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UN-Spider December 2009 Updates

United Nations for Space-based Information for Disaster management and Emergency Response

1. UNOOSA staff bridge climate change mitigation and space-based technology at COP15

Amidst the recent global climate change talks, UNOOSA demonstrated its commitment to and involvement in climate change issues by participating in the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15), from 7 to 18 December 2009. During the first week of the conference, Mr. Sergei Chernikov attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) plenary meetings and participated as a panelist in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) organized event on the role of land under the new climate change policy framework. Following suit, Mr. Lóránt Czárán and others participated in the second week of the conference, which witnessed a VIP surge, and intense high level negotiating sessions. UNOOSA set up an exhibition booth as well as a demonstration space at the central UNFCCC “iSeeT” Kiosk, showcasing the UN-SPIDER programme’s activities to various ministry representatives and organizations. Most importantly, UNOOSA was allotted time to give a presentation on “Space-based Information for Climate Change Mitigation and Disaster Management” in the central presentation space of the Kiosk. UNOOSA staff also participated in a number of side events and managed to establish tight links and future cooperation prospects with various United Nations agencies as well as ministries and governmental representatives.

2. UN-SPIDER 2010-2011 Workplan approved by Member States

On 10 December 2009, in its resolution A/RES/64/86, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the UN-SPIDER programme workplan for the biennium 2010-2011 (as presented in document A/AC.105/937) and noted with satisfaction the progress made in the implementation of the platform programme for the period 2007-2009. Being a global programme with a growing network of Regional Support Offices, having a detailed workplan contributes to ensuring close coordination of activities and synergy-building, taking advantage of the many opportunities being implemented regionally. To download the 2010-2011 workplan >> UNOOSA”:

3. COPUOS S&T to consider UN-SPIDER Progress and Planned Activities

During the upcoming forty-seventh session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), delegates will consider the progress of the implementation of the UN-SPIDER Programme under the agenda item on “Disaster Management Support”. UN-SPIDER has organised two side meetings: On February 9, 13:00 to 18:00, the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices Meeting will bring together representatives of the current and planned RSOs. The UN-SPIDER Stakeholders Meeting on February 10, 13:00 to 15:00, will be open to all delegates interested in learning about UN-SPIDER activities.
Contact person: Mr. Ahmed Osman (

4. UN-SPIDER conducts Technical Advisory Mission to Jamaica

During the first week of December 2009, UN-SPIDER conducted a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Jamaica together with one expert from the Panama-based institute CATHALAC and one expert from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. The main purpose was to assess 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 including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and academia, in particular the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Office for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), and the Spatial Data Management Division of the Office of the Prime Minister. For more information >>

5. UN-SPIDER participates in the 4th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management

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 Carlene Boodoo, a Masters student at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. For more information >>

6. Technical Advisory Mission conducted in Fiji

Upon request from the Government of Fiji, UN-SPIDER conducted a TAM in parallel with the Pacific Islands GIS and Remote Sensing conference in Suva, Fiji, from 1 to 4 December. Meetings were conducted with the Permanent Secretary for Provincial Development and Multi-Ethnic Affairs, officials of the National Disaster Management Office and experts from the Land Department, Mineral Resources Department (Seismology Section), Hydrology Department, SOPAC (Secretariat of Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission), UNDP, UN-OCHA and PDC. These meetings provided insight into the availability of capacity within the Government of Fiji to use space-based information for disaster management and understanding of the gaps that need to be strengthened. Fiji was hit by tropical cyclone “Mick” (TC Mick) on 13 December. The links developed by UN-SPIDER during this mission helped Fiji to activate opportunities to access satellite images and cover areas affected by TC Mick.

7. Technical Advisory Mission conducted in Samoa

Back-to-back with the mission in Fiji, a TAM was also organized in Samoa from 7 to 11 December. The mission team, which was joined by an expert from SOPAC (Secretariat of Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission), evaluated the availability of space-based information and international support during tsunami response. Necessary information was gathered during discussions with officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (National Disaster Management Office, Mapping Section, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and World Bank consultants etc.), the Meteorology Department, United Nations Offices [United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)] and regional organizations such as Conservation International, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Reports emerging from this mission, containing an evaluation of international support to provide space-based information during tsunami response and recommendations about spatial data infrastructure, capacity building and opportunities to access space based information, will
be made available to relevant organizations in Samoa. Contact person: Mr. Shirish Ravan (

8. Fifth UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office established in Algeria

The third African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable Development opened on 7 December 2009 in Algiers with a signing ceremony between the Algerian Space Agency and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs to establish a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office (RSO). The head of UNOOSA’s delegation, Niklas Hedman, told conference participants that “today a large number of global and regional mechanisms and initiatives exist to support Member States in implementing the use of space tools and solutions.” With regard to UN-SPIDER’s work in forming a network of RSOs in Africa, he noted that “UN-SPIDER already has a productive working relationship with the Algerian Space Agency”, the most recent example of which was the provision of expert services by the Agency for a UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission to Burkina Faso. UN-SPIDER is looking forward to deepening its relationships with the Algerian Space Agency based on this new agreement.
For further information >> and >>

9. UN OCHA Sri Lanka office launched new Map Atlas

OCHA is the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and one of its multiple mandates is the coordination of humanitarian response, policy development and humanitarian advocacy. To accomplish this mission OCHA produces, prints and distributes a wide range of geographic and thematic maps. OCHA works in cooperation with the Urban Development Authority and the Survey Department of Sri Lanka to provide accurate maps of the country. An important achievement of this cooperation is the OCHA Sri Lanka Map Atlas, which is a collection of all the main public map products created by OCHA Sri Lanka since 2005. The Map Atlas offers users both interactive and static maps with the possibility to browse through a full catalogue of all available products. Additional links to web-based resources are also provided.
For full article and access to Map Atlas go to >>

Conferences and Workshops:

Calendar of Events with upcoming Conferences, Meetings and Events relevant to the area of space-based solutions for disaster management and emergency response. The Calendar can be viewed at:

NIDMUNOOSA Workshop: Use of Space Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction, New Delhi, India, 11-13 January 2010

The aim of this programme is to sensitize the faculty members of state ATIs/SIRDs and other stakeholders involved in capacity building activities at national and state level for use of space technologies in disaster risk reduction activities. The workshop also aims at defining long-term needs of capacity building to ensure that use of space-based information is promoted at all levels.
For further information >> NIDM

Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction 2010, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, 17-19 January 2010

The Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction 2010 (ACDR 2010) to be held in January 2010 will provide a good opportunity to review the progress made and achievements of the implementation of the priority actions of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 (HFA) and clarify specific issues
and challenges in achieving its goals in the remaining 5 years in Asia. Accordingly, the ACDR 2010 is expected to contribute to encouraging the strengthening of efforts and commitment for disaster risk reduction by each country in Asia. Furthermore, it aims at sharing good practices and common challenges for disaster risk reduction and building a more solid foundation of regional cooperation in Asia which will facilitate the realization of the societies which convey the experiences and lessons learned from past disasters, strengthen systems to be prepared for future disasters, and foster a “Culture of Disaster Prevention”.
For more information and registration >> ADRC

The 16th Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-16), Phuket, Thailand, 26-29 January 2010

The APRSAF is designed to serve as an active forum to promote concrete cooperative activities to address common issues at the regional level with the aim to contribute toward solving problems not only of the Asia-Pacific region but also of the entire world, as well as to exploit space technology development and utilization for sustainable development of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. As usual, the APRSAF-16 is going to have the plenary session and sessions of the four working groups (WGs): Earth Observation (EO) WG, Communication Satellite Applications (CSA) WG, Space Education and Awareness (SEA) WG and Space Environment Utilization (SEU) WG. For more information and registration >> APRSAF

GI4DM 2010 Conference, February 2-4, 2010, Torino, Italy. Conference Theme: Remote Sensing And Geo-Information For Environmental Emergencies

Geomatics technologies are able to support management and recovery in the aftermath of manmade and natural disasters. However, disaster management also poses big challenges in all aspects of the geo-information cycle, from data acquisition, processing, management and delivery. For the sixth time, the International Symposium on Geo-information for Disaster Management (Gi4DM) brings together researchers, developers, data providers and users from all over the world to discuss these challenges. Papers that deal with any aspect of geomatics technologies suitable for crisis management are invited. Authors should focus on the methodologies, tools, functionality, and/or interfaces that are being or should be provided to National and/or International Organizations involved with crisis response and management. Invitation is also open for contributions that cover crisis management in any phase, intersection of phases, and/or integration of phases of Planning, Training, Mitigation, Detection, Alerting, Response, Recovery, and Assessment. (Source: GI4DM)
For more information >>

International Training Course on Application of Space Technology for Disaster Management Support with Emphasis on Geological Risk Management

The course will take place from 12 April until 7 May; the venue is the Indian Institute for Remote Sensing, Dehradun, India. It is being organized by the UN-affiliated CSSTEAP, the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, and ITC.
For more information >> CSSTEAP

Fourth Central Asia GIS Conference – GISCA 2010: Water: Life, Risk, Energy and Landuse – May 27-28, 2010, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic

Call for Papers: The conference committee is inviting all those interested to submit scientific papers on the stated conference themes with a focus on the Central Asian Region by 1 March 2010. UNOOSA supported the previous GIS Conference in 2009 and will again provide support in 2010 recognising this event as the major Geospatial Conference in Central Asia. It will be an opportunity to meet with experts interested in working together in Central Asia.
For more information and registration >> GISCA10

Upcoming UN-SPIDER Outreach Activities:

Information on upcoming events planned or supported by UN-SPIDER can be obtained from the outreach activities section of the UN-SPIDER webpage:

Upcoming UN-SPIDER Events

UN-SPIDER Regional Workshop “Building Upon Regional Space-based Solutions for Disaster Management and Emergency Response for Africa”, 18-21 May 2010, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Upcoming Events Supported by UN-SPIDER

NIDMUNOOSA Workshop: Use of Space Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction, 11-13 January 2010, New Delhi, India

Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction 2010, 17-19 January 2010, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan

GI4DM 2010 Conference, 2-4 February 2010, Torino, Italy

Fourth Central Asia GIS Conference – GISCA 2010: Water: Life, Risk, Energy and Landuse, 27-28 May, 2010, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and assisting developing countries in using space science and technology. Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, UNOOSA maintains a website at

In its resolution 61/110 of 14 December 2006 the United Nations General Assembly agreed to establish the “United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response – UN-SPIDER” as a programme within UNOOSA. UN-SPIDER focuses on the need to ensure access to and use of space-based solutions during all phases of the disaster management cycle.