FIG PUBLICATION NO. 23
FIG Agenda 21
Agenda for implementing the concept of Sustainable Development in the
activities of the International Federation of Surveyors and its member
A World in Crises
Development – a Policy for the Change
Why FIG Agenda 21?
FIG Agenda 21
Chapter 1 – Preamble
Chapter 2 – Access to Land and Security of Tenure
Chapter 3 – Planning and Management of Land and
Chapter 4 – Geographic Information for Decision
Chapter 5 – Developing the Surveying Profession
Chapter 6 – Committing FIG and its Member
Chapter 7 – Collaboration with United Nations,
National Governments and Non Governmental Organisations
Sustainable Development – A Challenge and a Responsibility for Surveyors
ORDERS OF PRINTED VERSIONS
The International Federation of Surveyors FIG decided at
the its Congress in Brighton in 1998 to form a Task Force to prepare an FIG
statement on how the Federation will implement the concept of sustainable
It was agreed to title the statement "FIG Agenda 21",
referring to the report from the United Nations 1992 Rio Conference on
Environment and Development which resulted the Agenda 21. The statement
shall, however, not be limited only to reflect Agenda 21. It shall as well,
inter alia, reflect the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human
Settlements (HABITAT II) held in Istanbul in 1996 and its result the Habitat
Agenda with the Global Plan of Action. Further it is, in part,
implementation of the Memorandum of understanding between FIG and UNCHS
(Habitat), the Bogor and Bathurst Declarations, and the existing1991 FIG
statement on sustainable development.
Dealing with surveying, planning and management of land and water
resources, laws and systems needed for access to land and security of
tenure, and with geographic information in all its aspects, the surveying
profession is deeply involved in issues of profound importance for
sustainable development. Surveyors' training and performance can have a
significant impact on the implementation of sustainable development. The aim
of the FIG Agenda 21 is to show that the Federation is committed to do its
utmost to develop the surveying profession and the individual surveyor to
act in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.
FIG is further committed to collaborate with all relevant
United Nations agencies and with other non-governmental organisations in
developing a mutual understanding of how surveying in all its aspects, as
well as related techniques, products and services, best can contribute to
the implementation of Agenda 21 world-wide.
The FIG Agenda 21 has been prepared by a Task Force that
was chaired by Helge Onsrud (Norway). The members of the Task Force
were Karin Haldrup (Denmark), Commission 3, Helmut Brackmann
(Germany), Commission 8, Paul van der Molen (Netherlands), Commission
7, Michael Yovino-Young (USA), Commission 9, Peter Byrne
Ian Williamson (Australia) and Jerome Ives (USA), Vice
President of FIG. On behalf of the Federation it is my great pleasure to
express our thanks to Helge Onsrud, the Task Force members and all that have
contributed to this publication for their excellent work.
The FIG Agenda 21 has been adopted by the General
Assembly of the Federation at its meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea in May
Robert W. Foster
President of FIG
Almost all societies of the world are currently undergoing
change at a pace never observed before. The world's population increased
from less than three billion at the beginning of the last century, to pass
six billion at the start of the new millennium. Developing countries are
experiencing a massive migration to urban areas, where poor people are
increasingly concentrated in slums and squatter settlements in
ever-expanding cities. Since 1950 the global urban population has jumped
from 750 million to more than 2,500 million people. It is estimated that, in
developing countries, 88 per cent of the population growth during the next
25 years will be in urban settlements. Within 30 years, two thirds of the
world's population will live in cities. The urban growth is mostly informal
and unplanned, often resulting in people settling in dangerous locations.
Already half the world's population lives within 60 kilometres from the
coastline, one-third of which is at high risk from degradation brought about
by human activity.
In many countries fresh water availability is approaching
crisis point. 1.3 billion people do not have access to clean water and it is
estimated that five million die annually from diseases caused by water
Large areas of land for food production are lost annually to
erosion and urban growth. The human-induced depletion of the ozone layer and
climate change has the potential to cause major problems to health and
settlements in many parts of the world.
The last thirty years have witnessed a growing understanding
that the earth cannot sustain current levels of pollution and utilisation of
natural resources. Human behaviour and policies must change radically and
the pressure on the world's natural environment must be reduced
At the same time 25 per cent of the world's population lives
in deep poverty. 1.3 billion people live on less than 1 US dollar per day;
2.6 billion do not have access to basic sanitation. It is estimated that
three quarters of a billion people not receive enough food. One billion
people living in urban areas lack access to adequate shelter and more than
one billion of the city dwellers are without secure tenure to houses or
It has become widely recognised that general change within
societies – development – throughout the world must be oriented
towards behaviour and actions that do not destroy the natural environment.
Within this framework, it is also generally agreed that changes in behaviour
and actions must be expressed in policies that simultaneously improve living
conditions for the poor peoples. Removing barriers that keep people in
poverty is important for the protection of the environment; but it is also a
human challenge and responsibility in itself.
The world faces two major challenges - protecting the
natural environment and, at the same time, removing poverty.
Responding to the above challenges, national governments, at
the United Nations 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development,
commonly agreed on the concept of Sustainable Development as a
general principle for policies and actions in a large number of fields and
sectors of societies.
Sustainable development was defined by the World Commission
on Environment and Development in their report on "Our Common Future" as
"development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
Expressed in a more direct way, policies for sustainable
development contains three pillars of equal importance:
The Rio Conference agreed a program for the implementation
of sustainable development in the twenty-first century. Known as
Agenda 21, this focuses, inter alia, on the strategic
importance of an integrated approach to the planning and management of land.
It underlines the importance of sustainable human settlements and the proper
management of land for agriculture and rural development. It stresses the
link between land management and the protection of bio-diversity, forests
and water resources. It emphasises the need for reliable information for
decision-making. It calls for a stronger role for non-governmental
organisations as partners in sustainable development. It also calls for
support from national governments, regional and local authorities and the
non-governmental sector, all of whom are encouraged to formulate and adopt
local agendas for their respective fields of responsibility.
Since that point of departure, a number of international
events have deepened and widened the understanding of the profound
importance to humanity of achieving sustainability. The report from the 1996
UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) focuses, inter alia,
on the major challenge of fast-growing cities in developing countries - a
challenge to be mastered through proper planning and land management, as
well as through security of tenure as an engine for social and economic
improvements. The World Food Summit (Rome, 1996) underlined the importance
of good management of land in providing food for the rapidly growing world
population. The World Summit on Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995) and
the World Women's Conference (Beijing, 1995) refer, inter alia, to
the importance of giving women, indigenous people and vulnerable groups
equal access to land and security of tenure.
However, in spite of conferences and declarations, in many
parts of the world the developments have been for the worse. The need for a
change in attitudes towards sustainable development is greater than ever
before. This is a challenge to all - to governments at all levels, to
non-governmental organisations and to each individual, whether a
professional or a non-professional person.
FIG recognises that professions play an important role in
implementing sustainable development. The surveying profession plays its
part through, inter alia, the planning and management of land, sea and water
resources; the surveying and registration of real property; and the handling
of geographic information.
Even before Rio, the International Federation of Surveyors
expressed its support for the concept of sustainability as a principle
guideline for development. At its annual meeting in Beijing in 1991 the
organisation unanimously adopted the "FIG Statement on Sustainable
Development - a Challenge and a Responsibility for Surveyors".
During the following decade FIG translated its support into
a number of actions. Surveying for sustainable development has been a focus
of FIG congresses, annual meetings and commission gatherings. FIG’s
collaboration with the United Nations has been widened and deepened. During
the UN Habitat II Conference in 1996 FIG organised, in collaboration with
the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements and the International
Federation for real Estate (FIABCI), one of the ten Habitat II Dialogues for
the 21st Century – the Dialogue on Land and Rural-Urban Linkages
– which provided valuable input to the Habitat Agenda. A joint UN-FIG
meeting was held in Indonesia in 1996, resulting in the Bogor Declaration on
Cadastral Reform The collaboration between UN and FIG in promoting
sustainable development was further developed in a workshop in Australia in
1999 which prepared the Bathurst Declaration on Land Administration for
Sustainable Development. Co-operation between FIG and the United Nations
Centre for Human Settlements UNCHS(Habitat) was crystallised into a
Memorandum of Understanding in 1997 with a second extension, covering the
period 2000–2003 being signed in May 2000.
These and other events have widened the understanding of the
current and potential future contribution of the surveying profession to
sustainable development, both inside the profession and within the relevant
United Nations agencies. The aim of this statement is to present this
understanding in a concentrated form to a wider circle of parties and
persons, and to present a number of guiding principles for the
implementation of sustainable development within both FIG itself and the
entire surveying profession.
By adopting the FIG Agenda 21, FIG confirms its
support for the concept of sustainable development, and renews its program
for contributing to the implementation of sustainability in policies and
actions on all levels of society.
1.1 We, the International Federation of Surveyors, recognise
that the world is confronted with a growing disparity between and within
nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger and ill health and a continuing
deterioration of the ecosystems on which humanity depends for its well
being. We recognise that the only path forward to a better world for current
and future generations is through integration of environment and development
concerns. We understand that the concept of sustainable development is
rooted in three pillars of equal importance:
1.2 We recognise Agenda 21, adopted by the 1992 UN
Conference on Environment and Development, as a foundation for plans,
policies and actions for sustainable development. We acknowledge that other
international conferences, including the UN Conference on Human Settlements
(Habitat II 1996), the UN Food Summit (Rome, 1996), the UN World Summit on
Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995) and the UN World Women's Conference
(Beijing, 1995) also address important social, economic and environmental
issues. They include components of the sustainable development agenda, for
which successful implementation depends on actions at local, national and
international levels. We note that in 2000 the United Nations Centre for
Human Settlements launched the Global Campaign for Secure Tenure and that
the UN Commission for Sustainable Development has made security of tenure a
priority matter. Both of these address issues in which the surveying
profession has an important role to play.
1.3 We recognise that sustainable development can only be
achieved through a global partnership. Successful implementation of Agenda
21 is first and foremost a responsibility of national governments, supported
by international co-operation and in particular by the relevant agencies of
the United Nations. However, we note that Agenda 21 also calls for the
broadest possible public participation and the active involvement of
non-governmental organisations. We fully share the opinion that
non-governmental organisations, at the local as well as the international
level, can and should make a significant contribution to promoting and
implementing sustainable development.
1.4 The exploitation and management of the world's natural
resources are of crucial importance for sustainable development. In
particular the good management of land, sea and water resources will be a
prerequisite in ensuring sufficient food for current and future generations
and in protecting bio-diversity. Proper planning and management of human
settlements, both in urban and rural areas, are critical components in
combating poverty and ill health and for improving the general social and
economic situation of the poor.
1.5 It is widely recognised that access to land and security
of tenure are of profound importance in improving the situation of the poor,
who frequently live in informal settlements without recognised rights to
shelter or to land that can provide food for basic needs. The fast-growing
number of urban dwellers in non-regularised settlements in developing
countries poses a tremendous challenge in combating poverty, ill health and
illiteracy. In addition to keeping people in poverty, the unjust
distribution of rights to land leads to violence and is the cause of major
conflict in several developing countries.
1.6 The movement of people to urban areas in developed
countries is correspondingly straining many of natural resources. Inter
alia good agriculture land is being used for housing and local sources
of potable water are being destroyed.
1.7 Much of the world’s commerce depends on the shipment of
goods by sea and their subsequent transhipment to land-based modes of
transportation through ports. This global activity creates a high
environmental risk in and around the land/sea interface. Hydrographic
knowledge is fundamental to the development of safe, efficient and
sustainable marine navigational infrastructure. Systems relating to
navigational aids and vessel traffic control are also required for safe
marine transportation. When integrated marine navigation systems are
implemented, the cost of transporting goods will be reduced and the risk of
adverse environmental impact will be lessened.
1.8 Plans, policies and actions for sustainable development
depend on access to appropriate information. Issues concerning sustainable
development are frequently of a spatial nature and Chapter 40 of Agenda 21
reflects this when it underlines the importance of access to geographic
information. Mapping, aerial photography, remote sensing from satellites,
hydrographic surveying, and geographic information systems and related
communication technologies are powerful tools in raising public awareness
and in helping decision-makers at all levels.
1.9 The surveying profession deals with the surveying,
planning and management of land and marine resources, with laws and systems
needed for access to land and for security of tenure, and with geographic
information in all its aspects. This makes it deeply involved in issues of
profound importance for sustainable development. The way surveyors are
trained and act can have a significant impact on the implementation of
1.10 Organising surveyors from all over the world, the
International Federation of Surveyors is committed to do its utmost to
develop the surveying profession and to help the individual surveyor to act
in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. It is also
committed to collaborate with all relevant agencies of the United Nations
and with other non-governmental organisations in developing a mutual
understanding of how surveying in all its aspects, as well as related
techniques, products and services, can best contribute to the implementation
of Agenda 21 world-wide.
1.11 The Chapters below formulate principles and programmes
to which the surveying profession should adhere to help implement
sustainable development. Chapters 2, 3 and 4 deal with the three main areas
of activities where the profession can make a significant and tangible
contribution. Chapter 5 seeks to develop the surveying profession to enable
it to respond ethically and with professional competence to the challenge of
Agenda 21. Chapter 6 shows how FIG itself will focus internally on
sustainable development issues and how its member associations can and
should contribute. Chapter 7 describes FIG’s collaboration with the United
Nations and with other non-governmental organisations in respect to
sustainable development issues.
Access to Land and Security of Tenure
Basis for action
2.1 Land resources are the basis for human life: they
provide soil, energy, water and the opportunity for all human activity. It
is estimated that more than half the people in the developing countries are
still effectively excluded from ownership or other types of secure rights to
land for shelter or for producing food to cover basic needs. It is generally
agreed that lack of access to land and secure tenure severely hamper social
and economic development in these countries. Only a few countries exhibit
true land shortages: consequently it is the current distribution of secured
land holdings that hamper development. On the other hand, widespread and
secure rights to real property are common among the richer nations of the
world. Access to land and security of tenure are strategic prerequisites
for the provision of shelter for all and for the development of sustainable
human settlements affecting both urban and rural areas. They are also a way
of breaking the vicious circle of poverty. (Habitat Agenda, paragraph
2.2 The effect on economic development of being able to turn
assets kept in fixed property into liquid capital is increasingly
recognised. In developed countries mortgages on private homes are the single
most important source for raising capital for investment. Contrary to this,
developing countries in general have not adopted laws and systems that
facilitate mortgages, effectively making it impossible for people to convert
their savings in property into capital for investment. Yet poor people in
developing countries in total possess tremendous assets that could be turned
into capital they had secure tenure and access to systems for making
transactions in property safely and at affordable costs.
2.3 Most developing countries experience a massive migration
to cities where the majority of the new urban dwellers settle in
non-regularised areas, often in locations that are exposed to natural
hazards (such as land slides and flooding) and to ill health, illiteracy and
unemployment. They are thus effectively kept in poverty. Lack of secure
tenure discourages residents from improving conditions through investment in
their houses and in common services for water, sewage, roads, etc. In former
socialist countries, particularly in Europe, the regularisation of rights to
apartments in multifamily buildings is a major concern if problems in the
housing sector are to be avoided.
2.4 In many countries, particularly in the developing world,
the main proportion of land is owned by a small percentage of the
population, whilst large numbers of people are landless and poor.
2.5 In every continent there are people whose customary
rights to land and natural resources have been ignored. In many countries
the rights of indigenous people to own, posses or use land are still not
2.6 In many countries, and particularly in developing
countries, legal, cultural and social barriers prevent women and other
vulnerable groups from having equal and equitable access to land.
2.7 In addition to national policies for the fair and
equitable distribution of land, security of tenure requires appropriate
institutions, especially legislation, registration systems and
organisations. In many countries the current tenure and cadastral
infrastructure do not render adequate and reliable services to all. This may
be due to high costs, slow procedures, inadequate technical requirements, a
lack of co-operation between ministries and agencies, or corruption. Field
surveying of boundaries with high geodetic precision is a critical cost
element in developing a cadastre and viable land markets can be facilitated
without accurate property maps. Both former socialist countries, which are
re-establishing private ownership, and developing countries, which are
introducing private ownership and related institutions for the first time,
are faced with these problems. In the latter group the issues of customary
land tenure and of land grabbing, are frequently not adequately addressed.
2.8 Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda underline the close
link between access to land and security of tenure and sustainable
development. Both documents provide concrete programs for related actions to
be taken by governments, the private sector and non-governmental
organisations. In Agenda 21, Chapter 7 (promoting sustainable human
settlements) and in Chapter 14 (promoting sustainable agriculture and rural
development) are particularly relevant in this respect. In the Habitat
Agenda reference should be made to Chapter IV, Global Plan of Action,
section B (adequate shelter for all) and in particular to paragraphs 75 and
76, as well as to paragraph 40 of Chapter III on Commitments.
2.9 FIG has for a number of years collaborated closely with
the United Nations in raising awareness and developing recommendations and
guidelines concerning the issues of access to land and security of tenure
(see the Bogor Declaration (1996), the Bathurst Declaration (1999) and the
FIG publication "Cadastre 2014" prepared by FIG Commission 7).
2.10 To accelerate access to land and security of tenure as
instruments for sustainable development, FIG will in particular:
Enhance the knowledge of, and access to, the
property-related principles and policies of Agenda 21 and subsequent
international agreements, including those developed in co-operation
between the United Nations and FIG, and actively promote the application
of these principles and policies throughout the surveying profession.
Promote fairness and equity in access to land and to the
infrastructure that provides security of tenure, including promotion of
the equal rights of women and indigenous people to possess, buy, inherit
and use land. Nobody should be excluded from these basic rights on the
basis of sex, religion or race.
Continue to assist in developing international
guidelines and models for land-related legislation and registration
systems, marine-related tenure systems and surveying and mapping that
respond to current and local needs and that reflect the principles
contained in the points below.
Ensure an understanding that current western-type land
registration systems need to be re-engineered to accommodate other forms
of information that may not be parcel based, inter alia to
facilitate the collection of information about tenure forms such as
occupancy claims, use rights, water rights and overlapping rights.
Underline the need to develop practical and low-cost
registration systems that facilitate the recognition of housing rights
and other rights to land in informal settlements.
Stress that emerging registration systems, in particular
in developing countries and in transition economies, should not be
overloaded with registering more data than is needed to meet urgent
needs. These are normally to provide secure tenure, to facilitate the
selling and buying of land, and to enable real property to be used as
security for loans.
Recommend, in particular to the surveying profession,
that standards for geodetic precision in boundary documentation in
countries that have to undertake massive registration should not exceed
those required to serve basic needs. In several countries it has been
demonstrated that overview maps (index maps), without detailed field
surveying, are perfectly satisfactory for an emerging land market.
Underline the importance of respecting local cultures
and traditions in developing systems for registration of rights to land.
Legislation and systems should, wherever relevant, facilitate the
granting of title to groups or families as well as to individuals.
Stress that in implementing a modern land registration
service, systems must be coupled with policies and practical instruments
that prevent land grabbing, as this can easily happen in countries where
only a rich minority possesses funds for buying land.
Stress that the demand for formal land tenure should
come from the people in the area, and that the local inhabitants as well
as the local authorities should play an active part in the related
Planning and Management of Land and Coastal Areas
Basis for action
3.1 Migration to urban areas, the sprawl of cities into
wider geographical areas and the rapid growth of mega-cities, in particular
in developing countries, are among the most significant causes of the
transformation of human settlements. Many cities are witnessing harmful
patterns of growth, of land use and of energy consumption, often resulting
in serious pollution of soil, water and air; loss of valuable agricultural
land; and loss of land that sustains bio-diversity. Open and green spaces
are frequently not set aside for human well being. Urban settlements, on the
other hand, hold out a promise for human development through their ability
to support large numbers of people while limiting their impact on the
3.2 Following the massive migration to cities, developing
countries experience the establishment of large informal settlements. Lack
of appropriate up-front planning and investment in infrastructure result in
settlements that are only seldom serviced with water, sanitation, transport,
schools, etc. This frequently causes serious health problems, unemployment,
illiteracy and crime.
3.3 Sustainable development overall depends on a balanced
development of both urban and rural settlements. Urban and rural areas are
interdependent economically, socially and environmentally. Ensuring
appropriate urban-rural linkages is of vital importance for making
sustainable cities as well as sustainable rural settlements. Rural
settlements need to be valued and supported with improved infrastructure and
3.4 In many countries large areas of arable land are
continuously lost due to change in land use that leads to massive erosion.
Uncontrolled clearing of forest frequently results in landslides, floods,
and loss of the vegetation on which bio-diversity depends.
3.5 In many areas critical fresh water resources are
polluted by the harmful effects of human settlements that do not respect the
close connection between land use and the quality of ground as well as of
3.6 Poorly surveyed coastal areas and inadequate marine
navigation infrastructure often result in marine pollution incidents that
destroy fish habitats and seriously affect coastal ecosystems. These marine
environmental disasters inevitably reduce food supplies from the sea and
increase hardship and poverty.
3.7 Good land use planning and management of land can reduce
many of the above problems. However, the environmental impacts are not
always appropriately assessed by politicians, planners and developers.
Furthermore, the implementation of zoning plans and regulations are not
always appropriately monitored and enforced.
3.8 Agenda 21, Chapter 7 sets out a program for the
development of sustainable human settlements including (at point 7.5)
program elements for:
Providing adequate shelter for all
Improving human settlement management
Promoting sustainable land use planning and management
Promoting the integrated provision of environmental
infrastructure; water, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management
Promoting sustainable energy and transport systems in
Promoting human settlement planning and management in
Promoting sustainable construction industry activities
Promoting human resource development and capacity
building for human settlement development
Chapter 10 of Agenda 21 outlines a program for an Integrated
Approach to the Planning and Management of Land Resources, taking into
consideration environmental, social and economic issues. The broad objective
of the program is to facilitate the allocation of land to the uses that
provide the greatest sustainable benefits and to promote the transition to
integrated management of land resources. In more specific terms, the
objectives are (Chapter 10 point 10.5):
To develop policies to support the best possible use of
land and the sustainable management of land resources
To improve and strengthen planning, management and
evaluation systems for land and land resources
To strengthen institutions and co-ordinating mechanisms
for land and land resources
To create mechanisms to facilitate the active
involvement and participation of all concerned, particularly communities
and people at the local level, in decision-making related to land use
3.9 The Habitat II conference Istanbul 1996 agreed on a
large number of principles, commitments and strategies for developing
sustainable settlements. These are of vital importance for land use planning
and management, whether executed by national or local governments. Among
these (see the Habitat Global Plan of Action, point 113) are the need to:
Establish appropriate legal frameworks for public plans
and policies for sustainable urban developments and rehabilitation, land
utilisation, housing and the management of urban growth
Promote efficient and accessible land markets that
respond to community needs
Develop, where appropriate, fiscal incentives and land
control measures including land-use planning solutions for the more
rational and sustainable use of limited land resources
Encourage partnerships among public, private and
voluntary groups and other interested parties in managing land resources
Promote urban planning, housing and industrial siting
initiatives that discourage the siting of hazardous industrial
facilities in residential areas, including areas inhabited by people
living in poverty or those belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged
Develop and support land management practises that take
into account the need for everyday activities - playgrounds, parks,
sports and recreation areas and areas for gardening and urban
Promote the integration of land use, communications and
transport planning to reduce the demand for transport
Develop and implement integrated coastal zone management
plans to ensure the proper development and conservation of coastal
Institutionalise a participatory approach by developing
and supporting strategies and mechanisms that encourage open and
inclusive dialogue among all interested parties, with special attention
to the needs and priorities of women, minorities, children, youth,
people with disabilities, older persons and persons living in poverty
3.10 To encourage best practises in land use planning and
land management for sustainable settlements and the management of land
resources in general, FIG will in particular:
Promote knowledge of the principles, commitments and
strategies for sustainable land use expressed in Agenda 21 and the
Habitat Global Plan of Action among the members of the Federation and
throughout the surveying profession.
Promote the application of these principles and
strategies among surveyors working in the public as well as the private
sector, inter alia by transforming the principles and strategies
into guidelines and models for practical use in planning and land
management, and mechanisms and systems for monitoring and reporting on
changes in land use.
Promote an understanding of the importance of up-front
planning and appropriate land management for creating sustainable
settlements for all those low-income groups migrating to cities in
developing countries, to ensure a minimum standard for water,
sanitation, drainage, and solid waste treatment.
Promote an understanding of the importance of protecting
fresh water resources through the appropriate siting of settlements and
harmful human activities in the management of reservoirs and water
Promote an understanding of the importance of protecting
coastal areas in general, and related fish and wildlife habitats, from
destruction, inter alia through the development of adequate
marine charts and navigation systems to enhance safety in marine
Promote the importance of planners and land managers
insisting on an integrated approach to planning and land management,
where environmental as well as social and economic factors are taken
Promote the importance of surveyors demanding
environmental impact assessments as part of the planning process
whenever and wherever appropriate.
Promote the importance of surveyors in planning and land
management insisting on applying processes that actively involve all
interested parties including women, children, older people and people
living in poverty.
Encourage nations to define their Territorial Boundaries
and Exclusive Economic Zones as regulated by the United Nations Law of
Geographic Information for Decision Making
Basis for action
4.1 Good decisions for sustainable development depend on
access to reliable and relevant information and to a very large extent on
information that is geographically referenced. The need for geographic
information arises at all levels of government, from senior decision-makers
to the grass roots and individual levels.
4.2 Considerable data exist, but access to data is often
hampered by lack of standardisation, coherence and adequate services for
data retrieval, including information about what data exist and where data
4.3 There is an increasing gap between developed and
developing countries in their capacities to collect and disseminate
geographic information, seriously impairing the capacities of countries to
make sound decisions concerning environment and development.
4.4 The rapid development of technologies and methods in
surveying and mapping, such as integrated geographic information systems,
remote sensing, satellite positioning systems and digital networks for
sharing and disseminating of data, provides a strong and important tool for
decision making for sustainable development. Accessible and relevant
geographic information will play an important role in planning, executing
and monitoring development. Developing countries have embarked on
implementing spatial infrastructures for the optimal sharing and use of
geographic data in digital form. However, the majority of developing
countries lack the capacity to utilise the emerging technologies and
4.5 The recent extension of the United Nations Convention on
the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to nations’ territorial rights over vast ocean
areas requires, on the one hand, national capacities to collect hydrographic
and other data needed for presenting claims and, on the other, a capacity to
manage the areas. There is a very real need to ensure that these resources
are integrated with the national land information systems.
4.6 To facilitate the optimum use of geographic information
in decision making for sustainable development, FIG will in particular:
Help in the collection and dissemination of research,
developments and best practises in the application of geographic
information systems and spatial data infrastructures as well as in the
use of surveying and mapping for environmental protection, planning and
monitoring, and for social and economic development.
Assist in keeping relevant UN agencies and other
international bodies informed about developments in the use of all
aspects of geographic information for sustainable development.
Promote an understanding that access to relevant
geographic information is a democratic right and support a policy that
nobody, particularly local communities, grass root movements, people in
poverty or any other vulnerable groups, should be denied that access by
law, high prices or any other unreasonable means.
Promote the Internet as a medium that can substantially
improve the value of geographic information to involved parties at all
levels of society and the importance of governmental agencies and
private institutions holding such information in ways that facilitate
access for all.
Promote the need for countries, as well as agencies
within countries and regions, to facilitate the sharing of geographic
data to help in an integrated approach to the planning and management of
land, settlements, coastal areas and the oceans.
Promote the need for governments, agencies and
institutions to document and share information about sources of
available information within their respective organisations.
Work with international bodies such as the International
Standards Organization (ISO) to develop and implement suitable standards
for the exchange of geographic information.
Work with relevant bodies, including educational
institutions, to ensure that there is a knowledgeable and skilled
workforce available to develop and maintain geographic information
Promote technical assistance and co-ordination between
countries that have the technology and resources for data collection,
analysis and dissemination and countries that are in need of assistance
in these areas.
Support the United Nations and other agencies in
planning and developing regional spatial data infrastructures.
Developing the Surveying Profession
Basis for action
5.1 Surveyors at all levels of government as well as in
private enterprises, dealing with land and property, land use planning and
management, and geographic information, play an important role in developing
and implementing policies, strategies and services of vital importance to
5.2 The way that surveyors act, be they in the public or the
private sector, has the capacity to influence society’s attitude towards
5.3 Although the concept of sustainable development is
generally understood by most surveyors, its practical implications, the
challenges it poses and the consequent responsibilities facing the
profession and individuals need to be elaborated, promoted and continuously
5.4 FIG recognises that it provides a mechanism and an
opportunity for surveyors to enhance and demonstrate their professionalism.
5.5 FIG recognises that the education and training of
surveyors, including continuous professional development, is of paramount
importance in supporting their contribution to sustainable development.
5.6 FIG is committed to doing its utmost to assist the
surveying profession to respond to the challenges and responsibilities of
sustainable development. FIG will in particular:
Continue to include all aspects of sustainable
development and its relevance to the surveying profession in technical
programmes at FIG congresses, conferences, workshops and meetings,
including those arranged by individual FIG Commissions.
Assist in developing university programmes for the
general education of surveyors that reflect their role and
responsibilities in relation to sustainable development.
Promote the inclusion of appropriate elements of
sustainable development policies and strategies in relation to the
activities of the surveying profession within national programmes for
continuous profession development.
Ensure that any FIG evaluation and rating of educational
programmes, or similar activities undertaken by its subsidiary bodies,
duly considers whether they adequately address all relevant aspects of
Encourage national associations to include appropriate
references to sustainable development in their codes of conduct. Support
the principle that these codes should, inter alia, require
surveyors to facilitate equal access to land registration services;
insist on integrated approaches to planning and land management; request
that environmental impact assessments be carried out whenever and
wherever relevant; and request that all interested parties be actively
involved in relevant planning and development processes and granted
access to all relevant data.
Assist in establishing professional societies in
countries where there are no such bodies and when established, ensure
that the societies develop appropriate codes of ethics and professional
Encourage the development and maintenance of quality
principles to ensure quality customer service from the surveying
profession throughout the world.
Committing FIG and its Member Associations
Basis for action
6.1 Agenda 21 calls for non-governmental organisations at
all levels to support the implementation of sustainable development
6.2 FIG recognises that professional associations, at the
international as well as the national level, can play an important role in
implementing Agenda 21.
6.3 FIG recognises that, in developing the Federation into
an efficient and effective non-governmental organisation, it should actively
support the implementation of sustainable development and formulate a set of
values to which it will urge its member associations, associate members,
academic members and individual surveyors to adhere.
6.4 FIG reiterates the policies stated in FIG publication
no.3, 1991, "Sustainable development – a Challenge and a Responsibility for
Surveyors". This focused on the potential for surveyors to contribute to
sustainable development; committed the Federation to include environmental
issues as important topics at conferences and other occasions; and
encouraged national associations to do likewise.
6.5 By adopting this statement, the International Federation
of Surveyors renews its undertaking to promote the concept of sustainable
development, and its related challenges and responsibilities, to surveyors
in all its relevant activities. FIG is thereby committed to:
Emphasising the wider understanding of sustainable
development, to include policies, strategies and actions for social and
economic development as well as for environmental protection.
Including sustainable development policies, strategies
and actions in all relevant activities of the Federation, as well as in
the activities of all its Commissions, and ensuring that national member
associations do likewise.
Including appropriate responses by the profession and
individual surveyors to the challenges and responsibilities of Agenda 21
in all relevant guidelines, statements and other documents.
Ensuring that concrete activities to implement FIG
Agenda 21 are included in the long and short term work plans of the
Ensuring that progress on activities related to
sustainable development, including those activities undertaken by the
Commissions and national associations, is regularly reported to the
annual General Assembly of the Federation.
Collaboration with United Nations, National Governments and
Non Governmental Organisations
Basis for action
7.1 Agenda 21 (para. 27.9) urges all agencies of the United
Nations to establish mechanisms and procedures for drawing on the expertise
and views of non-governmental organisations in policy and program design,
implementation and evaluation.
7.2 Agenda 21 (para. 27.10) further urges governments to
establish or enhance dynamic dialogues with non-governmental organisations.
7.3 Since the adoption of Agenda 21 the issue of land
administration for sustainable development has come to the forefront of the
work of several UN agencies that are implementing Agenda 21 - in particular
through the UNCHS Global Campaigns on Good Urban Governance and on Security
of Tenure, and the programme of the Commission on Sustainable Development.
Similar initiatives are taking place within the UN’s regional activities and
within other international and national organisations dealing with aid,
environment and development.
7.4 Following the collapse of socialist regimes in East and
Central Europe and other regions of the world, transition countries have
embarked on large programs to re-establish property rights and registration
systems, and to strengthen the institutions for land use planning and
management that are needed for the effective functioning of market-based
economies. However, assistance in developing appropriate solutions and
models are still badly needed.
7.5 During the last decade (1990–2000) FIG has increased its
collaboration with various United Nations agencies – notably in chairing the
dialogue on urban-rural linkages during the 1996 UN Conference on Human
Settlements; preparing the two UN-FIG declarations on cadastral reforms
(Bogor, 1996) and on Land Administration for Sustainable Development
(Bathurst, 1999); preparing a statement for co-operation between FIG and UN
agencies as a result of an FIG/UN roundtable (Melbourne, 1999); and entering
into a Memorandum of Understanding with UNCHS(Habitat) (Nairobi, 2000).
7.6 FIG has well-established relations with other
international associations – notably the International Council for Research
in Building and Construction (CIB) and the International Real Estate
Federation (FIABCI) – in developing strategies for working on sustainable
development issues at the level of international non-governmental
7.7. FIG is committed to further develop its links with
relevant UN agencies, the World Bank and other international aid
organisations, donors and lenders, national governments and non-governmental
organisations. In so doing FIG will:
Channel information about relevant UN programs and
activities to FIG member associations and individual surveyors.
Help UN agencies to develop sound strategies and
policies for using the competence and services of the surveying
profession in implementing sustainable development whenever the advice
of the surveying profession is relevant.
Collaborate with UN agencies in developing guidelines
targeted at the surveying profession to optimise the profession’s
contribution in implementing sustainable development at all levels of
Collaborate with UN agencies in developing guidelines
and practical models for developing national surveying capacities to
assist in implementing sustainable development at national, regional and
Participate actively as a non-governmental organisation
representing the global surveying profession in relevant UN meetings to
which NGOs are invited to contribute.
Establish collaborative arrangements with international
non-governmental organisations, and non-commercial institutions that are
involved in implementing Agenda 21 and which will benefit from sharing
knowledge developed within FIG concerning sustainable development and
from the services of the surveying profession.
Establish or further develop existing links with other
international non-governmental organisations dealing with tangible
issues so as to enhance, through concerted action, their contributions
to sustainable development.
Encourage member associations to establish proper links
with relevant departments of their domestic governments so as to enhance
the surveying profession’s input to the implementation of Agenda 21 at
the national level.
Support education and training initiatives of the UN,
the World Bank and other relevant institutions rendering assistance to
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – A Challenge and a Responsibility
Statement on Environmental Issues
adopted by the 58th FIG Permanent Committee Meeting on May 23,
1991 in Beijing, China
The intention of the FIG statement is to ensure that the
surveyors’ professional skills are used to promote environmentally sound
planning and management of natural resources and human settlements.
The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) recognises
safeguarding the natural environment as a major issue requiring urgent
attention and action.
FIG believes in the principle of sustainable development
which permits opportunities f or economic growth but at the same time
demands protection of the environment. FIG also believes that a
"precautionary approach" is vital for all projects which may cause
The Environmental Challenge
Environmental issues are frequently presented within the
framework of the natural sciences, such as biology, physics and chemistry.
The major problems are often described as ecological threats in the form of
pollution of the air, water and soil. Surveyors are primarily concerned with
land use and land management. They are becoming increasingly involved in
marine resource management. They thus contribute a highly specialised
expertise in making environmental impact statements to bring about in the
most acceptable way the implementation of plans and projects.
Changes in land use occur in their most extreme form in the
establishment of human settlements and urbanisation brings about many types
of environmental change. Other causes of environmental degradation include
deforestation, the winning of minerals and the intensive use of rural land.
All these aspects of change are key issues for sustainable development.
The problems associated with human settlements are
illustrated by the fact that cities are now absorbing two-thirds of total
population increase in the developing world. At this rate of urbanisation
nearby two billion people will populate urban areas of the developing
countries by the end of the century, with 500 million more to be
accommodated during the next decade. The problems of ensuring satisfactory
water supply, adequate disposal of all types of wastes and avoidance of
pollution of air, water and soil will be enormous with grave risks to health
and other impairments of the quality of life if they are not successfully
tackled and solved.
Environmental issues differ from country to country in
association with the environmental setting, the characteristics of
development and national preferences and priorities. There is a tremendous
need for careful and skilled management of all systems which affect the
quality of life in order to provide opportunities for environmentally sound
It is also necessary to preserve rural land, inland waters
and the seas as sustainable resources for the production of food, for
forestry and for recreation. Wild life and the various aspects of rural and
marine ecology must be respected.
Surveyors and FIG
The science and practice of surveying is familiar to all in
its traditional applications in the surveying and planning of towns and
cities, agricultural uses, roads and other public works. FIG believes that
the skills of the surveyor can make a vital contribution to promote
Surveyors are thus challenged to contribute to the planning
and management of urban, rural and marine development in order to avoid
potential disasters of the gravest scale and to preserve and improve the
quality of life for present and future generations.
The expertise of surveyors is essential for monitoring
environmental changes, in management of resources, in planning and
construction. FIG believes that new and continuing advances in technology
and land management, such as remote sensing and geographic information
systems, can significantly increase the information available to decision
makers and society in general. New technologies in the field of positioning
and navigation at sea which have important significance for safety will help
to prevent grounding and other maritime accidents which have led to some of
the most serious examples of pollution.
FIG believes that environmental issues should therefore
figure prominently in the education of surveyors and that universities
should be encouraged to provide the appropriate courses.
FIG will ensure that environmental issues are given high
priority for continuing action and constant awareness in its future work.
FIG will encourage the same attitude amongst its national member
FIG will emphasise that the surveyor's professional work
must reflect a concern for environmental consequences and opportunities. The
surveyor has an ethical duty to advise and inform upon these matters and to
suggest any alternatives which may be more environmentally acceptable.
The Individual Surveyor's Commitment Shall Always Require:
an assessment of the environmental consequences of
professional activities in a responsible way,
constant efforts to secure a recognition of
environmental planning and management aspects in the fulfilment of any
project, and to disseminate environmental information within the
surveyors’ field of expertise,
prompt and frank response wherever possible to public
concerns on the environmental impact of projects, including when
appropriate the stimulation of environmental actions,
the utilisation or recommendation of the engagement of
additional expertise whenever the surveyor's own knowledge of particular
environmental problems is insufficient to the particular task,
the improvement of environmental standards, meticulously
observing any statutory requirements on environmental issues.
The International Federation of Surveyors, FIG, shall:
Provide opportunities for expanding the education of the
professional surveyor to include understanding of and solution to
Wherever appropriate include environmental issues as an
important topic at conferences and on other occasions and encourage
national member associations to do likewise.
Take steps to ensure that the United Nations and other
international and national organisations are informed of the FIG policy
and potential contribution of the surveying profession to the
achievement of sustainable development.
Urge national and international aid organisations to
make provision for surveying expertise and services in programmes in the
Encourage discussions on environmental issues and the
surveying profession by national authorities, universities, schools and
research institutes in order to exert an influence on programmes and
Urge all technical and Scientific Commissions within FIG
to give priority to environmental issues related to their spheres of
Ensure that the administrative Bureau of the Federation
takes responsibility for the implementation of the FIG policy on
environmental issues. This includes co-ordination with all technical and
Scientific Commissions within FIG.