United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs


United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER)

News from UN-SPIDER ( previous stories)


UN-SPIDER Regional Workshop "Building upon Regional Space-based Solutions
for Disaster Management and Emergency Response for Africa" 25-28 May 2010, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

22 February 2010 - UN-SPIDER cordially invites you to join the UN-SPIDER Regional Workshop "Building upon Regional Space-based Solutions for Disaster Management and Emergency Response for Africa" to take place from 25 to 28 May 2010 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This workshop, which is being organised together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and supported by the Government of Austria, will be the major outreach event organised by UN-SPIDER on space-based information for disaster risk reduction and emergency management for the African continent in 2010.
Certainly, this regional workshop will ensure that participants become aware of the full potential that space-based information offers for disaster risk management and emergency response and how to take advantage of the existing regional and international opportunities in this regard. This will eventually contribute to a reduction in loss of lives and property due to disasters in the African continent in the future.
We invite you to look at the information note for the workshop containing detailed information about the programme, logistics and limited available funding support, and to submit your application through our online application form at www.un-spider.org/workshop-addis-2010

SpaceAid bolsters Emergency Response in Haiti

HAITI Port-au-Prince Catalogue of observed damaged buildings the 13th of January 2010. Official Source: SERTIT

8 February 2010 - The UN-SPIDER SpaceAid framework was triggered on 12 January 2010 for the devastating earthquake of magnitude 7 that struck Haiti. The massive damage to the local infrastructure in Haiti has made satellite images and maps vital to assess damage and plan the relief work. Those images can be used by humanitarian relief workers on the ground to for example identify accessible roads and suitable areas to set up relief facilities.
UN-SPIDER experts became involved in supporting relief efforts only minutes after the earthquake hit. Immediately, UN-SPIDER coordinated through its network with a vast number of providers of space-based information, value adding services and partners from the end-user community. Among others, UNOOSA activated the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters on behalf of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH.
The main vehicle to support the international relief efforts for Haiti in terms of space-based assets is the SpaceAid section of UN-SPIDER's Knowledge Portal. On this website, UN-SPIDER compiles, organizes and disseminates the latest available space-based information, including space-derived images, maps and related geospatial data of the affected areas. This information is continuously updated and made available to end users in the field as well as to the general public. UN-SPIDER will equally seek to play a decisive role in supporting recovery efforts after the early response phase.
This webpage provides the latest information on space-based assets to support disaster response efforts in Haiti. It can be accessed through:

UN-SPIDER mission to the Dominican Republic

Official visit to the State Secritariat for Foreign Affairs, Dominican Republic

4 February 2010 - From 26 to 29 January, 2010, a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) was conducted in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The goal of the mission was to assess the capacity of a variety of institutions to access and to use space-based information for disaster-risk management and emergency response and to identify institutional needs. The mission focused on four main topics: capacities to access space-based information and to use geographical information systems; current efforts concerning the implementation of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), and capacities to conduct training programmes focusing on the use of space-based information.
The two UN-SPIDER staff members were supported by an expert from the Venezuelan Space Agency (Agencia Bolivariana para Actividades Espaciales, ABAE) and by an expert from the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (Centro del Agua del Trópico Húmedo para América Latina y el Caribe, CATHALAC). The mission benefitted from the guidance provided by the National Emergency Commission (Comisión Nacional de Emergencias, CNE), the State Secretariat for Foreign Affairs (Secretaría de Estado de Relaciones Exteriores), and the Technological Institute of the Americas (Instituto Tecnológico de las Américas, ITLA).
The mission team met with representatives of thirteen institutions, which included a meeting with representatives of the institutions that compose the National Emergency Council and a visit to the National Emergency Operations Center. While the establishment of the legal framework targeting disaster-risk management and emergency response was found to be quite advanced already, needs concerning capacity building were highlighted by representatives of several institutions, as well as the need for a plan of action to institutionalize capacity building measures. On the last day, the mission briefed high-ranking officers of the State Secretariat for Foreign Affairs on preliminary findings and recommendations. The members of the mission commented that an official report would be submitted to the Government of the Dominican Republic for review, and subsequently, a plan of action to strengthen capacities would be elaborated.

UN-SPIDER mission to India

Workshop on "Space Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction" at NIDM, India

1 February 2010 - The workshop on "Space Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction" at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) of India and took place from 11 to 13 January 2010. It was organized with support from UN-SPIDER. Although India is well-known for its space technology and applications, there was a need to assess its use in disaster management, specifically by the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMA). While the central Government provides policy guidelines, SDMA are responsible for their implementation.
Experts from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), NIDM, UN-SPIDER, and disaster management authorities shared their experiences of using Remote Sensing/GIS for disaster management. Participants provided recommendations on the following topics:
1) Policies interventions at the state level to develop capacities and get access to space-based and geo information
2) Effective data sharing for the use of geo-information for disaster management.
Recommendations of the workshop should be circulated to authorities in the central and state Governments to insure that the right information reaches the appropriate people. A virtual community (e-group) is created by NIDM as a result of the workshop. This group is connected to the ISRO Disaster Management System and UN-SPIDER to provide updates on recent advances in the use of space technology for disaster management.

UN-SPIDER mission to Jamaica

UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) in Kingston, Jamaica

The 4th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management in Montego Bay, Jamaica

5 January 2010 - During the first week of December, 2009, UN-SPIDER conducted a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Jamaica, with the purpose of assessing the current capacities of institutions regarding access and use of space-based information for disaster-risk reduction and response in order to suggest a variety of measures to strengthen such institutional capacities. The mission included meetings with representatives of more than 20 institutions from the Government, international organizations, and Academia, in particular the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Office for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, and the Spatial Data Management Division of the Office of the Prime Minister.
The mission identified strengths in key areas such as geographical information systems, spatial-data infrastructures, capacity-building, and disaster-risk management and emergency response. However, the mission team also identified constraints that were impeding progress in these areas, such as a low demand concerning the use of space-based information. Having completed the mission, the team elaborated a set or recommendations focusing on policies, strategies, and particular actions. The mission was successfully concluded with a visit to the Planning Institute of Jamaica where a preliminary discussion of the outcomes was conducted on the last day of the mission.

The 4th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management took place in Montego Bay, from 7 to 11 December, 2009. Bringing together more than 250 experts and practitioners from the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific Islands; the conference served as a setting to celebrate the first Caribbean conference which was conducted in Jamaica in 1984. Recognizing the relevance of this regional conference, UN-SPIDER was represented by two staff members, and facilitated the participation of a young professional. To this end, in coordination with the International Space Generation Council, a poster competition was conducted and Miss Carlene Boodoo, from the University of the West Indies in St. Augustin, Trinidad was selected as the winner.
The conference provided the opportunity for UN-SPIDER to strengthen relationships with the regional Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), with representatives from disaster management organizations of several Caribbean nations and Latin America and the Pacific Islands; and to participate in a side event organized by CDEMA regarding the Caribbean Flood Pilot Project. The opportunity was also used to strengthen ties with representatives from UNDP who are targeting efforts to promote disaster reduction both in the Caribbean and the Pacific Small Island Developing States.
Contact: Mr. Juan Carlos Villagran (juan-carlos.villagran@unoosa.org)


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