At half point into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2023 special report presented that many of the goals show little or no progress due to the climate crisis, wars, the world economy, or the durable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To reinvigorate the SDGs, a summit was organized during the General Assembly to gain a sense of hope and toward accelerating transformative action and progress towards the SDGs. At the event, High impact initiatives on data such as presented through "Data is the fuel that powers progress" showcased the power of location-based information, or geospatial information, that underpins most data applications for development.
Geospatial information and the insights it provides can inform decision-making, policy formulation, digital transformation agenda, and progress towards achieving the goals. As further showcased at a dedicated geospatial segment at SDG Summit, geospatial data can be used for virtually all SDGs and support better targeted operational programs, tracking progress, infrastructure development, disaster risk management, environmental conservation, climate resilience, health mapping, access to essential services (water, education, rescue), and cross-sectoral analysis.
Harnessing data, including geospatial, to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs is a priority, the current strategic focus of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) on strengthening and enhancing global and national geospatial information management arrangements comes at perfect time. The United Nations Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (UN-IGIF) provides the overarching strategy and the reference and mechanism to strengthen nationally integrated geospatial information management to address national priorities. UN-IGIF must now be operationalized with country-level Action Plans for accelerating the achievement of the SDGs.
The series of in-person expert consultation and meetings were held at the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) in Aguascalientes (Mexico), with expert representatives of Member States and relevant stakeholders to review and enhance the inclusive, integrated, country-owned and country led approach to strengthen and enhance nationally integrated geospatial information management arrangements, and its resources and capacities towards accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and national priorities. The series of meetings and consultations were organized in four segments including:
- An opening segment, or seminar, on enhancing geospatial information management arrangements and accelerating the achievements of the SDGs
- The Third plenary meeting of the High-level Group of the Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (HLG-IGIF)
- The meeting of the UN-GGIM Bureau with the Expanded Bureau; and
- A workshop on "Accelerating the Achievement of the SDGs" organized by the SDG Data Alliance
The series of meetings and activities led by the Bureau and co-Chairs of the HLG-IGIF with participating representatives of Member States, regional committees and thematic networks provided a platform for inclusive engagement, interactions and consultation on the implementation of the UN-IGIF and the work programme of the Committee of Experts. The meetings primarily addressed and set strategic directions and priorities for the HLG-IGIF and substantive work items under the Committee including the convening of the Seventh High-level Forum on United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management with the overarching theme "Accelerating Implementation; Achieving Resilience" toward ensuring the continued benefits of geospatial information to all Member States. The consultations and discussions also included considerations related to the contributions of the United Nations Global Geospatial Centres of Excellence and the need for coordination and coherence, the implementation of the UN-IGIF at the country-level, including in partnership with the SDG Data Alliance, the future geospatial information ecosystem, and the work on climate resilience under a new task team who will report into the new agenda item on geospatial information for climate and resilience at the Fourteenth session.