Administrator Tiangco Co-chairs WG-Disasters Meeting in UN New York
By: John SF Fabic

Dr. Peter N. Tiangco, NAMRIA Administrator, presided with Co-chair Mr. Rohan Richards of Jamaica, at a meeting of the Working Group on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters in Conference Room 12 of the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York on August 01, 2016.  The meeting is one of the side events of the Sixth Session of the Committee of Experts on UN-Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM) that will take place in the UN headquarters on August 03 to 05, 2016.
Co-chairs Administrator Tiangco and Mr. Richards (on his left)
The working group was established during the Fifth Session of the UN-GGIM in August 2015.  Its purpose is to develop and implement a strategic framework on geospatial information and services for disasters.  It now has about members from 50 Member States, UN entities and other related organizations.  To better manage the working group’s schedule, activities and outputs, two task teams were created and these were led by Jamaica and Philippines respectively. 
The side meeting was organized into keynote presentations, panel presentations and discussions.  It was moderated by Mr. Kyoung-Soo Eom, Chief UN Geospatial Information Section (formerly Cartographic Section) and UN-GGIM Secretariat.  In his keynote presentation, Mr. Richards, Principal Director, Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change of Jamaica discussed the task team’s “Fact Finding Study and Review of Framework, Rules, Legislation and Policies on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters.”  Dr. Tiangco likewise presented the draft “Strategic Framework on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters 2016-2030.”
Administrator Tiangco with UN officials before the meeting
The goal of the strategic framework was defined as the timely availability and accessibility of quality geospatial information in support of coordinated decision-making and operations across all sectors and phases of the emergency cycle.  To ensure its effective implementation across various levels of decision-making, the following five priorities for action were identified: (1) Governance and Policies, (2) Awareness Raising and Capacity Building, (3) Data Management, (4) Common Infrastructure and Services, and (5) Resource Mobilization.
In the panel presentations, UN-GGIM Co-chairs Mr. Tim Trainor of Geography Division of US Census, and Mr. Rolando Ocampo of Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, provided critiques on the keynote presentations.  Among them are the significant efforts that may be required in data management, the metrics to be used in monitoring and evaluation and the inclusion of “lessons learned” apart from best practices.  Mr. Hiroshi Murakami of Geospatial Information Authority of Japan and currently President of UN-GGIM-Asia and the Pacific, presented the potential areas of collaboration between UN-GGIM Strategic Framework 2016-2030, Sendai Framework 2015-2030 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Mr. Godfrey Takavarasha of UN-Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Dr. Li  Pengde of China’s National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, presented the “future we want on geospatial information and services for disasters.”
Participants in the meeting
The discussion part gathered suggestions and comments from the participants on how to further improve the draft strategic framework.  They also commended the working group for its excellent accomplishment in a year.  For his concluding message, Dr. Tiangco encouraged all participants to draw inspiration from the great progress the working group has done so far.  He emphasized that by harnessing the combined advantage of data and human resources, we can achieve the full potentials of geospatial information in informed decision-making in all phases of disaster risk reduction and management.
The upcoming international forum on disasters in Barbados in September 2016 was also announced in this meeting.
The members of the working group from the Philippines are NAMRIA’s Deputy Administrator Efren Carandang, Director John Fabic and Information System Analyst Annrou Ramos.

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