Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Opening Address Second High Level Forum on Global Geospatial Information Management

Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished Delegates,

On behalf of the United Nations, I join the Qatari Government in welcoming you to the Second High-Level Forum on Global Geospatial Information Management, or GGIM. I was privileged to have experienced, first hand, Qatari hospitality during my recent visit last year. So I am confident you will have an enjoyable meeting.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Qatar for hosting this Second High-Level Forum, in partnership with the United Nations. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to bring this important discussion to this dynamic region.

Your meeting provides an opportunity to build on the outcomes of the first global forum – which took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea in 2011 – as well as the two sessions of the UN Committee on GGIM, held in 2011 and 2012.

Your discussions today – on a number of key issues – will shape the agenda for the future. Particularly, for the third session of UN-GGIM, to be held in the United Kingdom this July.

A strong National Geospatial Information System provides a solid basis for each country to address national location-specific development issues, including disasters and humanitarian needs. Each country will need to think through this process, drawing on the best practices that have been discussed here.

Through UN-GGIM, countries are now re-thinking a sustainable operating model for the global geodetic reference system. This system is critical, as the world is in greater demand for high precision positioning services. The UN offers a unique platform for this global issue to be discussed. I understand that a resolution will be tabled in due course at the United Nations General Assembly to officially recognize the global geodetic frame. I commend this major achievement.

The Rio+20 outcome document has called for greater use of geospatial information in sustainable development. A Working Group has been formed on this issue, which will work towards reconfiguring the current Global Map capability. We need to make it more relevant.

In addition, there will be a new emphasis on Urban Hazard Mapping. For this, we will study the risk of natural disasters to urban populations, and better mitigation strategies. These efforts will help bring to bear the power of geospatial information to the sustainable development agenda.

Finally, we will look at developing core global reference datasets. We will identify the most important reference datasets, and work to improve them. We will work with all partners on this.


I am pleased that representatives of Member States are also joined at this Forum by international partners, including the private sector. This High-Level Forum offers a unique platform to have a free flowing and open dialogue across stakeholders. UN-GGIM’s role is to help strengthen national systems and foster common practices. Let’s bring the public and private sectors together to build a better system of harnessing the power of geospatial information.

I wish you a productive meeting over the next three days.

Thank you.