United Nations Spatial Data Infrastructure - UNSDI

In 2005, under the leadership of WFP and FAO, UNGIWG initiated the process to establish a UN Spatial Data Infrastructure (UNSDI). The UNSDI Initiative major milestones are:

  • 2005 (FAO & WFP), Decision to develop a UNSDI taken
  • 2006,UNSDI Strategy developed (UNSDI Compendium)
  • 2007 (OCHA & UNHCR), UNSDI implementation approach developed
  • 2008, UNSDI implementation plan adopted (UNSDI Framework)
  • 2009 (UNOOSA & ECA)ASG/CITO’s support for UNSDI secured
  • 2011, Center of Excellence for UNSDI (CoE4UNSDI) Project endorsed 2012 (OICT and CTBTO), CoE4UNSDI Project launched

Last updated: Feb. 2012



At its 9th annual meeting on 5-7 November 2008 in Vienna, Austria, the United Nations Geographic Information Working Group (UNGIWG) endorsed the "Ninth UNGIWG Plenary Resolution".



Whereas the United Nations Geographic Information Working Group (UNGIWG) brings together the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists and cartographers of all UN agencies, funds, and programmes; and

Whereas since 2000 UNGIWG has been able to facilitate inter-agency co-operation and co-ordination on specific issues in the fields of cartography and geographic information science and promote the use of geographic information within the United Nations System; and

Reaffirming that at its 7th Plenary Meeting, UNGIWG endorsed a strategic vision for a United Nations Spatial Data Infrastructure (UNSDI) as a comprehensive, decentralized geospatial information framework that facilitates decision-making at various levels by enabling access, retrieval and dissemination of geospatial data and information in a rapid and secure way; and

Emphasizing the decisions of the 8th UNGIWG Plenary Meeting to implement a UNSDI on a project basis, built around deliverables, and allowing for the involvement of non-UN partners and Member States in the achievement of these deliverables; and

Recalling the efforts of the United Nations System to enhance its coherence, effectiveness and efficiency as laid out in its Reform Agenda; and

Welcoming the work which has been done by the UNGIWG Co-chairs and the Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board (CEB) to anchor the UNSDI initiative firmly in the UN Reform Agenda and to ensure that UNSDI is complimentary with other initiatives geared at enhancing system coherence and harmonization of business practices; and

Noting with satisfaction the substantive increase in support to UNGIWG and to the UNSDI initiative by a permanent Secretariat maintained by the Co-chairs in 2007 and 2008;


Agrees that the Interim Framework Document, with the modifications as contained in the Report of the 9th Plenary Meeting of UNGIWG, is the basis for the first phases of UNGIWG's continued effort to establish a United Nations Spatial Data Infrastructure (UNSDI); and

Requests the Secretariat of UNGIWG to establish a consultation mechanism for its rapid endorsement before the handover of Chairmanship of UNGIWG (2009-2010 biennium); and once the Interim Framework Document is endorsed;

Invites members of the United Nations Geographic Information Working Group to sign the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the UNSDI Project and to work actively towards its implementation; and Requests the incoming Co-chairs of UNGIWG to work during their tenure of office with all UNGIWG members on the implementation of the first phases of the UNSDI Project; and

Recommends that they mobilize resources to maintain a standing Secretariat during their term as Co-chairs; and

Invites partners of the United Nations Geographic Information Working Group to support the efforts of establishing a UNSDI by joining in the attainment of those deliverables which are of interest and to which they can contribute successfully; and

Encourages interested governments of Member States of the United Nations to support the establishment of a UNSDI actively by providing expertise and advice, no credit check loans, as well as human and financial resources; and

Calls upon all members of the United Nations Geographic Information Working Group to take responsibility for establishing a UNSDI by supporting the incoming Co-chairs and by taking over functions within its governance structure; and

Proposes to the incoming UNGIWG Co-chairs to consult with Member States and to seek endorsement of the UNSDI initiative; and

Supports the idea to review the progress of the UNSDI Project annually by members of the United Nations Geographic Information Working Group.

Vienna, 7 November 2008