United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Space Technology at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction
Kobe, Japan, 18-22 January 2005

The Conference carried out its work in the shadow of the Indian Ocean disaster and the focus of many of the discussions was on the impact of the tsunami and the need for people-centred early warning systems. This was the biggest gathering ever of the disaster community totalling 4,000 participants in the plenary activities and the thematic sessions and around 40,000 people in the public segment. This included delegates from 168 Member States, 78 observer organisations (UN and other international organisations), 161 NGOs and also 154 media organisations totalling 562 journalists.

The following documents were agreed upon (these documents can be found on the UNISDR website: http://www.unisdr.org/wcdr):

1.   Review of the Yokohama Strategy and Plan-of-Action for a Safer World;

2.   The Hyogo Declaration;

3.   Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015 and;

4.   Common Statement of the Special Session on the Indian Ocean Disaster: Risk Reduction for a Safer Future.

A list of commitments is set out in the Framework, which will contribute to substantially reducing the losses in lives and social, economic and environmental assets of communities and countries. The decisions at the Conference are not legally binding but they do carry a strong commitment by States and organizations to guide their policies and actions in the next 10 years.

Specifically with regard to space technology, the suggestions of inputs to the above documents, which were discussed and consolidated at the Munich workshop, and then included in the draft documents contributed to highlighting the use of space technology since the Yokohama conference in 1994 and also how space technology should be used within the Hyogo Framework of Action. The paragraphs were kept in the final documents produced. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs made a statement during the plenary session contributing with the information on the work in the area of space technology and disaster management being carried out by COPUOS and also by the Programme on Space Applications.

The Office also contributed with a presentation during the session on Reducing Risk Through Effective Use of Earth Observations in which the work carried out within COPUOS and by the Programme on Space Applications (summarised in The Munich Vision) was highlighted and discussed within the context of other global initiatives.

The Office also participated in the session organised by JAXA in the Public Segment, contributing to the discussions carried out, and also participated in Special Session on the Indian Ocean Disaster: Risk Reduction for a Safer World. At this session the European Space Agency had the opportunity to make a strong statement on the contribution of space technology, highlighting the work of the Charter, the importance of space for early warning systems and also GMES.

Several other activities during the 5 days also focused on space technology for risk reduction and disaster management including: a workshop organised by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on �Asian Workshop on Satellite Technology Data Utilisation for Disaster Monitoring�, a WMO meeting on �Reducing Risks of Weather, Climate and Water Extremes through Advanced Detecting, Early Warnings and Opportunities for Information Society�; and several information booths at the Exhibition Hall.


Agenda and Presentations of the session on Reducing Risk Through Effective Use of Earth Observations (click on the author to see the presentation):


Reducing Risk Through Effective Use of Earth Observations

Friday, January 21; 14:30 - 16:30 p.m.
I KUTA, Portopia Hotel




Opening Address - Helen M. Wood, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA

GEOSS: Intergovernmental Planning to Provide Earth Observations to Benefit Society - Tetsuhisa Shirakawa, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan

Lessons Learned from Building an Integrated Earth Observation System - Kenneth Davidson, World Climate Program, World Metrological Organization

Using Space to Improve Crisis Response and Vulnerability Reduction - Alain Retiere, UNOSAT

Making Space-based Technologies Available to Developing Countries for Improved Risk Reduction and Disaster Management - Sergio Camacho, UN Office for Outer Space Affairs

The Contribution of Earth -Observations to Hazard Risk Reduction: Findings from Current Activities - Phillipe Bally, European Space Agency

Improving Asia Regional Network for Disaster Management - Yoji Furuhama, Executive Director, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Discussion for the Thematic Session Report - Francesco Pisano, UN Institute for Trainings and Research









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