The Ninth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Africa


Was established in May 1961 by Resolution 816 adopted by Economic and Social Council. It is one of the three series of regional cartographic conferences convened by the United Nations secretariat.

  • UN Regional Cartographic Conference for the Americas
  • UN Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific
  • UN Regional Cartographic Conference for Africa

It was retained by the ECA Conference of Ministers at its nineteenth meeting in May 1993, as one of the subsidiary organs of the Commission, to be held every three years.


In general terms are to provide a regional forum were government officials, planners, scientists and experts from both the public and private sector, from Africa and abroad, meet to address common needs, problems and exchange experiences in the field of geoinformation. It offers the best opportunity for African participants to interact with their counterparts from the developing and the developed world, and constitutes an excellent platform to lay down contacts for negotiations of bilateral and multilateral technical assistance.

Theme, dates and venue:

The Ninth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Africa, with the theme "Providing the foundations for accelerated growth and sustainable development through cartography and other forms of land resource and environmental information technologies,"

was held at the new UN Conference Centre at the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 11 to 15 November 1996.


The Conference was attended by representatives from twenty seven African countries and eight non-African countries from Europe and the Americas. It also counted with observers from 7 regional organizations and 18 national and international organizations, encompassing NGOs, IGOs, the industry and the private sector.


During the five days of the Conference, reports on national, subregional, regional and international activities were presented. The reports highlighted the progress made by the respective countries and organizations in the fields of cartography, remote sensing and geographic information systems.

The technical papers covered data acquisition, data manipulation and utilization, regional mapping issues, and policies and management of geoinformation. The following issues were addressed in detail:

  • Land tenure and land registration
  • Managing resource information
  • Capacity building
  • Partnership between the public and private sectors
  • Gender and Geoinformation
  • Future directions of institutions responsible for the provision of base-line geographic information.
  • During the final deliberations, the Conference discussed and adopted its report (ECA/NRD/ CART.9/9), including one resolution recommending actions to be implemented by member States, the ECA and other organizations to improve the spatial information base of Africa.

In partcular, among other important matters, the resolution:

Encourages member States to:

  • establish spatially related information systems consisting primarily of cadastral, topographic, demographic, land cover and land use information as a matter of urgency and to make this information available to developing projects
  • use the existing regional centres to facilitate capacity building and to allocate adequate funds for this activity and for the transfer of technology in all fields of geoinformation
  • take cognizance of the need for the participation of women in cartographic activities where this is not being done
  • establish national committees on geographic information systems to coordinate activities on the use of technology and spatially related information
  • provide an enabling environment for the stimulation of the private sector, and facilitate the creation of professional associations in the fields of surveying, cartography, remote sensing and geographic information systems.
  • urges maritime African member States and those with navigable waters to express support to the establishment of regional hydrographic and nautical training facilities.
  • make concerted efforts in paying their contributions to the regional organizations in the fields of cartography and remote sensing to which they belong

requests the Economic Commission for Africa to:

  • coordinate, together with AOCRS and the regional centres, the establishment of a working group on data standards for spatially related information.
  • establish and maintain a database on the status of mapping and geographic information coverage and programmes, including, inter-alia, technologies in use, physical and human resources, and gender participation
  • establish and maintain a database of educational and training facilities and programmes in Africa and disseminate this information;

Future perspectives:
The functions of the United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Africa will be subsumed by the Committee on Development Information within the proposed reform of the intergovernmental machinery of the Economic Commission for Africa.