United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs


United Nations/European Space Agency/Austria/Switzerland Workshop on Remote Sensing in the Service of Sustainable Development in Mountain Areas
Kathmandu, Nepal, 15 � 19 November 2004

Organized by The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs
Hosted by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)


Available online resources:


1. Background

Mountain areas are one of the most environmentally delicate regions, with unique problems that must be solved. The population of mountain regions is normally concentrated in valleys, living from agriculture or tourism industries. Therefore it is important that policy for development of mountain areas is environmentally and economically sustainable. Reality, however, is often contrary: overused or eroded soils and the destruction of natural forest cause landslides, while the natural topography is susceptible to floods and avalanches, all causing disastrous effects in the overpopulated valley areas. Shortages of clean water sources are a problem in mountain areas resulting from combinations of natural disaster and human impact. Climate change in mountain areas can reduce the stability of rock (permafrost), increasing the probability of landslides. Drought and forest fires are other disasters experienced in mountain areas.

Sustainable development requires optimal management of natural resources and depends upon the availability of reliable and up-to-date information at national, regional, and international levels. Remotely sensed data provide a view of the Earth for many studies that require synoptic or periodic observations such as inventory, surveying, and monitoring in agriculture, hydrology, geology, mineralogy, and environment. Remote sensing is viewed as a discipline that is integrated with other disciplines such as photogrammetry, cartography, geodetic reference systems, global positioning systems, and geographic information systems.

As well as having considerable potential, remote sensing of mountain areas has some technological constraints. These constraints should be defined and considered in the planning of any capacity building activities. In the application of remote sensing to development in mountain areas, education plays a pivotal role in its effective adoption.

Communication in mountainous regions is often expensive, unreliable and difficult to access. Satellite communications can offer a cost-effective solution and have a crucial role to play in disaster management, education and health care in mountainous regions. Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) are indispensable in the application of remote sensing and in disaster management.

The Workshop is endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly as one of the activities of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications for 2004. The Workshop is being organised in co-operation with the Governments of Austria and Switzerland and the European Space Agency (ESA).


2. Objectives

The primary objective of the workshop is to discuss how remote sensing, satellite communications and GNSS can be used in projects in sustainable development in mountainous areas, with the aim of developing priorities for building capacity in remote sensing for the benefit of mountainous regions.

The Workshop programme will include case studies in the application of remote sensing to mountain areas and ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal) will play a major role in the programme planning to ensure that all important aspects of development in mountain areas are covered.


3. Location and Date of the Workshop

The Workshop will be held from 15 � 19 November 2004 in Kathmandu, Nepal.


4. Programme of the Workshop

The programme of this five-day Workshop will include presentations and discussions on the following topics:

  • Remote sensing applied to:
    • Water cycle � including permafrost, land use, erosion, global climate change
    • Disaster Management
    • Earthquakes
  • Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and its role in remote sensing and disaster management.
  • Satellite communications, especially in disaster management
  • Follow-up projects to be possibly undertaken by the participants from ICIMOD Member States, including financing of follow-up projects and provision of expertise and consulting services.
  • Case studies of remote sensing, GNSS and satellite communications applied to mountain areas.
  • Education in remote sensing for mountain areas.

The outcome of the workshop will be a series of observations, recommendations and proposals for future activities which will build capacity in remote sensing, satellite communications and GNSS for mountain areas.


5. Language of the Workshop

Applicants must have a good knowledge of ENGLISH, which will be the working language of the Workshop.


6. Participation

Workshop participants shall be active educators, engineers and scientists with an in-depth knowledge of and experience in the programme topics of the Workshop as described in section 4. Applications from qualified female participants are particularly encouraged.

The sponsors will jointly select international participants from candidates nominated by their governments and/or institutions. Selection of participants will be made on the basis of: (i) educational background; (ii) experience relevant to the Workshop objectives and programme, as well as available case studies; and (iii) compliance with the instructions issued in the application form, a copy of which is enclosed herewith. A limited amount of funding will be available to sponsor the travel and accommodation of a limited number of participants.


7. Submission of Applications

The original of the completed application form should be submitted through the Office of the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in the applicant's country.

A copy of the completed application form, properly endorsed by applicant's government/institution, should be submitted directly to the:

Office for Outer Space Affairs
United Nations Office at Vienna
Vienna International Centre
P.O. BOX 500
A 1400 Vienna, AUSTRIA
Fax: (+43 1) 26060 5830
Phone: (+43 1) 26060- 4911
E-mail: oosa@unvienna.org













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