Hurricane Tomas Haiti UN Photo Marco Dormino

6th Annual UN-SPIDER Conference in Beijing

United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction - "Understanding Disaster Risk"

Beijing, China, 19-21 September 2016

Organized jointly by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People's Republic of China

The UN International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction is organised by the UN-SPIDER Beijing Office and is part of a series of events held since 2011. Previous conferences covered the themes of "Best practices for risk reduction and rapid response mapping" in 2011, "Risk assessment in the context of global climate change" in 2012, "Disaster risk identification, assessment and monitoring" in 2013, "Multi-hazard disaster risk assessment" in 2014 and "A consolidating role in the implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030" in 2015. These conferences offered a forum for disaster management communities and experts to strengthen their capabilities in using space-based information to identify, assess, monitor and respond to disaster risks and integrate space technology into long-term disaster risk management efforts.


The Third United Nations World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction took place in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, in which 187 States were officially represented and the "Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030" was adopted on March 18, 2015. Priority 1, "Understanding disaster risk" of the Sendai Framework states that "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. Such knowledge can be leveraged for the purpose of pre-disaster risk assessment, for prevention and mitigation and for the development and implementation of appropriate preparedness and effective response to disasters." Accordingly, UN-SPIDER aims at improving actions to reduce disaster risk through knowledge sharing and strengthening of institutions in the use of space technologies as its mandate is to enable developing countries to use all types of space-based information in the full cycle of disaster risk management. Recognizing the current challenges in the use of Earth observation technologies in understanding disaster risk, the Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People's Republic of China co-organise the International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction - "Understanding Disaster Risk".

The conference aims to provide a platform to communicate various means to be adopted by the Member States and supporting international/regional organisations in understanding disaster risk, especially based on the use of space-based technologies. This may include tools, technologies as well as peripheral issues such as data sharing, spatial data infrastructure, institutional coordination, etc. Recommended practices and experiences in this context will be shared by the panellists and discussed by all participants.


Thus, the conference will be one more step in that long-term effort of the Office for Outer Space Affairs and UN-SPIDER building on the commitments to the Sendai Framework and the global development agenda. The conference will also support the efforts of the Office for Outer Space Affairs as the office is preparing for its new initiative UNISPACE+50. A series of events leading to UNISPACE+50 will address challenges to humanity and sustainable development, the protection of the space environment, and securing the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

Expected Outcomes

The conference will build upon the outcomes of 5 th UN-SPIDER Conference (2015) in Beijing that documented in the form of the paper submitted to the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in 2016. It elaborates the role of Earth observation in the implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. While this paper provides general guidelines and recommendations on the role of Earth observation in supporting the Sendai Framework, the current conference should provide the recommendations on the Priority 1. The conference will result in a sustained contribution of the Office for Outer Space Affairs, through its UN-SPIDER programme, in supporting the Sendai Framework and provide thoughts on the role of Earth observation in monitoring indicators against the global targets of the Sendai Framework, which is a current concern of countries. In a nutshell, the conference is expected to continue providing guidelines, technical knowledge and recommendations to Member States to implement the Sendai Framework. Besides this, the conference will also discuss a strategic work plan and its implementation, building on UN-SPIDER 10 years' achievements. The outcome document of the conference will be presented in subcommittees of COPUOS and feed into UNISPACE+50 initiative. It will also provide valuable inputs to the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) planned from 2-5 November 2016 in New Delhi, India.

Conference sessions

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

  • Session 1: Building on UN-SPIDER 10 years' achievements
  • Session 2: Risk assessment and mapping using Earth Observation data
  • Session 3: Access to data and information for risk assessment
  • Session 4: National Spatial data infrastructure and data framework to support disaster management
  • Session 5: Networking and engagement with the UN-SPIDER network

Breakout sessions

  • Breakout session 1: Monitoring indicators against the global targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-30
  • Breakout session 2: Procedural guidelines for sharing space-based information during emergency response (reference to Priority 4 of the Sendai Framework for DRR)
  • Breakout session 3: Crowdsource mapping for risk assessment and emergency response

More details can be found in the information note.

Target Audience for the conference: Disaster managers, policy makers, providers of space technology solutions/tools/applications from governments, academia, research, NGO and corporate sector.

Number of expected participants: 100

How to apply and application deadline

Please register on line through our event registration platform

Apply now

Please note that the final deadline for registration is 10 July 2016. Online registration is mandatory for all participants.

Financial Support to the participants

Due to funding constraints, the organisers will be able to offer support to a limited number of participants from Member States and organisations engaged in developing or intend to develop a partnership with the UN-SPIDER programme. The support will defray the cost of travel (round-trip ticket - most economic fare - between the airport of international departure in their country of residence and Beijing) and/or room and board expenses during the duration of the event.

Training programme (22 to 27 September 2016)

The training programme "Space based technologies for flood and drought monitoring and risk assessment" will be organised for 25 participants of the conference with the support of the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation, the National Disaster Reduction Centre of China and Beihang University. The participants interested in attending this training programme may please convey their interest to Ms. Jiayi SUN through a separate mail (Email: sunjycast503[at]

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