United Nations/India Workshop on the Use of Earth Observation Data in Disaster Management and Risk Reduction: Sharing the Asian Experience

Hyderabad, India, 8-11 March 2016

Organized by The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Indian Space Research Organisation, on behalf of the Government of India

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its Programme on Space Applications and the UN-SPIDER platform, and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), are jointly organising the workshop in order to share experience from Asia and other parts of the World in using Earth observation for disaster management.

Background

With endorsement of 187 States on  "Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2015-2030", there is need to recognize the current challenges in the use of Earth observation technologies in disaster risk reduction. The UNOOSA co-organised a working session on "Earth observation and high technologies to reduce risks" at  World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) to promote the role of Earth observation for its inclusion in the "Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2015-2030".  UN-SPIDER works at demonstrating how the use of Earth observation can strongly support the full cycle of disaster risk management and how it can provide means for users and providers to better communicate their needs and capabilities. With this aim, the workshop will demonstrate operational programmes and tools on use of Earth observation data to address disaster management cycle including understanding disaster risks, responding to emergencies, assessing damage and loss and providing inputs to mitigate disasters. The workshop will provide opportunities for enhanced collaboration among the Asian countries for effective utilization of earth observation in disaster management.

Objectives and expected outcomes:

The United Nations/India Workshop on the Use of Earth Observation data in Disaster Management and Risk Reduction: Sharing the Asian Experience aims to:

  • Demonstrate operational programmes and tools that make use of Earth observation data to address the disaster management cycle, including understanding disaster risks, responding to emergencies, assessing damage and loss and providing inputs to mitigate disasters;
  • Synthesize experiences and lessons learnt by Asian countries, the most vulnerable region, and converge it to make effective use of Earth observation for disaster management;
  • Promote the use of Earth observation in disaster-prone areas in order to prepare, mitigate and respond to natural disasters, plan and build more resilient infrastructure and allow for a more sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
  • Discuss the way forward in international cooperation on space technologies and disaster management in preparation for UNISPACE+50.

The workshop should provide insight on technology, models, methods, tools and operational programmes utilizing Earth observation data in natural disasters management, especially covering important stages such as mitigation planning (hazard and risk assessment), early warning, emergency response, disaster recovery and damage assessment.

The expected outcomes include the following:

  • Exchange knowledge and lessons learned by experts and disaster managers
  • Understand technology trends including upcoming satellites and sensors
  • Discuss ways to access advanced Earth observation data
  • Provide a platform for the countries and intergovernmental organisations to develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation
  • Provide opportunities for enhanced collaboration among Asian countries for effective utilization of Earth observation in disaster management.

Workshop sessions

In this context, the workshop will cover the following topics:

Key note session

Talks by eminent experts and practitioners

Session 1: Addressing challenges in utilizing Earth observation in disaster management - Recent Experiences

The applications of Earth observation in all stages of disaster management are well known. Most of the countries in the Asian subcontinent have dedicated agencies for disaster management. However, barring a few countries like China, Japan and India, Earth observation data is not yet regularly used in decision making for disaster management. The immense potential that Earth observation data holds in the field of disaster management from providing immediate response to reconstruction needs to be shared / percolated. The session will provide a platform for sharing the experiences learned and challenges in addressing recent catastrophic disasters, highlighting the role of space technology in bridging the gaps for better disaster management.

Session 2: Operational systems and tools to support disaster management.

The applications of Earth observation in all stages of disaster management are well known. Most of the countries in the Asian subcontinent have dedicated agencies for disaster management. However, barring a few countries like China, Japan and India, Earth observation data is not yet regularly used in decision making for disaster management. The immense potential that Earth observation data holds in the field of disaster management from providing immediate response to reconstruction needs to be shared / percolated. The session will provide a platform for sharing the experiences learned and challenges in addressing recent catastrophic disasters, highlighting the role of space technology in bridging the gaps for better disaster management.

Session 3: Earth observation for pre-disaster risk assessment to contribute to prevention and mitigation planning

As elaborated in the report Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, policies and practices for disaster risk management should be based on an understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics and the environment. This calls for pre-disaster risk assessment to provide inputs for disaster prevention and mitigation. Earth observation is one of the key sources of information to prepare hazard, risk and vulnerability maps needed for pre-disaster risk assessment. The session will focus on national missions/programmes and methodologies involving use of Earth observation for assessing risk from major disasters in Asia.

Session 4: Earth observation for early warning, emergency response and damage assessment

The session will focus on the lessons learnt from experiences from mega-disasters such as the recent Earthquake in Nepal and cyclones in India. The session intends to provide guidance on how to integrate Earth observation data to provide precise early warning, generate the products needed for effective response, and address issues such as information preparedness, accessing Earth observation images, emergency mapping products and product dissemination. This session will also discuss the methods and present case studies demonstrating the use of Earth observation for damage assessment.

Session 5: Advanced Earth observation technologies, research and innovations in disaster management

Many advanced technologies like crowd source mapping, mobile technologies and unmanned aerial vehicle are becoming an integral part of disaster management. This session will allow exposure to the recent advances in earth observation technologies, research, innovations, emerging technologies, open source data and tools which can help in better response in times of disaster.

Session 6: Opportunities for capacity-building (training and institutional)

A lot of advanced technologies are emerging, and access to earth observation data is not a limitation. However, training people to make use of these technologies remains a big challenge. Until the planners know how to interpret and use the hazard maps the effort remains incomplete. The session will provide access to the opportunities for capacity-building in the field of disaster management.

Session 7: Foster international cooperation in Asia for promoting use of Earth observation in disaster management

This session will seek to identify concrete needs of the countries to support disaster management and promote international cooperation. This may involve sharing best practices, providing access to satellite images for assessment pre-disaster and during emergencies, exchanging methodologies, contributing to capacity-building and developing infrastructure. This session will provide an opportunity to have a dialogue among India, other countries, and intergovernmental organisations.

Special sessions and meetings and institutional visit

Special sessions and meetings and institutional visit may be planned to provide a platform for international cooperation.

Target audience for the workshop

Disaster managers, policy makers, providers of space technology solutions/tools/applications from governments, academia, research, NGO and corporate sector.

Financial support to selected participants

Taking into consideration the limited financial resources available for this conference, a number of qualified applicants from developing countries, who have expressed the need for financial support, will be offered financial support to attend the Workshop. This may include the provision of a round-trip air ticket between Hyderabad and the applicant's international airport of departure and/or daily subsistence allowances to cover board and lodging for the duration of the International conference. Any additional costs or changes made to the air tickets must be the responsibility of the participants.

Due to this limited availability of financial resources, applicants and their nominating organizations are strongly encouraged to find additional sources of sponsorship to allow them to attend the Workshop. Qualified participants whose nominating agency/organization agrees to fund round-trip travel and/or living expenses will be considered on a priority basis.

Language of the International conference and Presentations by Participants

The working language of the International conference will be English.

Deadline for Submission of Applications

The detailed information for applications will be made available in a timely manner via the UNOOSA Website. Deadline for applications for those requesting financial assistance is 11 January 2016. Only complete applications, with all requested information and signatures, will be considered. Information on the application process will be made available at:

http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/psa/schedule/2016/workshop_india.html

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