Sector Network. The meeting was officially opened by Mr. Kang Yong-seok, Director General of Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency. In his opening address, he expressed KHOA's delight to host the inaugural face-to-face meeting of the Working Group and stressed the need to work together to ensure sustainable development and growth. He also called for intensified efforts to comprehensively address issues and challenges in the coastal and marine environments.
The conducive meeting environment, great hospitality and collegial spirit allowed for open and frank exchanges and interactions, debates and discussions, sharing of knowledge, circumstances, practices and experiences that allowed the Working Group to work together and to conclude the meeting with good outcomes. The meeting, among others, agreed that marine geospatial information must be made available, accessible and discoverable for a multiplicity of purposes within collaborative information systems nationally to deliver reliable, timely and quality information necessary for citizens, organizations and governments to build accountable actions, make informed and evidenced-based policies and decisions.
The meeting expressed heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Korea, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, and Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency for a very hospitable, comfortable and conducive meeting environment, and to colleagues and staff at Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency for their professional and tireless efforts to deliver this inaugural face-to-face meeting of the Working Group.