Asia Pacific Capacity Development Network Report

June 6, 2019

The FIG Working Week “Geospatial Information for a Smarter Life and Environmental Resilience” was held at the Vietnam National Convention Centre in Hanoi, and hosted by the Vietnam Association of Geodesy – Cartography – Remote Sensing (VGCR). The event was the first for the 2019–2022 term, and included the 42nd General Assembly, which was led by newly elected President Rudolf Staiger. The Working Week attracted just under 1,000 delegates from 90 countries, who participated in 80-plus technical sessions, 3 plenary sessions and related workshops, which delivered over 450 presentations.

From a FIG Asia Pacific Capacity Development Network (AP CDN) perspective, the Working Week in Hanoi was a strategic opportunity to advocate the workings of the AP CDN to the region, and to reaffirm and review its current work plan with the Working Week attendees, the General Assembly, FIG Council, and new Commission Chairs. Subsequently, at the Working Week the “network” and its partners, such as the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN GGIM) Asia Pacific Working Group 1 – Geodetic Reference Frames, UN Sub-Committee on Geodesy (SCoG) – Education Training and Capacity Building (ETCB), the Pacific Geospatial and Surveying Council (PGSC), and other organisations from ASEAN countries, participated in several forums and technical sessions, in particular the:

  • Special Forum – Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (IGIF)

  • Asia & the Pacific Capacity Development Network Breakfast Meeting

  • TS04B: Enhancing Surveying Academic Networks

  • Special Forum – Good Practices in Land Administration in the Asia Pacific Region

  • Special Forum – Strengthening Partnerships in Land Governance in the Asia Pacific Region

  • TS06I and TS07I: Developing Capacity for Geodetic Infrastructure and Systems I and II.

Upon reflection, the session presentations were of a high standard and very informative. These quality presentations, from an AP CDN point of view, provided several positive “take-away messages” in relation to geospatial and surveying capacity development in the region, such as:

  • the strategic importance and implementation of the UN GGIM IGIF initiative to the development of geospatial information capability

  • the operationalisation of the UN GGIM IGIF through the World Bank – FAO methodology for developing country and sub-regional level action and investment plans

  • numerous countries are making progress towards modernising their geodetic infrastructure and systems

  • understanding the critical role of educational institutions or regional academic networks to provide capacity development of professionals and agencies

  • to support modernisation of or improve geospatial readiness of agencies, the synergies of geodesy with the land administration, management and governance profession should be identified and leveraged.

To view the relevant papers and presentations of the above sessions please refer to the appropriate session or forum via the website:

As a consequence of attending and actively contributing to the discussions that occurred in the forums and sessions the AP CDN throughout the Working Week conversed with partners and delegates on significant geospatial (geodetic) and survey capacity development matters that would shape the work plan for the next 12 months. After careful consideration the Steering Committee of the AP CDN resolved that:

  • The AP CDN Mission be refined to “Geospatial and Surveying professionals have the capability to modernise geospatial reference systems and to meet future challenges.”

  • The AP CDN Outcomes:

    • Geospatial and Survey professionals are contributing to the measurement and monitoring of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    • Capabilities of geospatial and survey professionals are developed through alliances and relationships with FIG, UN GGIM AP, UN SCoG ETCB, and relevant like-minded bodies or development partners.

    • The geospatial and survey community is self-reliant, has a culture of learning and innovation, and comprises gender diversity and a blend of mature and young professionals.

    • Regional geospatial and surveying challenges are resolved by a regional, unified, coordinated and collaborative approach.

    • FIG profile in the Asia Pacific region has been enhanced.

  • The AP CDN Partners will continue to work collaboratively and co-operatively to build the capabilities of geospatial and surveying professionals and to seek opportunities and develop more partnerships with ACADEMIA and CORPORATE members.

  • Recognising that good will and volunteerism from “network” participants is NOT sustainable, the AP CDN will endeavour to find mechanisms that will formalise collaboration/co-operation with partners. For example, establish simple agreements that facilitate shared objectives, expectations and commitment, defined roles and responsibilities, and measurable benefits and value.

  • The activities of the AP CDN will continue to consist of:

    • an independent advocacy role to the geospatial and surveying community

    • the provision of technical, administrative and professional support and information

    • organising, facilitating and actively participating in:

      • discussion forums

      • meetings

      • seminars/workshops

      • technical sessions

    • encouraging co-operation and collaboration between countries, agencies and related professions

    • connecting and engaging professional networks from traditional and non-traditional industry sectors.

  • Lessons can be learnt from the FIG African Capacity Development Network with regards to communication strategies and framework for a diverse group of geospatial and survey professions.

  • To measure the progress or performance of the AP CDN over the next 12–18 months the following must be monitored:

    • Support to the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) and the PGSC with their strategic and implementation plans to improve their geospatial and geodetic capability.

    • Participation in forums, meetings, seminars/workshops, and technical session, with an emphasis of more inclusion and assistance from both the ACADEMIC and CORPORATE sectors.

    • Assistance with the development of templates for sub-regional or country-based strategic/operational plans for capacity building in Asia.

    • Provision of advice and advocacy of the UN initiatives, such as the Global Geodetic Reference Frame and IGIF, to develop capacity of geospatial and surveying professionals.

    • Discovery of existing geodetic capability building material, and examination of possible platforms for a knowledge portal.

    • Engagement with educational institutions to explore how core competencies for geodesy can be provided.

    • Provision of more practical and hands-on Reference Frame in Practice workshops.

    • Assist with the revision and updating of the FIG publication – Reference Frame in Practice Manual.

    • Creation of a communication / fact sheet that explains the role of FIG AP CDN and its partners.

  • AP CDN and partners will endeavour to perform the abovementioned capacity development activities at the following events in 2019:

    • Suva, Fiji – 24 to 28 June 2019, United Nations / Fiji Government Technical Workshop on the Applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems

    • Darwin, Australia – 15 to 18 August 2019, South East Asia Survey Congress (SEASC)

    • Canberra, Australia – 4 to 5 November 2019, UN GGIM AP Plenary Meeting in conjunction with Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

In concluding, the AP CDN and its partners wish to express our gratitude to the VGCR for hosting a fantastic Working Week. The Steering Committee thank all presenters who contributed to the sessions and the delegates for interesting discussions. We look forward to more collaboration on building geospatial and surveying capacity over the next several months.

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