FIG Working Week 2000, 21-26 May, Prague

FIG Implementing Agenda 21

- A Presentation of a Draft FIG Statement on Sustainable Development

by Helge Onsrud

Key words: Surveying, Sustainable development, FIG.


1. Introduction

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992, the Nations of the World agreed on a the concept of sustainability as a framework for development on all levels of government. A concrete program for implementing sustainable development was formulated in the Agenda 21.

Agenda 21 from the Rio Conference challenges relevant non governmental organisations to take an active role in fostering the application of sustainable development in policies and activities throughout the World. Organising a profession that deals with land and water resources, property issues and geographic information for decision making, the challenge from Rio is indeed relevant for FIG.

As a response FIG has decided to develop a statement on how the International Federation of Surveyors will include sustainable development in it's activities and promote the concept of sustainable development throughout the community of surveyors World wide. A Task Force has been nominated to draft a FIG Agenda 21, to be finally adopted by FIG at it's annual meeting in 2001. A draft is prepared for discussions during the FIG Working Week in Prague.

2. Surveying, Surveyors and Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is frequently misunderstood to deal with the environment only. The Rio Conference underlines however that sustainability in respect to natural resources and the natural environment can only be achieved if it is combined with improving the social and economic situation for the poor people of the World. Hence sustainable development is founded in three pillars:

  • Protecting the natural environment
  • Improving the social situation for the poor
  • Combating poverty

Surveyors are involved in a broad spectre of issues of crucial importance to all the above aspects of sustainable development. To name only three:

  • Access to land and security of tenure as foundation for social and economic development.
  • Planning and management of land for sustainability in agriculture, for protecting biodiversity and for making sustainable urban and rural settlements
  • Providing geographic information for decision making

The aim of the statement is to state that FIG is committed to promote the concept of sustainable development in it's activities, and to formulate principle guidelines for the practical application of sustainable development in the surveying profession.

With the globalisation of markets and increasingly high public expectations of professional behaviour, ethics and their application in practice are of vital importance to surveyors. The paper outlines the theoretical basis for ethics, considers the necessary content of a code of ethics and, through the use of examples, examines a number of real-life ethical conflicts. The paper supports the work of FIG Working Group 1.2 (Business Practices).

  1. Introduction
  2. Theory
  3. Modern Day Interpretation of Theory
  4. Codes
  5. Applying the Codes
  6. Three Examples
  7. Unpacking the Examples
  8. Summary

Helge Onsrud
Chair of FIG Task Force on Sustainable Development
Statens Kartverk
P.O. Box 8120 Dep

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