UN-GGIM: Europe Plenary Meeting Held in Belgrade

The United Nations initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM: Europe) second plenary meeting was held on October 7th, 2015, in Belgrade.

The meeting was organized by the UN-GGIM: Europe Secretariat, EuroGeographics and the Republic Geodetic Authority, who hosted the gathering. Directors of European Mapping and Cadastral Agencies, representatives of statistical offices and representatives of the key European organizations and bodies had participated in the meeting.

The meeting was opened by the Standing Coordinator of United Nations in Serbia and Standing Representative of the United Nations Development Program, Irena Vojackova-Sollorano. In her introduction, she noted that the awareness of geoinformation importance for environment management grows. Climate changes cause natural disasters that force migration of citizens. The United Nations Development Program supports the concept of free data access (open data) and sharing geoinformation for the purposes of natural disaster protection. A good example of practical application of spatial data is the last year’s floods in Balkans.

Mr. Bengt Kjellson, Chair of the UN-GGIM Europe Executive Committee had presided working part of the meeting. Stefan Schweinfest, Director of United Nations Statistics Division had addressed delegates by video-link from New York. Keynote address was given by Linus Bengtsson, Executive Director of Swedish NGO Flowminder, aiding in public health improvement. He presented numerous examples of using spatial data for monitoring propagation of infectious diseases and analysis of situation based on demographic data.

Conclusions of GGIM5 had been reviewed, which was held in August 2015, in New York, noting the importance of Sustainable Development Agenda after 2015 and the importance of spatial information to alleviate the influence of climate changes for crisis management. According to the Resolution of United Nations, passed early this year, global geodetic reference framework is the foundation for sustainable development, thus it is necessary to provide for stable financing.

Representatives of the working groups for harmonization and definition of reference data had reported on status of the activities performed. They noted the need to harmonize fundamental data on national, European and global level, as well as the need for permanent development of cooperation between statistical and cadastral and mapping agencies, aiming and integrating demographic and other statistical data with statistical information.

During the final session of the meeting, conclusions were considered and working plan for 2016 was adopted.

The United Nations initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM: Europe) was established on October 1, 2014. The UN-GGIM: Europe consists of delegates from the European United Nations member states, in charge of geospatial and statistical data