15 September 2020

United Nations implementation guide for integrated geospatial information framework

EuroGeographics has welcomed the adoption of the United Nations (UN) implementation guide for an Integrated Geospatial Information Framework Mick Cory(IGIF) but stresses the need for consistency in implementing country-level action plans to avoid duplicate efforts.

In our response to the global consultation on the IGIF implementation guide, we strongly suggest on-going engagement and collaboration includes other agencies active in geospatial globally as well as international donors. We believe that this will help ensure assistance continues to align with the IGIF, reducing the likelihood of activities overlapping whilst maintaining country level ownership and prioritisation of action plans.

EuroGeographics is pleased to have been able to play a part in the development of the guide by providing high-level support, helping with engagement and communication with our members, and in our ongoing role of providing the secretariat to the Executive Committee for Europe. In addition to offering our high-level support for the IGIF and Implementation Guide, we believe it is a tangible example of progress and are delighted that it has been adopted by the UN-GGIM Committee of Experts.

Our Secretary General and Executive Director, Mick Cory writes:

Our membership network covers the whole of geographic Europe, and consists of countries at different levels of maturity in the management of geospatial information. As a result, our members are not only active donors but also recipients of support for developing country level action plans.

For example, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands are active international donor countries and have begun to use the guide in their international aid work, such as in North Macedonia. Furthermore, a number of our members such as those from Albania, Montenegro, Ukraine and Belarus, have been assisted and participated in the development of country level action plans.

We also note with interest the potential for the IGIF generally, and the implementing guide in particular, to act as a benchmark for national spatial data infrastructures, both at country level, but also regionally.  For example, it has been used to align the national geospatial strategy in Ireland and more recently used as a guide for the development of the UK geospatial strategy. We also believe that it may be useful for framing the proposed analysis and review of the INSPIRE Directive as indicated in the recently published European Commission communication on an European Strategy for Data.  

These all provide interesting case studies and examples of further cooperation and collaboration.

The IGIF resonates with our vision of a society empowered by our members location data and services. We strongly encourage and support actions that inform and disseminate further the benefits of the integrated geospatial information frameworks empowered by the authoritative data of our members. We will continue to offer the use of our network to help inform, consult and encourage the use of the guide, improve collaboration and avoid duplication of effort.

Too many parts of the world lack fundamental data and/or their use that helps inform stakeholders and meet operational requirements for delivering policy: the role of basic fundamental data themes, even in Europe, is not well understood at a political level, nor is there sufficient awareness of how important good quality data is to achieving national and global goals.

This guide, to which many of our members have contributed, provides a framework within which not only national priorities for addressing this need can be identified and delivered, but also help enhance national data infrastructures to help monitor progress against the 2030 Agenda, and the achievement of the goals demonstrated.  Sustaining this momentum is essential.