UN-SPIDER participated in the 3rd High Level Forum of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM). The forum took place in Beijing, China, from 22 to 24 October 2014 and focused on "Sustainable Development with Geospatial Information". The event was held in collaboration with the Government of China through its National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASG).
Mr Shirish Ravan, Head of UN-SPIDER Beijing Office, was a panelist in a session on tools and methods for climate change and disaster mitigation. He presented on the topic "Challenges in using Space based Information - Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Perspective".
Bringing all stakeholders together, the Third High Level Forum addressed the role of geospatial information in the post-2015 development agenda, and current critical sustainable development matters such as: mitigating and managing climate change and disasters; sustainable cities and human settlements; science, technology, and innovation to measure and monitor progress; and working together across borders and regions. The High Level Forum offered the opportunity for the global geospatial information community to pay particular attention to the critical roles of geospatial information as tools that are able to integrate the three pillars (economic, social, environmental) of sustainable development.
While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be negotiated at the political level, their means of implementation will rely heavily on the availability of human and physical geography data, much of it likely to be new data, to measure and monitor change and progress. A number of practical targets and indicators will eventually be required, and will need to be well defined (accurate, reliable and understandable), measurable over time, cost effective and clearly and easily communicated. As the SDGs evolve, there will be a need to create a network of global data and information that is supported by the best science, tools, and technology to analyze and model data, create maps and detect and monitor change over time in a consistent and standardized manner. Much of this will be geospatial information.
UN-GGIM, as the peak inter-governmental mechanism under the United Nations, aims at playing a leading role in setting the agenda for the development of global geospatial information and to promote its use to address key global challenges. It provides a forum to liaise and coordinate among Member States, and between Member States and international organizations.