United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names Contribution to the 2020 High Level Political Forum
“Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”
The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) works towards every country having globally aligned guidelines, standards, frameworks and the capacity to enable them to decide on their own nationally standardized geographical names through the creation of national names authorities or recognized administrative processes. Countries are also encouraged to create national geographical names databases and web-based geographical names applications and products that disseminate and provide easy access to geographical names for national and international use and the preservation of their culture, heritage, language and identity.
Standardized geographical names (the names of places and features) are not often in the limelight, yet, they are “sine qua non” to every facet of our lives and are vital keys to existing in our digital world. Geographical names are an indispensable locational component of many information systems supporting mission critical operations across every sector of business and government. Accurate and standardized geographical names are, therefore, more than just place names on a map, they are a fundamental means of communication, aiding cooperation among local, national and international organizations. They are a key component of addressing and therefore critical for emergency management and disaster response. Geographical names constitute a fundamental data set that permits the integration of disparate digital data sets which are powerful decision-making tools for governments seeking to formulate policies and strategies, and prepare, implement and monitor development plans and projects. Moreover, geographical names is an integral referencing component that underpins a nation’s geospatial information management, which is needed to contribute even more to the work of the United Nations, especially in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.