SUPARCO, the National Space Agency of Pakistan, host of UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Pakistan, conducted a hands-on training on the COSPAS-SARSAT programme to enhance the capabilities of search and rescue operators in emergency situations using satellite services. The training was carried out on request of the Civil Aviation Authority and took place in the city of Karachi from 17th-19th July 2012.
COSPAS-SARSAT is a programme established in 1988 under the International COSPAS-SARSAT Programme Agreement signed by Canada, France, the former USSR, and the USA. The mission of the programme is to provide accurate, timely and reliable distress alert and location data to help search and rescue authorities assist persons in distress. The objective of the COSPAS-SARSAT system is to reduce, as far as possible, delays in the provision of distress alerts to search and rescue services, and the time required to locate a person in distress at sea or on land and provide assistance to that person, all of which have a direct impact on the probability of survival. To achieve this objective, COSPAS-SARSAT participants implement, maintain, co-ordinate and operate a satellite system capable of detecting distress alert transmissions from radio beacons that comply with COSPAS-SARSAT specifications and performance standards, and of determining their position anywhere on the globe.