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UNOOSA and UNISDR organize Session on Space and Disaster-Risk Reduction

Under the umbrella of the thirty-third session of the United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting (IAM) on Outer Space Activities this week in Geneva, UNOOSA and the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) organized the 10th Open Informal Session entitled: “Space and Disaster Risk Reduction: Planning for Resilient human settlements.”

The session was inaugurated by Ms. Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction; Mr. Niklas Hedman, Chief of the Committee Policy and Legal Affairs Section of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Ms. Helena Molin-Valdes, Coordinator of the “Making Cities Resilient Campaign” of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

The session, open to delegations of Member States and other organizations of the United Nations system, included two panels:

  • Towards resilient cities: A wider use of geospatial data in urban planning;
  • Mainstreaming space technology in land use planning and rural development strategies for effective disaster management.

The panels included keynote presentations by the Information Technology Agreement Committee on Underground Space of the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES) and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery of the World Bank (GFDRR). These were complemented with comments and presentations by representatives of UN-HABITAT, UNISDR, UNITAR-UNOSAT, UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER, EC-COPERNICUS and the University of Eastern Paris, Marne-la-Vallee.

The session provided an opportunity for representatives of Diplomatic Missions in Geneva to become aware of the usefulness of space-based applications in disaster-risk reduction and for all participants to discuss ways to promote the use of such applications in countries exposed to natural hazards, including through efforts within the “Making Cities Resilient”-campaign of UNISDR and the upcoming session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction which will take place on 19-23 May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.

All background documents and presentations are available online on the website of the United Nations Coordination of Outer Space Activities (“UNCOSA: