The Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) adopted the Implementation Guide of the United Nations Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (UN-IGIF), at its tenth session, as a mean of strengthening national geospatial information management arrangements within and across Member States supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in developing countries. In making decision at its tenth session, the Committee of Experts also endorsed the establishment of a dedicated high-level group of experts, with balanced geographical representation and expertise, as a mechanism to provide strategic leadership, coordination, and oversight to ensure the sustained success of the UN-IGIF.

At its Thirteenth Session, the Committee of Experts welcomed the report of the High-level Group of the Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (HLG-IGIF) and congratulated the High-level Group for its continued efforts to advance the role and relevance of the United Nations Integrated Geospatial Information Framework through a significant range of activities, including broadening work group membership, developing guidance materials, translating the Framework suite of documents, and participating broadly in webinars, workshops, conferences and events to promote and advance the Framework.

The HLG-IGIF Strategic Plan has six strategic goals. In 2021, the group prioritized three goals for immediate action: Improve Communications, Strengthen Capacity Development, and Mobilize Sustainable Funding. At its First Plenary Meeting 26-28 April 2023, the HLG-IGIF approved a Plan of Work for the prioritized goals and created three work groups to begin advancing the work. Since then, the HLG-IGIF has made significant progress against the three prioritized goals. The HLG-IGIF is implementing its Strategic Plan and Plan of Work to provide the strategic leadership, promotion, coordination, planning and oversight to successfully sustain the uptake and implementation of the UN-IGIF globally. The UN-IGIF now serves as a key umbrella framework for many of the activities under the UN-GGIM program of work, including its regional committees, thematic groups, and functional groups, playing a pivotal role in strengthening nationally integrated geospatial information management, guiding transformational change, and advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in all countries.

This Third Plenary Meeting allowed the HLG-IGIF together with the Expanded Bureau of UN-GGIM and invited participants to engage, interact, review progress, address implementation challenges at the country-level, and consider the remaining three goals and the work group structure needed to successfully move forward. The HLG-IGIF also considered the progress, challenges, and support needed by its work groups, as well as by regional committees of UN-GGIM, and Member States in advancing the UN-IGIF. The HLG-IGIF identified key areas to prioritize as it moves forward to incorporate the remaining three strategic goals into its Plan of Work and work group structure for 2024.

Forty-five participants, including expert representatives from sixteen Member States, chairs of the thematic networks of the geospatial societies and private sector, and other international organizations experts, met for a day and half for constructive discussions in the meeting room of Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) Headquarters in Aguascalientes, Mexico. During the meeting, the HLG-IGIF members discussed the realignment of their strategic goals and actions with the current activities of the work groups. The HLG-IGIF also discussed the importance and sustainability of the leadership of its work groups. In this context, the HLG-IGIF noted and considered the role of the Secretariat of the Committee of Experts, the UN-GGKIC, the SDG Data Alliance, and the Thematic Networks in assisting with its activities and tasks. The Co-Chairs of the HLG-IGIF decided to invite, twice each year, the Chairs of the Regional Committees and the Head of UN-GGKIC to its scheduled virtual meetings, to ensure a coherent and coordinated approach to support and sustain the implementation of the UN-IGIF at the country-level. Finally, the Co-Chairs started to plan its Fourth Plenary Meeting, to be held on the margins of the Fourteenth Session of the Committee in August 2024, and welcomed the offer from Saudi Arabia to host its Fifth Plenary Meeting in Saudi Arabia, in February 2025.

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