UN-GGIM has been playing a pivotal role in making geospatial a true enabler since long. Realizing the gap that exists between the thoughts and actions, and to make the world more aware what all can be achieved through geospatial, it has been incessantly organizing workshops and sessions around the world, and United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) is another such intriguing attempt.
The theme of the Congress, ‘The Geospatial way for a better world’, focuses on strengthening national geospatial information management and systems, and national implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The program includes a high-level Opening Ceremony, Ministerial Dialogue, four Plenary Sessions and a comprehensive program of Parallel Sessions.
The Plenary Sessions will be dedicated to:
Sharing the Digital Economy
This will be an open discussion on improving economies moderated by journalist and geospatial advocate Mr. James Fallows, with panelists including Mr. Jack Dangermond, President of Esri, Mr. Robin Li, Co-founder of Baidu Inc, and Mr. William Priest, Director of the UK Geospatial Commission.
Attaining Sustainable Development
Moderated by Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), global development sector leaders including Dr. Virginia Burkett, Chief Scientist, Climate and Land Use Change, USGS, Ms. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa, the World Bank and Ministers will provide perspectives on new ways to progress sustainable development.
Building Smart Societies
This features global smart society leaders from developing and developed countries, such as Mr. Tan Boon Khai, CEO of Singapore Land Authority, Mr. Colin Bray, CEO of Ordnance Survey Ireland, and Dr. Bowen Zhou, Vice-President of JD.com, as they envision cities of the future as ‘smart’ data driven and ‘location’ enabled, and moderated by Ms. Dorine Burmanje, Co-Chair of UN-GGIM and Chair of the Executive Board of the Netherlands Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency.
Growing International Cooperation
Moderated by Ms. Ingrid Vanden Berghe, President of EuroGeographics, the Session will enable global development experts to discuss the growing need for, and leveraging of, international cooperation and partnerships, including the One Belt One Road initiative. This will include the China National Reform and Development Commission, Dr. Jian Liu, Chief Scientist, UN Environment, and Mr. Ross Comstock, Vice President, Information Systems and Technology, Kellogg Foundation.
Over 100 high-quality proposals to run parallel sessions were received by organizers. From these, the International Advisory Committee selected a majority of the proposals and developed a parallel session program. Each Parallel Session will examine one of 7 themes:
- Measuring and Monitoring the SDGs;
- Digital Economy, Location Analytics and Big Data;
- Smart, Resilient and Sustainable Societies;
- Growing Global Geospatial Capability and Capacity;
- Geospatial Innovation, Science and Technology;
- Digital Silk Road and International Partnerships; and
- Sustainable Development in Action.
There are several special sessions, one of which will be the Young Geospatial Professionals Summit, bringing the best of our younger and rising talents together to share their solutions in tackling challenges from poverty to resilience, gender and equity, scarce natural resources and climate change. This is an exciting opportunity for organizations to encourage and develop the next generation of leaders, and for the global community to benefit from the perspective and energy of those upon whose shoulders these challenges increasingly rest.
The Closing Session will include short summaries from the plenary, parallel and special sessions, and issuing of the Moganshan Declaration, a Declaration that will inform the global geospatial information management agenda for coming years.
On 22nd and 23rd November there will also be several formal meetings, including the 7th Plenary Meeting of UN-GGIM-AP and the annual meeting of the UN-GGIM Expanded Bureau.
Overall, the UNWGIC will be an exciting event that will bring together geospatial professionals from governments, non-governmental organizations, academic and research institutions and the private sector. As they interact, participate and discuss, many new avenues for using geospatial for the common good will definitely emerge.