UN-SPIDER supports the Russian Federation’s efforts to boost the use of space-based information for disaster risk management and emergency response in Central Asia

UN-SPIDER is committed to ensuring an increase in the support provided to all countries in accessing and using space-based information for disaster risk management and Emergency response, including to all Central Asian countries in cooperation with the Russian Federation.

 From 7 to 8 September 2011 an international seminar was organized by the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) of the Russian Federation with the support from the UN-SPIDER Programme at the premises of the Space University of Krasnoyarsk. The meeting was instrumental to exchange information and best practices on the uses and possible applications of space-based information for disaster risk management and emergency response in the Central Asian region. The seminar furthermore allowed to strengthen the cooperation between emergency services from the Russian Federation and neighbouring countries as well as with providers of space-based information and the United Nations. Representatives of Emergency Management and Civil Protection agencies from various regions of the Russian Federation as well as from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Uzbekistan attended the seminar. The space community, represented by the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), the private sector company SCANEX and the Space University of Krasnoyarsk, actively took part in the meeting as well. Several technical visits to leading institutions in emergency management and space technology in the Krasnoyarsk region complemented the successful event. Another main objective of the meeting was to further institutionalize the fruitful cooperation between the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, through the UN-SPIDER Programme, and the Ministry of Emergency Services (EMERCOM) of the Russian Federation. Recognizing the leading role EMERCOM is playing both in the Russian Federation as well as in supporting countries in the region, discussions were held to finalize a cooperation agreement between the Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Russian Federation to establish a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office at EMERCOM. The purpose of this office will be to support the UN-SPIDER programme in building capacities and providing technical assistance both to prevent emergencies and to respond to disasters in order to save lives in the region as well as on a global scale. In addition, UN-SPIDER took advantage of this seminar by further strengthening its ties with disaster management agencies in the Central Asian region. Discussions on follow-up activities to improve access and use of space-based information for disaster risk management and emergency response were held with representatives from all participating countries. Recognizing this ongoing cooperation, the recommendations of the seminar urge countries to nominate UN-SPIDER National Focal Points which will allow the Programme to provide immediate support based on the individual countries’ requirements. A technical advisory mission by UN-SPIDER in cooperation with EMERCOM, as well as another regional meeting to identify tangible follow-up activities was proposed to be held in Kazakhstan in 2012.