The United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management had recognized that to sustainably manage that significant portion of the Earth's surface that is covered by water - lakes, rivers and tributaries, deltas, seas, and oceans and all that it has to offer, governments will need to ensure that marine geospatial information management is fully integrated within the wider national digital information ecosystem for evidence-based policy development and decision making. Well managed and integrated marine geospatial information program nationally will be a necessity to meet the challenges of governance, planning, managing and coordinating resources, transportation, coastal resilience, recreation, and other aspects of the blue economy.
The Operational Framework for Integrated Marine Geospatial Information Management (UN-IGIF-Hydro), a two-part document to leverage the guidance offered in the United Nations Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (UN-IGIF), provide practical guidance for countries to ultimately working towards the vision of the integrating marine geospatial information into the global geospatial information ecosystem and to enhance the ability to make informed decisions to support the preservation and management of the marine resources. At its thirteenth session in August 2023, the Committee of Experts, in decision 13/111, adopted the Operational Framework for Integrated Marine Geospatial Information Management comprising Part One - The Strategic Overview, and Part Two - The Strategic Pathways, and encouraged the Working Group to provide practical support for countries to extend the nine strategic pathways of the UN-IGIF into the hydro domain and the integration of marine geospatial information into the broader national geospatial information ecosystem. The Committee emphasized that it was strategically crucial for any national hydro or marine programmes to increase their value and recognition within the broader national geospatial information management programmes to support national development priorities, including the ability to address climate-related challenges and improve resilience, the land-sea interface, coastal zones and the pressing need to monitor sea level rise, recognizing their importance in mainstreaming the Blue Economy and achieving sustainable coastal resilience and development.
The Working Group plays a leading role in marine geospatial information policies at the global level to support the wellbeing of billions of inhabitants reliant on sustainable inland water bodies and waterways, coastal zones, seas and oceans. The Working Group provides a forum for dialogue and coordination among Member States, and between Member States and relevant international organizations including the International Hydrographic Organization and the United Nations system to enhance global cooperation, advocate and improve the availability and accessibility of marine geospatial information. The Committee of Experts further noted that the Working Group would convene its sixth expert meeting with an international seminar in Indonesia in March 2024, jointly with the fifteenth meeting of the International Hydrographic Organization Marine Spatial Data Infrastructures Working Group and the 2024 meeting of the Open Geospatial Consortium Marine Domain Working Group.