12 August 2014

United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management Clears Path for Location-Based Standards, Enhancing Sustainable Development

12 August 2014
Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management

Clears Path for Location-Based Standards, Enhancing Sustainable Development

NEW YORK, 12 August (United Nations Statistics Division) — The fourth session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management was held from 6 to 8 August at United Nations Headquarters.

Ministers and senior leaders from United Nations Member States and international organizations participated for three days to discuss mapping and location issues that affect the world.

The use of authoritative geospatial information is beginning to change the way in which global challenges such as climate change, disease pandemics, food shortages, economic crises and disaster recovery situations are predicted, monitored and managed.  One example is where authoritative geospatial data is used by emergency services in rapidly changing environments, such as landslides, floods and earthquakes, enabling them to gain situational awareness of the disaster areas faster; saving more lives as a result.

The fourth session continued to move the Committee forward towards fulfilling its important mandate to enhance collaboration between Member States and to assist in making accurate, reliable and authoritative geospatial information readily available to support national, regional and global development and the important sustainable development agenda.

In his opening speech of the session, Wu Hongbo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said:  "It has only been three years since the Committee of Experts started its worthy journey that has already resulted in a number of early achievements.  The level of Member State participation has increased, as evidenced by the attendance figures over the past two sessions.  The number of work areas has grown, where expert and working groups that have been created; and your work has really drawn much wider attention and support from the international community."

Mr. Hongbo went on to say "the agenda for this session has important new and existing strategic issues progressed from the second and third sessions... these topics address the challenges at national, regional and global levels".

The Committee of Experts successfully dealt with strategic issues, such as the enhancement of the global geodetic reference frame; the identification of approaches for legal and policy frameworks, including privacy laws required to support the use of authoritative geospatial data; the development of global mapping for sustainable development; the establishment and implementation of geospatial standards; the linkage of geospatial information to statistics; and the definition of a shared statement of principles for the global geospatial community.  Throughout the event, the capacity development of countries, through training, advisory services and encouraging good governance of geospatial information management, was keenly supported.

Significantly, the event provided the foundation for a more sustainable global geodetic reference framework, which will ensure that more consistent locational positioning will be available across the globe.  This is especially important as precise positioning is being applied in virtually every aspect of people’s lives, from civil engineering and transportation, to sustainable development and emergency management.

For additional information on the fourth session, including the agenda and technical reports, please visit  The fourth session of the Committee was streamed live and is now available on-demand at

For further information please contact Gregory Scott, United Nations Statistics Division, at tel.: +1 212 963 8578, or e-mail:

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.