New York, 16 November– To advance the innovative use of new technologies in data collection and mapping for sustainable development, more than 1,500 representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations, academic and research institutions, industry, and the private sector will gather in Deqing, China for the first United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress, set to kick off on 19 November.

The three-day Congress will provide a platform to discuss ways to enhance the communication, understanding, knowledge and application of geospatial information and enabling technologies to address specific local, regional and global challenges.

Geospatial information provides crucial information of what is happening where and when around the globe and can help the international community fight against global adversities; including hunger, poverty, water scarcity, climate change, diseases, among many other development challenges. Combining information on geographic location with statistics and other related ‘people’ data helps map social, economic, and environmental activities. Hence, it provides an invaluable tool to help chart the way to a better, and more sustainable world for all.

Under the overarching theme “The Geospatial Way to a Better World,” the Congress, referred to as “UNWGIC,” will primarily focus on strengthening national geospatial information management and systems, and national implementations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The discussions will zero in on the role of geospatial information in technological development, the development and strengthening of geospatial information management systems and capacities, and demonstrate the international cooperation among Member States, industry and civil society.

Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the Statistics Division of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said “bringing together the multi-stakeholder community around the world for geospatial information will enable the private sector, academia and civil society to have a dialogue on how to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The Congress will feature a high-level opening segment and four plenary sessions dedicated to sustainable development, sharing the digital economy, building smart societies, and growing international cooperation. In this regard, UNWGIC participants will have the opportunity to discuss and ensure that geospatial information has its widest and fullest utility in service of social, economic and environmental development. UNWGIC will also feature 35 parallel sessions; and four special sessions, implemented by a broad and diverse cast of moderators and speakers, including Jack Dangermond, President of Esri; and Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group China, who will focus on the use of technology innovations for the geospatial data ecosystem and its life-cycle.

A key special session of the UNWGIC will be the Young Geospatial Professionals Summit, seeking to incorporate young people’s perspectives and ambitions into the global efforts. It will bring to the table, young and rising talents in the geospatial information field, who will share their ideas and solutions as to how the youth of today are able to readily contribute to addressing global development challenges.

About the United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) 

UNWGIC is organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs with the support of the Government of China, through the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Zhejiang Provincial Government. The convening of UNWGIC arises out of the mandate from the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) to convene global forums to promote comprehensive dialogue on global geospatial information management with all relevant governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

For additional information and schedule, please visit:

Media contacts

Mark Iliffe,

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

+1 718 414 3631

Esra Sergi,

UN Department of Public Information

+1 917 367 8304

Helen Rosengren,

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

+1 212 963 9492