FIG Council

Tackling the Global Challenges

Work Plan 2023-2026

For People and the Planet


The Council’s vision is
Serving society, benefitting people and the planet: Tackling the Global Challenges


The aim of FIG is to be the premier international non-governmental organisation that represents the interests of surveyors and users of surveying services in all countries in the world. A United Nations and World Bank recognized non-governmental organization of national member associations, cadastral and mapping agencies and ministries, universities and corporates from all over the world. It is a federation of member associations all of whom seek excellence in the services that they deliver.

Aiming to promote professional practice and standards, the objectives of the Federation are set out in its statutes (FIG Publication 66).


FIG’s agenda for the period 2023 to 2026 is underpinned by the need for a sustainable profession that delivers services in a sustainable manner and address the global sustainable development agenda and to act now to address the climate agenda.

To continue to provide leadership in society we must be ready to innovate, to adapt and to lead the response to change. To remain impactful over the coming decades, all of our members’ work will be shaped by the major global forces affecting societies. These include climate action, rapid urbanization, environmental and resource stewardship, technology revolution and demographic influences.

None of us can ignore the impact that the series of global crisis including the COVID pandemic has had on us as individuals, our organisations and FIG itself. Now is the time to turn our attention to the future building on the foundations that have been laid by previous FIG councils.

As a global professional body, FIG will need to ensure that it remains relevant and maintains an influential voice at all levels to serve society, benefitting people and the planet at the same time as making sure no-one is left behind. As professionals in the land, built and natural environments, we will need to step up to ensure we remain relevant and demonstrate our resolve. This means we will all need to demonstrate:

  • Clarity and collaboration – a listening and action approach
  • Purpose and reliability – a visible approach
  • Action and courage – working together to deliver

Workplan rationale

This workplan is not about wholesale change of FIG. Rather, it is evolutionary and builds on previous plans and the ongoing work of the organisation and its members. The focus for this four-year term is about maintaining our societal relevance, contributing to sustainable development, and responding to the climate agenda. By reaching out in the things we do, the workplan includes a number of actions that focus on our people, our members; to make sure that we all continue to develop and grow to ensure that as individuals and a federation of members we remain relevant and capable of benefitting people and the planet at the same time as making sure no-one is left behind. We all contribute our efforts to FIG on a voluntary basis and the success of FIG lies in all our collective hands.

In its Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations (UN) has set out its 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) up until 2030 to guide all global, regional and national development. In 2022, the COP27 marked the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. There are key links between the climate change response and broader sustainability which FIG reflects. Clearly, the sustainability and climate agenda will continue well beyond 2030.
The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is universal, it is transformative and rights based. It is an ambitious plan of action. At its heart are five key dimensions: people, planet, partnership, peace and prosperity. This is important because it is an inspirational foundation for the approach to the Council’s workplan. It inspires us to think creatively and critically rethink the way we approach the development challenges of today.

These dimensions provide a framework and is used as the basis for the underlying sustainability agenda that runs throughout the FIG workplan.  Using this as a framework helps to better understand the direction of our activities and supports the identification of our actions. The result are four pillars articulated as broad aims and can influence to build the capacity, develop standards thereby ensuring the professional sustainability of FIG members work and contribution.

Professionals have an instrumental part to play in navigating the global mega trends affecting societies. In a world of rapid and dramatic change, climate action is underpinning everything we need to do now. To walk the path to climate equity we need adaptive and resilient action in our cities/settlements and for our planet.

Further, these trends present global as well as local challenges.  Our response will transform much of what we take for granted about work and our societal contribution. How this affects society and so professions are a subtle combination of five forces (footnote: Prof L.Gratton)

The needs of a low carbon economy Rapid advances in technology
Increasing globalisation Profound changes in longevity and demography
Transformational societal changes and expectations

Our profession, and therefore FIG, has a key role in bridging the gap between high level strategy and policy and actions on the ground that contribute to sustainable development and tackle the climate agenda. We are well placed to clearly articulate how to deliver meaningful actions around the world.

The FIG 2023- 2026 tenure will steer and advocate for change using the above in a visionary framework that highlights sustainability at multiple levels over the four-year term. 

The Council proposes an overall theme in the next term: “Tackling the global challenges”.

The FIG work plan therefore, builds on the pillars to focus on three key aims and objectives of people, planet and partnership. It will also have one inward focussing aim and objective, looking at our own profession and governance:

  • Planet
  • People
  • Partnership
  • Governance and communication

Aims and Objectives

The UN Agenda 203 and its key dimensions are helpful because they provide an approach for FIG working in sustainable development to base our own workplans on. That is why we have chosen to use this as a framework in our workplan. Given the nature of our profession, our workplan focusses on the dimensions that are most relevant to us – that is planet, people and partnership. Clearly peace and prosperity are also key to sustainable development and our work will inevitably contribute to these, but the main focus of our workplan aims and structure will be around planet, people & partnership.

FIG will execute these aims through the activities of the Council and the Permanent Institutions and through the coordinated efforts and interaction between the Council and ACCO representing the work of the ten professional commissions covering all aspects of the surveying profession.


Sustainability in the context of planet is about making sure we make best use of land resources and that our cities and settlements are resilient and adaptive. Sustainability and climate action is key to all that we do at FIG. As survey professionals from the built environment, land and natural resources sector, we have a key role to play in the trends impacting societies around the world. FIG should have play a more prominent role than it currently does in the climate agenda.

The focus of objectives will be:

  • Outreach and responding to global organisations and the 2030 sustainability development agenda by ensuring we remain aligned with the UN family and to continue to have an influential voice.
  • Ensure link between global policy agenda to the local individual surveyor to ensure they remain relevant.
  • Building professional capacity for our members to stay technically up to date in the climate arena, to ensure that they deliver a professional service.
  • Work with the habitat professionals’ forum to advance the sustainability agenda and work with other professionals in the land and built environment arena.
    Task forces 
  • Council will continue the task force to cover the role of FIG members and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
  • Council will set up a task force on climate action to be led by the young surveyors and populated by the whole FIG membership base.

Sustainability in the context of people is about making sure that we demonstrate equality, diversity and inclusion. We need to make sure that we leave no one behind in our profession. We need to ensure that our skills, training and development keeps us relevant, particularly in relation to transformation and technology, across all our disciplines. These are key to the long-term existence of the surveyors’ profession.

The focus of our objectives will be:

  • Council will facilitate the voice of young surveyors across all of FIG’s structures, in particular inviting each of the regional young surveyors’ chairs to take part in council meetings as observers.
  • Support the work of the commissions, who are at the very heart of FIG activities, to be active and dynamic and that they encourage continually professional development opportunities to build the capacity of all surveyors across all ages in the commission structure.
  • Promote professional development by providing a global forum for discussion and exchange of experiences and new developments between member countries and individual professionals relating to FIG annual conferences and the work of the ten technical commissions within their working groups and commission seminars.
  • Promote equality, diversity and inclusion across all protected characteristics in the profession, in the structure of FIG and in our global conferences.
  • Foster a culture where individual members and corporate members are actively involved in FIG and sharing experiences.
  • Supporting member associations to attract new recruits into the profession.
  • Continuing the development of professional skills and standards within the commission structures and permanent institutions to ensure that members remain relevant to society, and in particular driven by the FIG Standards network.
    Task forces
  • Council will set up an outward facing task force to encourage young people into the profession
  • Council will set up a task force on the role of FIG in International trends and future Geospatial Information Ecosystem

Sustainability in the context of partnership is about making sure that both internal and external partnerships are working effectively and cultivating stronger engagement. As we emerge from the pandemic, we have the opportunity to build on the use of technology that we all became accustomed to using in our partnership working. Internal and external partnerships are key to the success of FIG.

The focus of our objectives will be:

  • Effective member engagement activity with and between all FIG members (Member associations, affiliates, academic members and companies) to ensure everyone gets the benefits of being a member.
  • Build relationships with external partners and provide a global forum for institutional development through cooperation with international organisations such as the United Nations and its agencies and others, as listed in our strategic partners and to provide clear communications about FIG activities and opportunities to listen to the views of all our stakeholders.  
  • Promoting the benefits of FIG to external organisations and promoting the profession generally.
  • Assisting institutional capacity development of national mapping agencies (e.g through annual Director General sessions), national surveying associations and survey companies to tackle the challenges of the future. The Council will also provide institutional support to individual member countries or regions with regard to developing the basic capacity in terms of educational programmes and professional organisations, when asked.
  • Develop our messaging about the value of being a FIG member, and promote the value of membership in under-represented regions.
Governance and communications

Sustainability in the context of governance and communications is about making sure that FIG is stable, effective and efficient. It is also about making sure that we are flexible and able to respond quickly to changing trends in economic and political cycles.

The focus of our objectives will be:

  • Supporting and empowering the Advisory Council of Commission Officers (ACCO) and their commission activities and seminars.
  • Enhance the profile of commissions and their technical programs at each annual working week
  • Continuing the sound financial management and organisational governance of FIG.
  • Considering, developing and delivering a modern, successful, innovative annual conference mindful to avoid possible overload and increasingly scarce financial and human resources.
  • Explore ways of better using technology in general assemblies and facilitate the use of technology in all FIG activities.
  • Provide clear regular communications and listen to what members need.
  • Oversee and support the FIG administration office
  • Supporting the continuing evolution of the organisation.
  • Ensure the human, financial and physical resources are in place for FIG to deliver its work.
    Council Working Tasks/ groups
  • To recognises the evolutionary and impactful organisational changes since FIG was established in 1878, Council will commission a publication to mark FIG 150th anniversary
  • To recognise the importance and depth of knowledge produced by FIG members and held by FIG either as Intellectual Property or otherwise, Council will review FIG knowledge assets and infrastructure to determine its policy and develop a strategy that will be fit for the future.
  • FIG Council will review, with the FIG office, the outcomes of the governance task force 2019 -2021 and consider how to implement its recommendations

Responsibilities of the council members 2023 – 2026

The Council is responsible for preparing the Annual Review; preparing and recommending the annual budget as well as a four-year rolling projections of regular income and expenditure; considering and setting membership fees for members except for member associations; developing Council policies; considering, negotiating and recommending partnership arrangement via Memoranda of Understanding; and monitoring and reviewing the overall performance of the Federation.

The individual responsibilities of the members of the Council are listed in the ‘Roles & Responsibilities’ document.  This list of responsibilities will be updated in relation to the plan of action for implementing the Council Work Plan as necessary.

Footnote: Professor Lynda Gratton - The Shift: The future of Work, William Collis 2014 ISBN 978-0-00-752585-0