Global Geodesy Forum

The Global Geodesy Forum was opened by His Excellency Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean and UN-GGIM Global Geodesy Ambassador whom, in his opening address, reiterated that: "The importance of having accurate measurements cannot be overstated. They alone lead to the sound information required by decision-makers and countries in order to make evidence-based decisions in relation to global change, including climate mitigation, adaptation and preparedness. Accurate measurements of changes in sea level, in ice cover, the atmosphere, and in the Earth's crust: this is fundamentally what Geodesy is about." He also reminded the audience of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 69/266, 'A Global Geodetic Reference Frame for Sustainable Development'. He emphasized that this is "the first UN resolution to recognize the importance of a globally coordinated approach to Geodesy. The resolution emphasized that no one country could do the job alone and called for greater multilateral cooperation on Geodesy to ensure the development, sustainability and advancement of the Global Geodetic Reference Frame."

The Forum, appropriately convened to celebrate Earth Day, highlighted the important role geodesy has in providing safer and more resilient communities, in particular, to measure the cause and effect of sea level rise, storm surges and tsunami. Furthermore, the Forum described the economic benefits enabled by an accurate and reliable Global Geodetic Reference Frame, and the crucial role geodesy plays in integrating data to inform progress and achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals. It highlighted the contribution and use of geodesy for the wellbeing of persons 'on-the-streets' in their everyday lives. An important message was that geodesy suffers from being so fundamental to our lives, in a similar way to electricity, that it is often ignored and under-appreciated, which results in it also being under-resourced. Countries need to work together to sustain the geodesy value chain, which is at considerable risk of degradation.

Hosted by the UN-GGIM Subcommittee on Geodesy, the virtual Global Forum was attended by more than 450 participants and continued the discussion and work towards a more sustainable Global Geodetic Reference Frame.

Global Geodesy Forum - Provisional agenda

Forum Moderator:
  • Mr. Nicholas Brown
  • Co-Chair, UN-GGIM Subcommittee on Geodesy

Introductions and setting the context
  • Mr. Nicholas Brown
  • Co-Chair, UN-GGIM Subcommittee on Geodesy

Opening address - The Power of Where: The Value of Geodesy to Society
  • His Excellency Ambassador Peter Thomson
  • UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean

For safer and more resilient communities
  • Dr Tulu Besha Bedada
  • Director General, Geospatial Information Institute, Ethiopia

The economic benefits from investment in geodesy
  • Ms. Alison Rose
  • Chief of Place, Space and Communities Division, Geoscience Australia

Lifestyle improved by geodesy
  • Prof Paul Becker
  • President, Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy, Germany

For effective land management
  • Ms. Paloma Merodio Gómez
  • Vice President, National Institute of Statistics and Geography, Mexico

Looking to the future and concluding remarks
  • Mr. Nicholas Brown
  • Co-Chair, UN-GGIM Subcommittee on Geodesy

Annual sessions


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