US: The UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) discussed implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during its seventh session. Senior officials and executives from national geospatial information and statistical authorities within Member States and international geospatial experts from across the globe welcomed the alignment of GGIM’s Strategic Framework with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and discussed ways to support the alignment.
In opening remarks to the seventh session of GGIM, Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, observed that the Committee’s agenda includes items that are “closely aligned” to the needs of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs. He noted that the broad and integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda requires innovative ways of tackling development challenges, and highlighted that the ways in which countries collect, process, and manage data need to undergo a similar revolution, to ensure the monitoring and evidence-based decision making for the SDGs.
Zhenmin explained that this requires coordinated efforts at the global, regional and national level to strengthen countries’ geospatial information management and ensure countries’ coherence of statistics, geospatial information, earth observation, environmental, and big data. He added that, through developing norms, standards, guides, and capacity building for geospatial management, GGIM can contribute to the creation of a new data ecosystem for sustainable development, as integrated information systems will ensure that all countries will be able to measure and monitor the state of the people and planet, while informing the decisions of citizens and governments with timely data.
Mexico expressed concern about mobilizing budgetary and extra-budgetary resources for implementing the proposed GGIM Strategic Framework and possible expansion related to the 2030 Agenda. Belgium suggested using existing associations and organizational structures to implement the Framework.
GGIM Europe welcomed the proposed Framework and noted that it is exploring ways in which it can collaborate with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) for its implementation. Japan and Spain recommended collaboration between the GGIM regional committees and the UN Regional Commissions on capacity building for developing countries to implement the Framework. The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the UN Economic Commission for the Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) also invited collaborations with the GGIM regional committees.
China, Japan and Singapore stressed the need to prioritize capacity building on geospatial information for developing countries in the Committee’s work. China added that all governments should make geospatial information the primary source of data for social and economic development.
The GGIM’s discussions on the SDGs follow the UN Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) adoption of Resolution E/RES/2016/27, on ‘Strengthening institutional arrangements on geospatial information management’ in July 2016. The Resolution recognizes that the Committee of Experts “is well placed” to assist Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the small island developing States (SIDS) Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway. The Resolution notes the need for sustainable funding and support for the Committee’s operations related to the SDGs and encourages Member States to provide voluntary contributions and consider expert secondments to support the Committee’s activities. The Resolution also requests the UN Secretary-General to try to mobilize additional resources, including through trust funds and other sources.
Following the adoption of the Resolution, in December 2016, the Secretariat tabled the UN-GGIM ‘2017-2021 Strategic Framework’ (available as Annex to the Resolution) at the Expanded Bureau meeting, as an initial starting point for discussion towards a GGIM strategic plan. The framework is designed as an overarching global policy framework for the GGIM to communicate and reference the importance of integrating geospatial information into global development policies, and to contribute to national implementations of the 2030 Agenda. The Framework explicitly notes that the UN-GGIM is “anchored” by the 2030 Agenda and notes that the Committee will help with providing:
- Recommendations for sound national policies, legal frameworks and institutional arrangements;
- Fndamental authoritative data and information;
- Agreed standards, methods, guides, and frameworks;
- Principles on geospatial information and open data;
- Recommendations for the integration and interoperability of national information systems;
- Information sharing and knowledge transfer; and
- Building global and local capability
The seventh session of the UN-GGIM convened from 2-4 August 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. [GGIM Website] [ECOSOC Resolution: Strengthening institutional arrangements on geospatial information management]