World Disaster Report "Focus on local actors, the key to humanitarian effectiveness"

Launch hosted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), and the Norwegian Embassy and the Austrian Red Cross

Opening Remarks by Simonetta Di Pippo Director, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), 5 October 2015, Vienna International Centre

Dear Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is with great pleasure that I speak here today at the launch of the 2015 IFRC World Disasters Report. It is fitting that the launch of this highly important report takes place during the 2015 UN-declared World Space Week, a celebration of the contribution of space for humanity. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs aims to promote the role that space technologies play in, for example, disaster risk reduction, emergency response and humanitarian assistance. As space continues to play an increasingly vital role in helping to coordinate relief efforts, particularly for first responders, I feel it is of huge significance to discuss this year's World Disasters Report. My office hosted this IFRC event two years ago for the 2013 World Disasters Report which focussed on technology and the future of humanitarian intervention and it is great to once again play a role in the promotion of this excellent report.

Focusing on local actors is indeed one of the key to humanitarian effectiveness. The report is very timely in making us more sensitized on the importance of reaching out to local stakeholders, even more so in a year that sees 3 major global agendas being developed; the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030; the Sustainable Development Goals just agreed in New York recently; and the national targets to tackle climate change to be committed at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides us with the global umbrella to look at the role of space-based technology and applications for development as a whole, not solely in the separate areas of disaster risk reduction and climate change. The 5 Ps of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: PEOPLE, PLANET, PROSPERITY, PEACE and PARTNERSHIP are not only catchy UN keywords, but are also the pillars required for a good integration of the frameworks of Sendai, New York and Paris for the next 15 years and beyond.

At the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Sendai, Japan, in March this year, UNOOSA took a leading role in ensuring that Earth observation and the use of space-based technologies be included in the "Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2015-2030".  The 2015 World Disasters Report builds upon the priorities of the Sendai Framework which highlights the work being done at the local level for disaster risk reduction and in humanitarian assistance in all priority areas. During the Conference, UNOOSA, alongside our partners, launched the Global Earth Observation Partnership which aims to ensure the inclusion of Earth Observation and satellite-based tools into global efforts for disaster risk reduction and to develop a synergy framework for Earth observations in support of national strategies for disaster-risk management. UNOOSA, through its UN-SPIDER programme, continues to work on building capacities of local actors in all countries as well as international and regional organizations to ensure equal access to  all types of space-based information to support the full disaster management cycle.

In 2018, UNOOSA will be organising the UNISPACE +50 Conference, which will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and at the same time, look at the perspectives in outer space activities for the next decades. UNISPACE+50 will be an important milestone that will also consider the current status and chart the future role of the space community at a time when actors, both governmental and non-governmental, are increasingly getting involved in ventures to explore space and carry out space activities for the benefit of all humanity.

I believe that good data and adapted information organised in relevant messages, such as this World Disaster Report, is essential to reduce the vulnerability of populations to disaster and to environmental degradation. It is the role of the data providers, including those providing space-based data, to make sure that clear, precise, relevant and timely messages are communicated. We need to  find mechanisms to "upload" knowledge from local actors to improve the quality of our outputs.

UNOOSA will continue to build upon our experience in sharing data . I believe that this World Disaster Report, like the previous ones, will provide us with a guide on how to be more efficient in our actions, for the benefit of all.  The report will make a key contribution to the World Humanitarian Summit next year which has 'localization of aid' as a key area of focus. This is an initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and my Office looks forward to working with our partners to continuously improve the access local actors have to space data for humanitarian assistance and disaster risk relief.

Thank you.

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