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Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside the Republic of Poland

 

History

The first organ in Poland to tackle the issues of geographical names outside Poland was the Commission on Geographical Names established in 1951 at the Polish Geographical Society. In 1953 the commission moved to the Polish Academy of Sciences' Institute of Geography, changing its name to the Commission to Establish Geographical Names and began to tackle the drafting of Polish geographical names of important objects situated outside Polish borders, publishing the fruits of its efforts between 1952 and 1956 in 15 brochures in the Geographical Bulletin and Geographical Documentation and also, in 1959, in the compendium: Polish Geographical Names of the World, elaborated by L. Ratajski, J. Szewczyk and P. Zwoliński. Though used in many dictionaries, encyclopaedias and geographical works, this publication never possessed official legal status.

Appointing an official standardization body

The worldwide campaign to standardize geographical names initiated by the United Nations Organization to which the First International UN Conference in 1967 in Geneva was devoted, resulted in an urgent need to create in Poland a body authorised to establish formal geographical names of the world, deciding on the scope to which traditional Polish names may be used, settling ways of transcription and transliteration from, for instance, non-Roman alphabets. The Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography was the initiator, then, of the creation of such a commission. Once the proposal had been elaborated jointly with the Polish Academy of Sciences' Institute of Geography and consulted with interested institutions, it was decided the above commission would operate under direct guidance of the President of the Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography. In the final account the presented proposals were not approved by the erstwhile leadership of the Office.

The Commission on Standardization of World Geographical Names was appointed by the Prime Minister in 1973 subordinate to the Minister o Science, Higher Education and Technology (regulation No. 29 of 12 April 1973) with Lech Ratajski as president. After his decease in November 1977, the activities of the Commission were interrupted till end 1978 when the Prime Minister, by regulation No.75 of 4 December 1978 nominated the Commission on Standardization of World Geographical Names but of a different composition. Its president was Jerzy Kondracki.

Further organisational changes occurred in 1984 when the Minister of Science, Higher Education and Technology, by a regulation of 22 February nominated a new Commission and modified its name to Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside Poland. Its president was again Jerzy Kondracki. The work of the Commission was suspended between June1985 till May 1987.

The Commission was reappointed in 1987 by the Minister of Science and Higher education. After the next reorganisation of state administration, under decision No. 21 of the Minister of National Education of 11 October 1988 the Commission became an organ of the Ministry of National Education where it continued working under chairman Jerzy Kondracki till 1997. The Commission's final meeting within the Ministry of National Education took place on 4 November 1997.

Following the reorganisation of the state administration in 1997, the Commission was allocated to the Surveyor General of Poland within the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration. It was next appointed by that Minister by regulation of 24 March 2000 together with definition of the manner and scope of its activities. The composition of the Commission was established by the Surveyor General of Poland by regulation No. 9/2000 of 4 September 2000.

During a successive reorganisation of the national administration the Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography, together with the Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside Poland were brought into the structure of the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction. In the wake of the Act of 22 December 2000, the name of the Commission was again modified into Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside the Republic of Poland. In October 2001 the Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography, together with the Commission, were brought into the structure of the Ministry of Infrastructure (witch changed its name to the Ministry of Transport and Construction in October 2005), in May 2006 into structure of the Ministry of Construction, in February 2007 into structure of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, in November 2011 into structure of the Ministry of Administration and Digitization, and in November 2015 into structure of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Construction.


Names of the Commission:

  • 1951-1953: Commission on Geographical Names
  • 1953-1972: Commission on Establishing Geographical Names
  • 1973-1984: Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names of the World
  • 1984-1998: Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside Poland
  • 1 January 1999 – 23 February: 2000 Commission on Standardization of Names Outside Poland
  • 23 February 2000 – 30 March 2001: Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside Poland
  • since 30 March 2001: Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside the Republic of Poland
Affiliation of the Commission:
  • 1951-1953: at the Polish Geographical Society
  • 1953-1972: at the Institute of Geography of the Polish Academy of Sciences
  • 1973-1985: at the Minister of Science, Higher Education and Technology
  • 1987-1988: at the Minister of Science, Higher Education
  • 1988-1996: at the Minister of National Education
  • since 1 January 1997: at the Surveyor General of Poland
Chairmens of the Commission:
Chairmens of the Commission at the Polish Geographical Society and at the Institute of Geography of the Polish Academy of Sciences, in years 1951-72:
  • Stanisław Leszczycki
  • Franciszek Uhorczak
  • Lech Ratajski
Chairmens of the Commission at the Ministers and at the Surveyor General of Poland:
  • Lech Ratajski (1973-1977)
  • Jerzy Kondracki (1978-1997)
  • Maksymilian Skotnicki (2000-2007)
  • Waldemar Rudnicki (21st March 2007 – 7th November 2012)
  • Ewa Wolnicz-Pawłowska (since 7th November 2012)