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10 June 1997

Press Release


19970610 NEW YORK, 6 June (DDSMS) -- The Sixth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for the Americas concluded today by adopting 10 resolutions focusing on transfer of technology, harmonization and standardization of datasets, role and involvement of non-governmental organizations and other issues related to facilitating the implementation of Agenda 21 and other sustainable development initiatives, and to making regional cartographic conferences more responsive to the regional and global needs and issues of importance to local, national and international users of spatial data and land related information.

The primary objective of the Conference was to provide both a regional and interregional forum for Member States, through their governmental institutions, professional and academic sectors, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to discuss and share information on related institutional, legal, economic and technical issues and advise national governments, the United Nations and other regional and international organizations on policy development options related to cartography and related fields in support of sustained economic growth for sustainable development and environmental management.

The Conference was serviced by the Department for Development Support and Management Services (DDSMS), which provided substantive inputs, as well as by staff of the Office of Conference Services.

The Conference acknowledged the significant progress made in the cartographic and related fields since the 1993 Regional Conference also held at Headquarters, where goals in the area had been reappraised to meet the challenges of sustainable development in the twenty-first century. Adopting 10 resolutions, it set a comprehensive agenda for governments of the region into the new millennium.

The Conference stressed the significant and continuing contribution of surveying, mapping and charting to the implementation of Agenda 21 in the America region. The strengthening of communication and cooperation between

* The press release on the opening of the Conference -- DEV/2161 of 3 June should have been issued under the symbol NR.

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the countries in the region and the sharing of skills and experience, as well as joint project activities and common approaches to policy and management issues, were factors of key relevance for the region, it was stated.

The desire of Member States and other stakeholders to enhance the relevance of the Conference to meet their expectations at a time of rapid technological and communication changes was fully acknowledged by participants. They also expressed the views that future conferences should focus more on current and emerging needs and demands at an institutional and policy level. The Conference, therefore, underlined the usefulness of convening, within a year, a special working group of delegates and experts from all United Nations Regional Cartographic Conferences and the member States of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) to "re-engineer" the operation of future regional cartographic conferences, producing a mission statement for future conferences and identifying strategies and issues of vital importance for the region.

The Conference, acknowledging the growing awareness among Member States of the concept of the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and the truly interregional nature of sustainable development and environmental management, equally stressed the need for interregional means, tools and institutional instruments to promote SDI programmes in a fully integrated manner. Member States in the region were thus strongly encouraged to establish a Permanent Committee on Geographical Information Systems Infrastructure for the Americas, establishing linkages with similar networks existing in other regions to enhance cooperation and experience sharing.

The participants recommended that the Economic and Social Council should convene the seventh conference for the America region in early 2001 for five working days with a primary focus on the continuing assessment and improvement of the contribution of surveying, mapping and charting in support of the implementation of Agenda 21.

Some 81 representatives and observers from 27 countries of the Americas and other regions, as well as representatives from specialized agencies and international scientific organizations participated in the Conference.

The final report of the Conference will be published and forwarded to Member States. Copies will be mailed to the Permanent Missions to the United Nations.

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For information media. Not an official record.