News in 2023

FIG at the 9th Session of the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management: Africa 

14-18 August 2023, Cape Town, South Africa 

Following our appointment by the President of FIG, we, Mohammed Mamman Kabir and Ms. Paula Dijkstra duly represented the FIG at the 9th Session of the UN-GGIM: Africa and SDG Data Alliance Workshops as we were mandated. The event ran concurrently with the 31st Session of the International Cartographic Conference (ICC) at Cape Town International Convention Center.  

We were able to attend all the sessions of the UN-GGIM: Africa and also squeezed time to attend copious sessions of the ICC with the aim of learning some lessons from the Cartographers’ Conference, if any, that can be useful to the FIG.

The 9th Session was attended by more than 80 delegates. Participants were present from 25 African countries and dozens of resource persons from international organizations, academia, industry, and private sector organizations. Delegates from France, Japan, Iran, Pakistan, Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey, Yemen, United Kingdom, and the United States of America represented several organizations. These included but not limited to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, SDG Data Alliance, Esri (United States); Trimble; International Cartographic Association (ICA); PASCO Corporation (Japan); PLACE (United States); PVBLIC Foundation; and the World Geospatial Industry Council (Netherlands); GIZ (Germany); RCRMD (Kenya), AfriGIST (Nigeria); JICA (Japan); RPAG (Cote d’Ivoire).

Among other areas of concern to UN-GGIM: Africa, the sessions deliberated and passed resolutions on various issues bordering on geospatial information policy, legal and technical framework. These included geospatial governance, business models, and financial appropriation framework; the IGIF and integration of statistical and geospatial information; models for geocoding population and housing census data; SDGs and country-level action plans; and the Africa Geodetic Reference Frame. The sessions also conducted high level interactions on new trends and developments in the field of geospatial information, and Capacity Development Strategic Frameworks for advancing geospatial information in Africa.

The FIG-Africa Regional Network Report

The chairperson of the FIG-ARN delivered reports on the Objectives and Activities of International Federation of Surveyors-Africa Regional Network. The report apprised the participants about the FIG as an organization and areas of common interests between the Federation and the UNGGIM. 

The Chair of ARN presenting on the activities of ARN

The presentation highlighted the activities of Africa Regional Network and established the nexus between the Network and UN-GGIM: Africa particularly in areas of capacity development and promotion of geospatial information management in Africa. The report was well received by the meeting and the 9th Session arrived at the following resolutions at the end of the meeting;

  1. The UN-GGIM Africa to partner and collaborate with FIG-ARN in pursuing a common objectives of capacity development and effective implementation of geospatial information management in Africa
  2. The 9th session granted FIG-ARN an observer status in the membership of the UN-GGIM: Africa
  3. Inspired by the ARN reported activities of the FIG-YSN in Africa, the 9th Session agreed to form the UN-GGIM: Africa-Young Network
  4. To further cement the collaboration between the FIG and UN-GGIM Africa, the 9th Session enjoined all African countries and relevant stakeholders to attend the 2024 FIG Working Week in Ghana and to present position papers at the various sessions
  5. The Secretariat, in conjunction with the FIG, will convene UN-GGIM Africa technical sessions at the 2024 FIG Working Week

SDG Data Alliance Workshops

In conjunction with the ICC and UNGGIM : Africa two workshops were conducted by the SDG Data Alliance. The SDG Data Alliance is an international multi stakeholder partnership that engages different private and public sector partners, including W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Esri, PVBLIC Foundation, Chia and the United Nations. The Alliance was created to bring geographic information systems, or GIS, technology and capabilities to developing nations in order to accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and on reducing inequalities.

Through the SDG Data Alliance and other capacity development initiatives, many countries are creating and implementing UN-IGIF Country-level Action Plans. The SDG Data Alliance partners, and guided by the UN-GGIM Secretariat, are working with several African countries to develop Country-level Action Plans and SDG data hubs which are country owned and country led.

The workshops provided valuable insights and lessons learned on how land professionals can contribute to accelerating the achievements of the SDGs for the FIG Task Force on SDG’s.

Participation to the workshop provided the chairperson of the FIG Task Force on Sustainable Development Goals valuable insights for the further development of the work plan. Also the chairperson was able connect with representatives from different partner organisations. This will help to further align the work of the Task Force with global, national and local initiatives.

Cartographers Conference

The 31st International Cartographers Conference was successful and very engaging, bringing together 880 delegates from 58 countries. Including 33 countries from Africa. There were 415 participants from South Africa. The 31st International Cartographers Conference provided a technical programme with parallel sessions and had programmed 6 to 8 parallel sessions.

Throughout the Cartographers Conference the SDG’s and Climate were addressed in both keynotes and technical programme. Awareness and practical contributions on mapping the SDGs and visualizing climate impact on the map seemed to be well embedded.

During several sessions in the technical programme as well as keynotes a reference was made to Youth Mappers. It is worthwhile to connect the FIG YSN to the representatives of Youth Mappers to share experiences and knowledge.

World Map Drawing Competition

The exhibition of the 31st International Cartographers Conference hosted also the ‘Barbara Petchenik World Map Drawing Competition’. Every delegate received a voting slip to vote for him/herself the most beautiful map made by children in different age groups, as well as professionals. It was a nice and quiet area to visit. Also, it attracted people to the exhibition hall.

Impression of the reception in the exhibition hall, Xhosa face painting with dots



Paula Dijkstra, Chair FIG Task force on FIG_SDG and Mohammed Mamman Kabir  Chair FIG-ARN
September 2023