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Statement by the Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson at the United Nations General Assembly on the Adoption of the resolution A/69/L.53 “A Global Geodetic Reference Frame for Sustainable Development”

New York
Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mr. President,

Distinguished Delegates,

I have the honour to introduce document A/69/L.53 entitled, “A global geodetic reference frame for sustainable development “on behalf of the 52 co-sponsors reflected in this resolution under the current Agenda Item 9.

Mr. President,

The Fiji delegation wishes to firstly thank all member states for their continuous support throughout the consultations process. By way of introduction, this resolution before you stems from the texts previously adopted by the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management and by the Economic and Social Council in August and November 2014. The current text preserves the essence of what the Committee of Experts had intended for this initiative, namely, to leverage the importance of a globally- coordinated approach to geodesy, based on the premise of accurately measuring the location, shape, rotation and gravitational field of the planet.

As the planet revolves in constant motion, a point of reference is needed, and geodesy provides this through an accurate and stable coordinate reference frame to relate measurements taken at different times and locations.

Recognizing that “no one country can do this alone”, a common global geodetic reference frame will enable multilateral cooperation on geodesy, including through the open sharing of geospatial data, further capacity-building in developing countries, and the creation of international standards and conventions.

We take this opportunity to emphasize the important role played by the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, which was created by ECOSOC in 2011, to develop the proposed “roadmap” that  will establish this common global geodetic reference frame. The information to be derived from this important work will be beneficial to the development work of the international community, as it will be fundamental to satellite remote-sensing by which changes in populations, ice caps, oceans and the atmosphere can be tracked over time. Such geospatial measurements will support sustainable development policymaking, climate change monitoring, and natural disaster management, and will also have a wide range of applications for transport, agriculture and construction.

As a Small Island Developing State, Fiji is vulnerable to increasingly severe natural disasters, sea-level rise and other problems triggered by climate change. We use geodesy data for our disaster preparedness action plans, and we greatly appreciate the importance of critical geospatial infrastructure and information in helping countries such as ours make more informed, evidence-based decisions on mitigation and preparedness.

Furthermore, as a troop contributing country to UN peacekeeping operations, we believe that increased accuracy and sustainable geospatial information will ensure that the blue helmets operate with more reliable evidence-based data thereby leading to greater effectiveness of UN Peacekeeping Missions.

Mr. President

In this critical year of determining the global course of action to improve people’s lives and protect the planet for the next fifteen years, the adoption of this resolution will do its bit in making us better able to realize the goals of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Practical solutions and international cooperation will be integral to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, and the creation of the global geodetic reference frame for sustainable development will be a trustworthy tool in helping deliver those solutions in a spirit of international cooperation.

Finally Mr. President, the Fiji delegation wishes to thank all member states that have co-sponsored this resolution for their support, and we look forward to the adoption of this resolution.

I thank you Mr. President






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