The United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Africa was established in May 1961 by Resolution 816 adopted by the Economic and Social Council. It is one of three regional cartographic conferences convened by the UN Secretariat: Africa, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific.
The objectives in general terms are to provide a regional forum where 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 geo-information. 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.
The majority of elements in the program of work of ECA in the field of cartography and remote sensing emanated from the conferences. Despite the accepted importance of these meetings, attendance was dwindling, and by the fifth session in 1983, questions were raised about the future of the meetings, but it was decided to continue, nevertheless.
The conference for Africa was retained by the Economic Commission for Africa 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.
Similar conferences advised ECA on other programmatic areas and by 1979, there were 32 such legislative and subsidiary bodies. Eventually, a reform process was initiated to re-focus the activities of ECA, avoid duplication and overlap in the legislative bodies, and promote greater efficiency and effectiveness. The revision of the intergovernmental machinery began in 1993 and the renewal process of ECA to serve Africa better started in 1995. These reforms resulted in five programmes, one of which is "harnessing information for development".
The main objective of the harnessing information sub-programme is to assist African member States in developing information and communication infrastructure plans as key to expediting and enhancing data sharing and electronic connectivity in Africa; and to support member States' efforts in improving the quality of statistics through technical assistance in areas of collection, processing, analysis and standardization of methods and concepts. The cartographic and other related activities fell under this sub-programme. The associated legislative body for this sub-programme is the Committee on Development Information (CODI), which combined the regional conferences that dealt with cartography, statistics, population issues and information technology.
In 2009, CODI was renamed as Committee on Development Information, Science and Technology (CODIST).
first meeting of the new CODI sub-committee on Geoinformation
(CODI-Geo) was held from 28 June to
The conference has been held in:
1. Nairobi, Kenya 1-12 July 1963
2. Tunis, Tunisia 14-24 September 1966
4. Abidjan, Ivory Coast 4-11 November 1979
9. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 11-15 November 1996
CODI meetings have been held in:
1. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 28 June-
2. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 4-7 September 2001
3. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 10-13 May 2003
CODIST meetings have been held in:
Stamp catalogue - 2nd conference - 1966