For a number of years, the Norwegian Mapping Authority has implemented Norwegian-funded projects in, among others, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine. Since the countries have a common past, they also have common issues, which we try to solve. It has become a good tradition to organize regional conferences to provide an opportunity to get to know one another, to share experiences and to look at new technologies and methods that can be useful. Every year we try to create an exciting program for the event and to combine the professional content with social activities. Each year we select a relevant topic, which is most relevant to participants and which is also high on the political agenda. This year, Georgia's Kakheti region was selected as the conference venue.
This year’s theme
This year we had IGIF - Integrated Geospatial Information Framework, as the main theme. IGIF is a framework developed by the World Bank, the UN and the FAO, with which the Mapping Authority collaborates on the implementation of IGIF in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine. We have received solid support from Andrew Coote, who is familiar with the Mapping Authority from before, and who is one of the authors of the IGIF concept.
We organized the conference with our partner in Georgia - the National Agency of Public Registers, a national authority under the Georgia's Ministry of Justice and responsible for all national public records. NAPR's area of responsibility is a combination of the Norwegian Mapping Authority and the Brønnøysund Register Center if you compare it with Norway. The local support of the preparations was crucial for the success of the conference.
There were a total of 50 participants. In addition to the participants from Georgia, Moldova, Norway, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, delegates from Germany and Tajikistan, representing GIZ - the German aid authority, with whom we work closely in Kyrgyzstan participated. Pictured: Participants from Georgia, Moldova. Norway, Ukraine, Germany and Tajikistan at Chateu Buera in Lopota, Georgia
Georgia welcomed the governor of the Kakheti region.
Norway was represented by Ambassador Helene Sand Andresen. Norway has recently opened an embassy in Tbilisi, and it was actually the first welcome speech for Ambassador Andresen in her role in Georgia.
Interim goals achieved
The countries presented their current situation with geodata and associated infrastructure - what in IGIF is called "baseline assessment" with an overview of governance sets, political priorities, legislation, financing, cooperation and available geodata. Then the countries continued working in groups to outline concrete plans for spatial data collaboration and development of spatial data infrastructure. From the Mapping Authority, Arvid Lillethun led the group work for Kyrgyzstan, Roy Mellum - for Moldova, Kåre Kyrkjeeide - for Ukraine and Elena Busch - for Georgia.
The countries will continue to work on the action plans, which they will present at the annual World Bank's Land and Poverty Conference in Washington in March next year. The Mapping Authority will continue to highlight this important work and we have also submitted an application to hold a Masterclass "Implementation of Integrated Geospatial Information Framework: Experiences and Challenges" at this conference.
Andrew Coote from ConsultWhere thanks everyone for a fantastic effort at the conference. He said "First let me say how much I enjoyed working with the Kartverket team and the delegates during the workshop last week. The organisation and location was first class, which you could easily observe made the event more successful."
Here is a video of the event.