Since 1967 and until 2017 the United Nations have organized every five years conferences on the standardization of geographical names, with the goal of promoting the use of standardized place names in international communication. Items discussed at the conferences include:

Starting 2019 these tasks have been overtaken by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) that holds sessions every two years, the 1st session of the new UNGEGN took place in April-May 2019.

The activities of UNGEGN are based on regional cooperation. In 1992, at the Sixth UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names the Baltic Division was formed. The Division consists of experts from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland (since 2012) and the Russian Federation. The coordinators and Chairs of the Baltic Division have been the following: 1992–1998 Estonia (Peeter Päll), 1998–2002 Latvia (Jurģis Kavacs, Vita Strautniece), 2002–2007 Lithuania (Danutė Mardosienė), 2007–2012 Estonia (Aule Kikas), 2012–2017 Russian Federation (Marina Morozova), 2018–2021 Latvia (Vita Strautniece). Since 2021 the Division is coordinated by Poland, and the Vice-Chair is named by Lithuania. In addition to linguistic/geographical divisions UNGEGN has formed working groups to deal with specific questions. These working groups are attended by experts from various countries.

During the four-year period from 2021 to 2025 Poland will coordinate the activities of the Division. At the 21st meeting of the Division held in Tallinn/virtually in September 2021 Mr. Maciej Zych was elected Chairperson of the Baltic Division. Ms Rita Viliuvienė from Lithuania will serve as Vice-Chair.

To give an overview on the activities of the Baltic Division concerning the standardization of geographical names the Place Names Board of Estonia has opened a page that contains documents in English and Russian, presented at earlier international forums on names standardization. In addition to the work in the Baltic Division experts have participated as guests at sessions of the Norden Division and Eastern Europe, North and Central Asia Division of UNGEGN.

More information on the activities of the United Nations in the field of standardization of geographical names you may find at the UNGEGN website.

Homepage of the Place Names Board of Estonia

See also:

Opening of the page: 13 October 1997
Last changes: 28 April 2023
Comments, suggestions (Peeter Päll)