United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names

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The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) is one of the nine expert groups of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and deals with the national and international standardization of geographical names. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_0

Every five years they hold the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_1

History United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_section_0

The question of standardizing geographical names was raised by the United Nations Cartographic Section of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in the late 1940s. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_2

After discussions in the 1950s and ECOSOC resolution 715A (XXVII) of 1959, the first meeting of a group of experts was convened in New York City in 1960. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_3

This group recommended that a UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names be held. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_4

In 1967 this took place in Geneva, with the confirmation that national standardization should be the basis of international standardization. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_5

Mandate and tasks United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_section_1

The remit of UNGEGN is to deal with the problems of domestic and international standardization of geographical names, and to offer suggestions and recommendations for (mainly linguistic) standardization. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_6

Being one of the seven expert groups of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, UNGEGN is mandated to follow up on the implementation of resolutions and to continue activities between the United Nations Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names held every five years. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_7

UNGEGN aims to emphasize the importance of the standardization of geographical names at the national and international levels, to show the benefits of this, and to assist countries in standardization of geographical names where it is lacking. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_8

Furthermore, UNGEGN facilitates and encourages the discussion of the results of work on national standardization and arising issues, the dissemination of best practices, and a wide user community awareness of nationally authorized geographical names. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_9

Structure United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_section_2

UNGEGN reports to the UN Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names held at five-yearly intervals. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_10

It is supported by a Secretariat provided by the United Nations Statistics Division, and its Bureau. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_11

UNGEGN meets formally on two occasions between Conferences and works on names standardization through Working Groups and Special task teams, as well as through Divisions. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_12

These so-called Divisions are groups of countries with common interests based on geography and/or language. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_13

To interact with other scientific organizations, UNGEGN has appointed a number of liaison officers. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_14

Bureau United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_section_3

The UNGEGN Bureau consists of a Chair, two Vice-Chairs and two Rapporteurs. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_15

The current Bureau is composed as follows: United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_16

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_unordered_list_0

  • Chair: Pierre Jaillard (France)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_0_0
  • Vice-Chairs: Sungjae Choo (Republic of Korea), Hasanuddin Abidin (Indonesia)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_0_1
  • Rapporteurs: Trent C. Palmer (USA), Wendy Shaw (New Zealand)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_0_2

Former chairpersons: United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_17

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_unordered_list_1

  • Meredith F. Burrill (USA, 1967–1977)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_1_3
  • Josef Breu (Austria, 1977–1982)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_1_4
  • Dirk Peter Blok (Netherlands, 1982–1987)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_1_5
  • Henri Dorion (Canada, 1987–1991)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_1_6
  • Peter E. Raper (South Africa, 1991–2002)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_1_7
  • Helen Kerfoot (Canada, 2002–2012)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_1_8
  • William Watt (Australia, 2012-2019)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_1_9

Divisions United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_section_4

UNGEGN is composed of experts from various linguistic/geographical divisions that have been established by the UN Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_18

Countries decide for themselves the division(s) to which they wish to belong; some belong to more than one division. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_19

A division chair is selected within a division and he/she is encouraged to stimulate activities in the standardization of geographical names within the division, through technical meetings, correspondence, etc. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_20

Currently, there are 24 divisions that guide the work of UNGEGN during and between its sessions: United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_21

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_unordered_list_2

  • Africa Central DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_10
  • Africa East DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_11
  • Africa South DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_12
  • Africa West DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_13
  • Arabic DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_14
  • Asia East Division (other than China)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_15
  • Asia South-East DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_16
  • Asia South-West Division (other than Arabic)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_17
  • Baltic DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_18
  • Celtic DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_19
  • China DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_20
  • Dutch- and German-speaking DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_21
  • East Central and South-East Europe DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_22
  • Eastern Europe, Northern and Central Asia DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_23
  • East Mediterranean Division (other than Arabic)United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_24
  • French-speaking DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_25
  • India DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_26
  • Latin America DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_27
  • Norden DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_28
  • Pacific South-West DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_29
  • Portuguese-speaking DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_30
  • Romano-Hellenic DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_31
  • United Kingdom DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_32
  • USA/Canada DivisionUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_2_33

Working Groups United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_section_5

Under the umbrella of UNGEGN, several Working Groups have been created to follow up topics and issues which cut across the Divisional structure of UNGEGN. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_22

In addition, UNGEGN has a Task Team for Africa and coordinates the work of countries in developing their Toponymic Guidelines. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_23

Currently there are 9 UNGEGN Working Groups: United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_24

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_unordered_list_3

  • Working Group on Country NamesUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_3_34
  • Working Group on Toponymic Data Files and GazetteersUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_3_35
  • Working Group on Toponymic TerminologyUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_3_36
  • Working Group on Publicity and FundingUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_3_37
  • Working Group on Romanization SystemsUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_3_38
  • Working Group on Training Courses in ToponymyUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_3_39
  • Working Group on Evaluation and ImplementationUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_3_40
  • Working Group on ExonymsUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_3_41
  • Working Group on Geographical Names as Cultural HeritageUnited Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_item_3_42

The former Working Group on Pronunciation has been disbanded in 2017. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_25

Conference United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_section_6

The United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names is a periodic international conference organised by the United Nations Statistical Commission, the central purpose of which is to facilitate the standardization of national geographical names. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_26

The purpose of the Conference is not to settle political disputes between states on the use (or non-use) of particular geographical names. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_27

The conference takes place every five years at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_28

It can be conducted at a different location, if a country offers to host the conference and to pay the additional costs of hosting the conference away from UN HQ. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_29

Each country may send a delegation. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_30

Members of these delegations are mainly experts on geographical names from their respective countries. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_31

The most recent conference, the 11th, was held in New York in August 2017. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_sentence_32

See also United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_section_7

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names_unordered_list_4


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names.