Technical Advisory Missions

Awareness and outreach activities at the international and regional level serve to establish a critical mass of experts and practitioners from both the space applications- and disaster management communities. Based on awareness campaigns, outreach workshops and other related activities, UN-SPIDER offers Technical Advisory Support (TAS) at the national level. On request of the respective government, a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) with an international team of experts is conducted, to identify capacity building needs and to lay the ground for establishing a subsequent programme of action.

Below is an overview of completed UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Missions.

Burkina Faso - Technical Advisory Mission

Advisory Mission Type: 
Technical Advisory Mission
Dates: 
Mon, 17/11/2008 - Fri, 21/11/2008
Advisory Mission Facts
12.3467
-1.54083
Mission details
<p>Burkina Faso is exposed to a variety of hydro meteorological hazards including floods and droughts. Global climate change, vector-borne diseases and locust plagues aggravate this situation. Taking this into consideration, the National Council for Environment and Sustainable Development of Burkina Faso requested UN-SPIDER to conduct a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to assess and advice on the use of space-based technology and information to support efforts targeting disaster-risk management and emergency response.</p>
Host Institution: 
National Council for Environment and Sustainable Development
Mission Team: 
<p>The mission included two experts from UN-SPIDER who were accompanied by experts from the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL), the French Centre National d&rsquo;Etudes Spatiales (CNES), and the UNOCHA Regional Office for West Africa.</p>
Mission Profile: 
<p>The mission included meetings with representatives from eight government agencies, four organisations from the United Nations and one regional institution.</p>
Mission Findings: 
<p>Several government institutions in Burkina Faso already possess the capacity to work with space-based information and technology such as global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), satellite imagery and geographical information systems (GIS). Many institutions already receive in one or the other way satellite-derived data in the form of NDVI or meteorological information.</p> <p>However, the National Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR does not have a formalized information system nor uses modern technologies such as GIS to carry out its functions.</p> <p>The Ministry of Health operates a fast and efficient information flow system targeting potential epidemics linking villages in rural areas and the Ministry of Health in Ouagadougou via health posts and regional offices.</p> <p>The Government of Burkina Faso is developing a multi-risk contingency plan. The plan is being prepared by the Government with relevant stakeholders, although without the participation of the Permanent Secretariat of the Council for Environment and Sustainable Development (SP/CONEDD), and points out the information need for early warning and emergency response. However, in its present draft version, this plan fails to point out the potential of space-based technology and information for disaster management other than a reference to the usual hydro-meteorological data already in use.</p> <p>The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) country office in Burkina Faso receives regular information on the development of the vegetative cover in the form of NDVI (Normalized Differenced Vegetation Index) data, derived from AVHRR sensor (NOAA), as well as other climate and vegetation related datasets. The data is processed by NASA and USGS and delivered to FEWSNET in a ready-to-use GIS format. At the regional level, there is a collaboration between FEWSNET and AGRHYMET.</p> <p>SP/CONEDD, which is part of the Ministry of Environment, implements the Programme Nationale de Gestion de l&rsquo;Information sur le Milieu (PNGIM). PNGIM is a network of over 30 institutions, mainly governmental and academic, including CONASUR, IGB, DM and DGPSA. Its main objective is to promote the use of information, specifically geo-information, for environmental management by improving accessibility and adopting common data standards to improve compatibility.</p> <p>Currently no Government institution is in the position to activate the International Charter:&nbsp;Space and Major Disasters.</p>
Mission Recommendations: 
<ul> <li>Incorporation of the access to and use of space-based information and technology elements into the national multi-risk contingency plan that is currently being developed. In particular to promote its use in risk mapping (hazard and vulnerability assessment);</li> <li>Awareness raising campaigns targeting decision-makers regarding the benefits of using space-based inforamtion, the capacity available in the country and the potential regional and international mechanisms and resources which could be drawn on;</li> <li>Capacity-building activities in the fields of remote sensing, GNSS and GIS for different institutions, depending on their role and level. In particular to strengthen the skills of staff in CONASUR and in the Civil Protection Directorate;</li> <li>The revision of existing disaster-related information systems, namely the system employed by CONASUR and DGPSA/SAP by integrating modern telecommunication elements to considerably speed up the flow of information from the field to headquarters;</li> <li>CONASUR to establish contacts with international space-based information mechanisms for emergency purposes such as the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters;</li> <li>The nomination of a national focal point to coordinate inter-institutional activities in Burkina Faso with UN-SPIDER and the space-community.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Burkina Faso - Executive Summary

Disaster management agencies in West Africa have to adapt to an increasing number of natural disasters caused by floods and drought. The effects of global climate change will most probably aggravate this situation. Disasters triggered by certain environmental conditions, such as locust plagues, also contribute to endangering the food security of the local population. In addition, vector borne diseases and epidemics of weather- and climate-sensitive infectious diseases, including malaria, meningitis, and cholera, cause massive disruption to societies and put a heavy burden on national health systems.

In June 2008, the Government of Burkina Faso requested a UN-SPIDER technical advisory mission to assess the existing use of space-based technology and information for disaster management and emergency response in Burkina Faso. Specifically, the mission was requested to identify potential areas where space-based technology and information could play a greater role, and propose recommendations how to improve Burkina Faso's access to and use of space-based technology and information.

Following a preparatory meeting at the end of August 2008 in Ouagadougou, held with the Permanent Secretariat of the Conseil National d’Evironnement et Développement Durable (SP/CONEDD), which is the governmental focal point for the mission, and other relevant institutions to discuss the mission objective and programme a team of five experts from Algeria, France, UNOCHA, and UN-SPIDER was fielded to Burkina Faso from 17 to 21 November 2008. A total of 15 institutions were interviewed by the mission team, including ten governmental institutions, four United Nations organizations (UNDP, UNOCHA, WFP, WHO), and one bilateral institution (FEWS NET).

The mission objective was to assess the existing use of space-based technology and information for disaster management and emergency response in Burkina Faso, identify potential areas where space-based technology and information could play a greater role, and propose recommendations on how to improve Burkina Faso's access to and use of space-based technology and information. The mission team is confident to have gained, despite the short time available for the mission activities, sufficient insight into the disaster management situation and the use of space-based technology in the country to come to the conclusions and recommendations presented below. The mission benefited from excellent support of the local counterpart SP/CONEDD. However, time was a serious constraint. A large number of institutions at different levels play a role in disaster management in any country, and one week of mission time was not enough to visit all of them. The large number of institutions to be visited made it necessary to limit visits to one to two hours of discussion with managers and experts. An on-site assessment/inspection of the facilities (hardware, software) was not possible.

The mission concentrated on governmental institutions and UN organisations active in the country. A total of 15 institutions were interviewed by the mission team, including ten governmental institutions, four United Nations organizations (UNDP, UNOCHA, WFP, WHO), and one bilateral institution (FEWS NET). A visit at the Inter-governmental Committee for the Fight Against Drought in the Sahel (CILSS), was planned but could not be conducted due to time-constraints. Several organisations and institutions were not interviewed but they will be considered in follow-up activities and actions, including the Red Cross Society in Burkina Faso, and the Department of Hydrology.

 

Burkina Faso - Hazards and risks

The vulnerability of West African countries such as Burkina Faso is likely to increase as demand on natural resources continue to rise in association with a rapidly growing population. Global climate change and its impact on the environment will contribute to aggravating this situation. Climate projections for the region indicate increasing weather extremes. The disaster management agencies in the region have to adapt to the increasing number of natural disasters, ranging between the extremes of drought and flood. Secondary impacts triggered by environmental conditions, such as locust plagues, additionally deteriorate the living conditions and food security of the local population. Especially in climate sensitive regions, where rain-fed and irrigated agriculture is the main source of food security and income, concerns about the variability in rainfall, its temporal and spatial distribution, must be taken very seriously. This seems to be particularly true of West Africa where e.g. the causes of the great Sahelian drought of the early 1970s and 1980s bear evidence of the regions proneness to this particular hazard1. The most pronounced dry years were 1973, 1984, 1991,1994, 1998, and 2004. Fig. 1: West/Central Sahel Rainfall 1950-2004 (as standardized deviations from base period: 1950-1990) Source: IMPETUS Atlas 2007 Fig. 1: West/Central Sahel Rainfall 1950-2004 (as standardized deviations from base period: 1950-1990) Source: IMPETUS Atlas 2007 Droughts and floods – both weather extremes have serious impact on the natural vegetation as well as on agriculture and livestock rearing: substantial losses in yield and cattle (20 – 30 %) resulting in food insecurity, population migration, and lowering of the groundwater table. Especially during the last two decades the number of inundations increased within the Sahel area. In Burkina Faso the following floods have been observed:

Table 1: Disaster impact of floods in Burkina Faso, 1988 to 2007
Year No. of affected provinces Number of victims Economic loss (US$)
1988 16 149.000 50.000
1992 9 21.400 2.497.600
1994 20 68.000 1.142.570
2006 7 11.170 1.671.121
2007 33 111.356 n.a.

Another important aspect within Burkina Faso is the appearance of vector borne diseases and epidemics of weather- and climate-sensitive infectious diseases, including malaria, meningitis, and cholera, which cause massive disruption to societies and overburden national health systems. Whereas malaria has to be regarded as a more or less permanently existing disease within the region the occurrence of meningitis has a seasonal character and is obviously related to climatic conditions and the influence of the so-called ‘harmattan’, a very dry wind blowing to the Sahelian region from NE (central Sahara). Especially during the dry season from November to March the weather conditions are characterized by high daytime temperatures (33 to >40 °C), rather cool nights (10 to 15 °C), and occasionally very low relative humidity (<10%). The most devastating epidemics of meningitis were recorded in 1996 and 1997 when altogether more than 42,000 persons were affected with about 4,000 cases of death. Cholera, on the other hand, is an epidemic disease which is related to the rainy season. Due to the South-North motion of the sun during the first half of each year the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) moves from its position near the equator pole-ward to higher latitudes on the northern hemisphere. In consequence, from April/May to October the whole area of West Africa is getting under the influence of the moisture-laden south-west monsoon. This humid air stream blowing from the Gulf of Guinea is responsible for about 90% of the annual rainfall. In the case of regional floods, the impact of cholera is aggravated by the inundation of sanitary facilities within villages and cities. Finally, the impact of humanitarian crisis has to be mentioned. As one major incident the civil war in Cote d’Ivoire in 2002 caused a population movement due to socio-political turmoil. In order to help Burkinabe return to their country, on 19 November 2002 the Government launched the ‘Operation Bayiri’ (return to the homeland). This initiative was also supported by various contributions from individuals, private companies, international institutions and NGOs with donations of medicines, food, clothes, etc, as well as money. According to official numbers from the Government in Burkina Faso altogether 366,000 persons returned to their home country. This crisis also seriously affected the economy of Burkina Faso, especially the cotton sector, as the border between Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire was closed in 2002, effectively cutting off cotton exporters from their main port of export Abidjan.

  • 1. Understanding the reasons for the significant alterations in Sahelian rainfall is still a major challenge for scientific research, since drought and, as in recent years increasingly experienced the occurrence of floods, affect great parts of West Africa in terms of ecological, economic, and societal aspects. The spectra of hitherto existing hypotheses includes those focussing on global oceanic-atmospheric circulation patterns, the influence of land cover changes, and effects due to changes in atmospheric composition, i.e. aerosol concentrations as well as greenhouse gas and sulphate aerosol emissions. However, these issues still remain unresolved. Although inter-seasonal and inter-annual variability in precipitation in part has been successfully forecasted for West Africa, there is still a lack of knowledge in predicting climate changes on decadal or notably multi-decadal timescales. In addition, results from General Circulation Models (GCM), as often applied in frame of the above mentioned publications, are essential to understand large-scale coherences, but do not necessarily match the requirements of regionally to locally orientated approaches.

Ecuador - Technical Advisory Mission

Advisory Mission Type: 
Technical Advisory Mission
Dates: 
Sat, 03/10/2009 - Thu, 08/10/2009
Advisory Mission Facts
Main Hazards: 
Drought
Main Hazards: 
Earthquake
Main Hazards: 
Forest Fire
Main Hazards: 
Flood
Main Hazards: 
Mass Movement
Main Hazards: 
Tsunami
Main Hazards: 
Volcanic Eruption
-0.268597
-78.5386
Mission details
<p>Ecuador is exposed to a variety of geologic and hydro-meteorological hazards, including many active volcanoes. In addition, it is exposed to climatic events such as El Ni&ntilde;o and La Ni&ntilde;a. At the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Integration (MRECI), UN-SPIDER conducted a Technical Advisory Mission to Ecuador. The mission aimed to identify strengths and weaknesses regarding the access to and subsequent use of space-based information in activities carried out in all phases of the disaster cycle.</p>
Host Institution: 
National Secretariat for Risk Management (SNGR) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Integration of Ecuador (MRECI)
Mission Team: 
<p>The mission was led by two experts from UN-SPIDER who were accompanied by one expert from the National Institute for Space Research of Brazil (INPE) and one expert from the National Commission for Space Activities of Argentina (CONAE).</p>
Mission Profile: 
<p>The mission included visits to 12 Government agencies and representatives of agencies of the United Nations in Ecuador. It benefited from the fact that UN-SPIDER conducted its regional workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean a week before the mission took place, which allowed Ecuadorian agencies to showcase how they were using space-based information for a variety of purposes targeting all phases of the disaster cycle.</p>
Mission Findings: 
<p>Ecuador is fairly well advanced in the use of information for a variety of purposes. In addition, the government has recognized the need to target disaster-risk management at the highest political level.</p> <p>The Government has also recognized the need to highlight the profile of risk management by transforming the Technical Secretariat for Risk Management into the National Secretariat for Risk Management, hierarchically at the level of a Ministry;</p> <p>Synergies among many international agencies under the umbrella of the National Secretariat for Risk Management are allowing for a more efficient coordination of activities targeting all phases of the disaster management cycle.</p> <p>The National Secretariat for Planning (SENPLADES) has established the National System for Territorial Information, which is promoting the establishment of standardized Spatial Database Infrastructures to ensure compatibility and easy exchange of information among agencies. In this context, SENPLADES has established the National Geo-informatics Council (CONAGE) as an inter-institutional body to administer the National Geospatial Database Infrastructure. SENPLADES is also channeling financial resources to many agencies to assist them in upgrading quality standards in the acquisition, processing, and dissemination of information.</p> <p>For more than 30 years the Armed Forces of Ecuador have operated both the Military Geographical Institute and the Centre for Integrated Remote Sensing Applications for Natural Resources (CLIRSEN). CLIRSEN is recognized by many government agencies for its contributions to promote the use of space-based information for a variety of purposes.</p> <p>The Government is establishing the Ecuadorian National Space Commission as a vehicle to thrust activities in this area and to take advantage of the benefits that space applications offer in many sectors of development.</p>
Mission Recommendations: 
<p>Taking note of the fact that many government agencies in Ecuador are fairly well advanced in the use of information for a variety of purposes, the mission recommended the Ecuadorian Space Commission (CEE) to institutionalize of the use of space-based information.</p> <p>The mission recommended CEE, the National Secretariat for Risk Management (SNGR) and CLIRSEN to design a strategy to facilitate access to and use of space-based information, particularly in the context of land-use planning as a way to reduce the exposition of communities to natural hazards and in the context of vulnerability assessment.</p> <p>SNGR and CLIRSEN should improve their links with international mechanisms such as the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters and with UN-SPIDER in case of emergency response. In particular, the incorporation of a task within the Manual of Emergency Operations of the National Emergency Operations Centers targeting this issue explicitly is recommended.</p> <p>CLIRSEN and CEE could benefit from the design of an architecture for the catalogue of archived and recent space-based imagery and information.&nbsp;CONAGE could design strategies to facilitate the compatibility among databases generated by government agencies through a policy that targets the generation of metadata.&nbsp;SNGR, CLIRSEN and CEE should design strategies to enhance the skills of staff in government agencies on the generation and use of space-based information with particular emphasis on disaster-risk management and emergency response.</p> <p>Finally, CEE, SNGR and CLIRSEN could benefit from the bridge function provided by UN-SPIDER as a way to establish contact with space agencies from countries in the region and around the world.</p>

Fiji - Technical Advisory Mission

Advisory Mission Type: 
Technical Advisory Mission
Dates: 
Mon, 30/11/2009 - Thu, 03/12/2009
Advisory Mission Facts
Main Hazards: 
Drought
Main Hazards: 
Earthquake
Main Hazards: 
Forest Fire
Main Hazards: 
Flood
Main Hazards: 
Mass Movement
Main Hazards: 
Severe Storm
Main Hazards: 
Tsunami
-18.1416
178.442
Mission details
<p>The Republic of the Fiji Islands is made up of approximately 330 tiny islands - of which roughly 100 are inhabited - encompassing about 1.3 million square kilometers of the South Pacific Ocean. Fiji is exposed to a variety of hazards including tropical cyclones which trigger both floods and storm surges, as well as earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, drought, and other coastal hazards. In the aftermath of the cyclone and floods in December and January 2009, the Government of Fiji requested UN-SPIDER to conduct a Technical Advisory Mission.</p>
Host Institution: 
National Disaster Management Office (NDMO)
Mission Team: 
<p>Two experts from UN-SPIDER</p>
Mission Profile: 
<p>The mission included visits to government, regional and international organizations and key stakeholders.</p>
Mission Findings: 
<p>Fiji has established an effective administrative structure for disaster management spanning districts and divisions and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) is aware of the benefits of geo-spatial information, including space-based information. However, the NDMO does not yet have the capacity to elaborate maps and use such space-based information.</p> <p>The Fiji Land Information System (FLIS) of the Land Department has a baseline geospatial database that covers the entire country and has developed data standards and data-sharing policies to make information widely available and usable to the stakeholders.</p> <p>The NDMO has contacts with the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and with the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), both of which provide geospatial information services in case of disasters.</p> <p>The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has developed the Natural Hazards and Vulnerabilities Atlas as a free and openly-accessible internet map viewer that provides access to information about past, present and potential disasters. The Atlas contains information on major hazards, both &quot;active&quot; and &quot;historical,&quot; including tropical cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods, and wildfires. It provides decision makers with the needed geospatial context for assessing risks and communicating about natural hazards and the exposure that people and infrastructure have to these hazards.</p> <p>In January 2009, SOPAC purchased TERRASAR-X imagery from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to assist NDMO in the demarcation of inundated areas. In addition, SOPAC analysed satellite images acquired by the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters to help emergency response efforts as a consequence of the floods.</p>
Mission Recommendations: 
<p>NDMO should promote the use of space based information when conducting hazard, vulnerability and risk mapping efforts. NDMO needs to have well documented plans in place for accessing satellite images required in all stages of disaster management. Additionally, it should have at least one expert with skills in information management, remote sensing and GIS to work on facilitating the access and analysis of spatial and disaster related data to serve the needs of end users. The expert would liaise with other agencies for data sharing, implement a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), generate products and provide inputs for disaster risk management and response activities.</p> <p>Fiji would benefit if awareness of space-based information was raised at the level of decision makers within NDMO and key ministries. The use of such information should be incorporated in policies and strategies focusing on disaster-risk reduction and emergency response activities.</p> <p>NDMO should coordinate the development and implementation of a geographically referenced information flow between the Disaster Management Councils at all levels and NDMO to facilitate the preparation of hazard maps and maps of the areas affected by disasters.</p> <p>NDMOs need to work closely with regional organizations to collaborate on data sharing and benefit from data analysis, mapping services, sharing expertise etc, including with the Fiji Land Information System of the Department of Land and Survey (FLIS) and SOPAC.</p> <p>The Government of Fiji should consider the design and implementation of the National Spatial Database Infrastructure incorporating issues such as metadata, data structure and data sharing needs.</p>

Haiti - Expert Mission

Advisory Mission Type: 
Expert Mission
Dates: 
Sun, 14/03/2010 - Sat, 20/03/2010
Advisory Mission Facts
Main Hazards: 
Drought
Main Hazards: 
Earthquake
Main Hazards: 
Flood
Main Hazards: 
Mass Movement
Main Hazards: 
Severe Storm
Main Hazards: 
Tsunami
18.5393
-72.3364
Mission details
<p>The devastating earthquake, which hit Haiti on 12 January 2010 created an unprecedented situation in the country. Within hours of the disaster, UN-SPIDER facilitated the activation of the International Charter and activated its network. Recognizing the need to support the Civil Protection Agency of Haiti (CPA), UN-SPIDER conducted an Expert Mission with the goal of identifying the needs of CPA and other government agencies regarding the access to and use of space-based information to support response and recovery efforts.</p>
Host Institution: 
Civil Protection Agency of Haiti (CPA)
Mission Expert: 
The mission was led by Mr Juan Carlos Villagran, UN-SPIDER. The mission benefited from the substantive support provided by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations to Haiti (SRSG) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) GIS unit.
Mission Profile: 
<p>The mission included meetings with staff from the Civil Protection Agency and the National Center for Geo-Spatial Information (CNIGS), MINUSTAH, MINUSTAH-GIS, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), EU-Civil Protection, and various NGOs supporting recovery efforts in Haiti.</p> <p>In addition, the mission included follow-up meetings in Washington with representatives of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the World Bank, and with government agencies of the United States (Department of State, US Agency for International Development, US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), NASA), as well as with representatives from Thermopylae Sciences and Technology, a consulting company providing support to US Southern Command.</p>
Mission Outcome: 
<ul> <li>Due to the impacts of the disaster on many government agencies, including CPA and CNIGS, access to and use of space-based information is basically limited to international donor agencies, the World Bank and organizations from the United Nations active in Haiti;</li> <li>The headquarters of CNIGS and CPA were destroyed, as well as the EOC. Nevertheless, most of the digital data (nearly 90%) has been recovered. CNIGS was also able to recover aerial photos of the whole country;</li> <li>Space-based imagery is used to track the dynamics of refugee camps and to identify potential sites for temporary housing units. This work is being realized by an OCHA team that includes the support of NGOs such as MapAction and IMAAP;</li> <li>A variety of institutions outside Haiti, including the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters, UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Offices such as CATHALAC and Volunteer Technical Communities are generating space-based information to support response and recovery efforts;</li> <li>At the request of the United States Southern Command, the private company Thermopylae Sciences and Technology developed a geo-viewer called 3D-UDOP that is built on the bases of Google Earth and is being tested in Haiti;</li> <li>The MINUSTAH-GIS unit, located at the Log Base, did not suffer any damages. It has been set up by the Cartographic Section to support the standard operations of MINUSTAH and Armed Forces cooperating with the UN in Haiti and spans all the provinces of the country. As a result of the earthquake, the unit has provided support to United Nations agencies and NGOs in terms of the elaboration and plotting of large scale maps in various sizes;</li> <li>While MINUSTAH-GIS is aware of UN-SPIDER, it is not aware of the explicit uses of space-based information which was available on the Knowledge Portal;</li> <li>The World Bank and the Join Research Centre of the European Commission are conducting a damage assessment of infrastructure using a variety of sources including satellite imagery.</li></ul> <p>As CNIGS has trained staff which can analyze geo-spatial imagery, it needs to be involved in the process of generating geospatial-based information to support the decision-making process in the context of the recovery activities conducted in Haiti. CNIGS should also be linked into the US- and UN-led efforts on the generation and use of space-based information.</p> <p>It would be desirable for UN-SPIDER to support both CNIGS and CPA in the establishment and use of geo-viewers, either in the version elaborated by ESRI and the other one elaborated by Thermopylae Science and Technology Company for the US Southern Command to support operations in Haiti. In particular during the coming hurricane season, where floods and landslides could also affect this country.</p> <p>Coordination has to be ensured between the CPA and CNIGS, other government agencies on the one hand and MINUSTAH-GIS and UNOCHA on the other hand. Both MINUSTAH-GIS and UNOCHA have ample internet capacities and plotting facilities, which could provide the necessary support to CNIGS and to the CPA in case of upcoming natural disasters. To become an effective partner in the generation of information to be used in the recovery process, CPA will need support to rebuild its capacities in terms of infrastructure and in terms of training activities.</p>

Namibia - Technical Advisory Mission

Advisory Mission Type: 
Technical Advisory Mission
Dates: 
Tue, 27/01/2009 - Mon, 02/02/2009
Advisory Mission Facts
Main Hazards: 
Drought
Main Hazards: 
Flood
-22.9576
18.4904
Mission details
<p>Namibia is characterized by recurrent droughts. However, in January 2009 some of the worst floods ever recorded affected northern Namibia, to the extent that the Namibian government declared a state of emergency. UN-SPIDER facilitated the activation of the International Charter &quot;Space and Major Disasters&quot; <a href="http://www.un-spider.org/disaster/1487/2009-02-27/namibia/flood-namibia">as well as the access to data</a>. Following this event, the Government of Namibia requested UN-SPIDER to conduct a Technical Advisory Mission and to propose recommendations how to improve Namibia&rsquo;s access to and use of space-based technology and information.</p>
Host Institution: 
The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry under Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF)
Mission Team: 
<p>The mission was carried out by a UN-SPIDER expert and two experts from the German Aerospace center (DLR).</p>
Mission Profile: 
<p>The mission included meetings with representatives from Department of Water Affairs and Forestry of the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry, the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) UNDP and the Directorate Emergency Management of the Office of the Prime Minister. The mission included a stakeholder workshop bringing together more than 50 participants from public and private sector of Namibia.</p>
Mission Findings: 
<p>The mission took note of the fact that decision makers in Namibia are not really aware of the potential uses of space-based technology for disaster management;</p> <p>A limited number of institutions have basic capacity to work with space-based information and technology such as GPS. However, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry possess the necessary technical skills and in part also the equipment and the basic information layers to act as an information hub in an emergency situation;</p> <p>As far as remote sensing software is concerned, geospatial imagery processing application belonging to the ERDAS portfolio are in use as well as other open source software, i.e. ILWIS;</p> <p>Space-based technology and information have not yet been exploited in Namibia in a systematic way in the context of risk analysis and mapping; but very recently high resolution aerial ortho-photos have been incorporated into risk zoning of some urban areas of the country.</p> <p>The flow of disaster-relevant information among different government institutions is weak due to the lack of a spatial database infrastructure;</p> <p>The Government institutions are not in the position to activate the International Charter &ldquo;Space and Major Disasters).</p>
Mission Recommendations: 
<p>Namibia could benefit from training efforts which would enhance basic capacities and development activities in the field of remote sensing, GPS and GIS for different institutions depending on their role and level;</p> <p>The ad hoc task force group that was suggested as one major outcome of the working groups to foster the integration of space-based information and technology elements into the National Multi-risk Contingency Plan should be further supported;</p> <p>The Government should nominate a focal point to request the activation of the International Charter &ldquo;Space and Major Disasters&rdquo; in the case of an emergency through the appropriate channels; and to request support to UN-SPIDER;</p> <p>The compilation and integration of paper-based disaster information and other information sources such as geophysical data, hydro-meteorological modelling approaches/results grated to make it useful for risk assessment (e.g. flood risk zone analysis based on records of historical events);</p> <p>The government to promote the establishment of the Namibian Geospatial Data Infrastructure with the support of UN-SPIDER and UNGIWG;</p> <p>Space-based information and technology elements to be introduced into the national multi-risk contingency plan at the appropriate location, e.g. for flood damage assessment and flood risk zoning.</p>

Namibia - Background

During the response phase the UN-SPIDER team directly supports disaster-stricken countries by ensuring access to the “International Charter Space and Major Disasters” and other existing international mechanisms or opportunities. To illustrate the extent of the support being routinely provided by UN-SPIDER the March 2008 floods in Namibia is detailed.

A severe flood in the central northern regions of Namibia, which started at the end of January, reached its peak around mid-March. The Namibian government declared a state of emergency on 5 March. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), southern Angola and northern Namibia were expected to receive heavy rains over the following days. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), asked for international support regarding satellite images and the involvement of an emergency mechanism to receive these images on a priority bass, of higher resolution and not obscured by cloud cover.

On 7 March the responsible officer was contacted by a UN-SPIDER expert via telephone and he was informed about the possibilities of activating the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" with the support of a UN agency located in Namibia. Furthermore, the officer from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry was informed about further potential data sources such as ALOS data from JAXA, the Dartmouth Laboratory with its global flood assessments, the Satellite Applications Centre in South Africa with its receiving station and the Center for satellite based Crisis Information (DLR/ZKI) including the access to radar images from the TerraSAR-X satellite.

During the subsequent discussions it became clear that due to the type of flooding, the vegetation cover, soil and weather conditions as further influencing parameters high resolution radar images were the favourable base. A request to provide satellite imagery for northern and north-eastern regions of Namibia came to UNOOSA from the country office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Namibia. Subsequently, on 14 March, 2008, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) triggered the International Charter to help Namibia in its combat against the crucial impacts of the floods and the outbreak of cholera.

UN-SPIDER provided support and followed-up closely with both UNDP and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry of Namibia, helping the country to take full advantage of what the international community was providing. Two officials of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry also had the opportunity to participate in the Second United Nations International UN-SPIDER Bonn Workshop: "Disaster Management and Space Technology - Bridging the Gap" in Bonn, Germany, 13 to 15 October 2008 providing a feed-back on the lessons learned.
 

Namibia - Pilot project on integrated flood management and water related vector borne disease modeling

In addition to the Charter activation UN-SPIDER is involved in a range of activities to provide further supplemental information, data and imagery to the affected countries in the region. UN-SPIDER is actively working in the GEOSS Architecture Implementation Pilot projects context, co-leading some initiatives to better bridge between the available technical expertize and resources and the needs of the users in the field and at UN or national level. Additionally, UN-SPIDER is also cooperating with the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Information Systems and Service (WGISS) experts in better using their capabilities and available space technologies and applications for disaster managment purposes. Based on these activities and contacts a community came together with the goal not only to support Namibia during the relief situation but to implement a pilot project that also supports in the aftermath of the floods.

Pilot project on integrated flood management and water related vector borne disease modeling
The main project idea is to combine high resolution satellite imagery with hydrologic ground data and modelling in order to derive useful flood forecasting tools for the next flood season in the sense of a transboundary flood management system for local decision makers.

The second pillar of the project is to explore possibilities of water related vector borne disease modelling. A strong collaboration with already existing networks, e.g. employed by WHO, is absolutely necessary. Moreover, the second focus should be extremely user-oriented, thus recommendations from the respective institutions in Namibia such as the Ministry of Health and Social Sciences are prerequisite in order to successfully integrate any approach/result of this project into the National Health Emergency Prepardness and Response Plan (NHEPRP).

UN-SPIDER is co-leading the coordination of this project together with scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and from the NOAA-Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Center (NOAA-CREST) and in close collaboration with responsible institutions in Namibia. UN-SPIDER especially fosters the dialogue at the national level and with other UN agencies, such as UNDP, UNOCHA, UNISDR, WMO and WHO which are engaged in this area. As a general agreement, the mutual effort of this project is intended to produce valuable and tangible results that will be used in Namibia and surrounding countries such as Angola, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe as well. Bringing together the international community and expertise is of increasing importance since the disaster management agencies in Southern Africa have to adapt to a rapidly growing number of natural disasters caused by floods and droughts. The effects of global climate change will most probably aggravate this situation. In addition, vector borne diseases and epidemics of weather- and climate-sensitive infectious diseases, including malaria, meningitis, and cholera, cause massive disruption to societies and put a heavy burden on national health systems.
 

latitude: 
-22.5589
longitude: 
17.0825

Sudan - Technical Advisory Mission

Advisory Mission Type: 
Technical Advisory Mission
Dates: 
Sun, 22/05/2011 - Thu, 26/05/2011
Advisory Mission Facts
Main Hazards: 
Drought
Main Hazards: 
Extreme Temperature
Main Hazards: 
Flood
Main Hazards: 
Insect Infestation
Main Hazards: 
Severe Storm
15.5501
32.5322
Mission details
<p>Sudan is exposed to droughts, some of them triggering famines and displacements. Sudan is also exposed to floods along the Nile river, sand storms and heat stress. At the invitation of the Government of Sudan and taking into consideration an ever-increasing potential for natural disasters and the effects of climate change, UN-SPIDER conducted a Technical Advisory Mission to Sudan. The key objectives of the mission were to assess national capacity and evaluate disaster and risk reduction activities, policies and plans with regard to the use of space-based technologies.</p>
Host Institution: 
The Sudanese Remote Sensing Authority
Mission Team: 
<p>The mission was headed by two experts from UN-SPIDER and included experts from UNEP, UNDP, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), York University, Planet Action, the China National Space Administration and the Regional Centre for Mapping and Resources Development (RCMRD), which is one of the three UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices in Africa.</p>
Mission Profile: 
<p>The mission included meetings with representatives from key government stakeholders including three Ministers. The mission included a half-day meeting to brief representatives from the various relevant government departments and to discuss cross-cutting issues related to the use of space-based information for disaster risk reduction and emergency response. The mission also included a one-day national workshop which was attended by over 100 representatives from the Government, NGOs, Academia, United Nations organisations and private companies.</p>
Mission Findings: 
<p>The expert team became aware that the National Council for Civil Defence (NCCD) is the apex body in the Government to coordinate disaster management in the country. The Council is composed by 16 Ministries, the Governor of Khartoum State and the Civil Defense Administration. It the main decision maker in case of disasters;</p> <p>Disaster Risk Management and Emergency Response efforts are conducted under the coordination of the Council and involve the Civil Defense, the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, the Ministry of Health, the Meteorological Authority and other organizations. However, the focus is more on disaster response as opposed to disaster-risk reduction efforts;</p> <p>The Mission also took note of the lack of effective links among government agencies when it comes of data and information sharing. In particular, there is an absence of a coordinated, government-driven, functional National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) for Sudan;</p> <p>There are a number of key institutions within Government with competent, well trained professionals and technicians that are currently adept at use space-based data and geo-information technologies to derive value-added geospatial information products for DRR and ER, as is evident from their past and ongoing projects. For example the Dessert Locust Control Centre is a key example of using a combination of earth observation data with communication and navigation satellites data. Other institutes would include the Remote Sensing Authority (RSA), the Sudan Meteorological Authority (SMA), the Desert Locust Control Centre (LCC), National Survey and Mapping Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture;</p> <p>There is a substantial amount of GIS data covering the entire country but it is not cohesive. The mission team could not get indication that any single agency currently has the entire baseline GIS data for the entire country which can be shared with all other departments and institutions involved in using of geospatial information.</p> <p>Sudan is implementing the Regional Centre for Preparedness and Early Warning with assistance from the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO);</p> <p>Currently no Government institution is in the position to activate the International Charter Space and Major Disasters.</p>
Mission Recommendations: 
<p>Based on its findings, the mission team identified a number of activities that could lead to improved use of space-based information and technology. Among them:</p> <ul> <li>The NCCD should enact policies and implement strategies targeting disaster risk reduction as a way to improve early warning, preparedness, response and mitigation, pillared on space technology applications;</li> <li>The NCCD should find ways to improve institutional arrangements and coordination to ensure effective cooperation and contribution of all the stakeholders to implement decisions of the Council.</li> <li>Government Ministries should design and implement clear mechanisms for information management and sharing, including the development of the country&rsquo;s National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). A National Geo-information Committee should be formed based on the protocol established by RCMRD for its member states to improve coordination, cooperation and networking of the organisations involved in generating geospatial information;</li> <li>The government should take steps to link with UN-SPIDER and with mechanisms such as the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters as a way to access relevant information for disaster risk reduction, strengthen early warning systems and monitor disaster&rsquo;s impact to provide effective emergency response;</li> <li>The NCCD should strengthen institutional capacities at the federal and state levels to consolidate the application of space technologies and geo-information.</li> <li>Awareness raising activities targeting the decision makers at high and mid-levels need to be conducted focusing on the benefits of space-based information in the context of emergency response and disaster-risk management;</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Togo - Technical Advisory Mission

Advisory Mission Type: 
Technical Advisory Mission
Dates: 
Tue, 14/07/2009 - Fri, 17/07/2009
Advisory Mission Facts
Main Hazards: 
Drought
Main Hazards: 
Flood
Main Hazards: 
Insect Infestation
8.61954
0.824782
Mission details
<p>The Republic of Togo is prone to frequent floods and droughts. Locust plagues contribute to endangering the food security of the local population. In addition, vector borne diseases and epidemics of weather- and climate-sensitive infectious diseases cause massive disruption to societies. At the invitation of the Government of Togo, a UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission was requested to identify potential areas where space-based technology and information could play a greater role, and propose recommendations how to improve Togo's access to these resources.</p>
Host Institution: 
Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources
Mission Team: 
<p>Under the coordination of UN-SPIDER, the mission team comprised 10 experts from the UN-OCHA Regional Office West Africa in Senegal, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) of Nigeria, the Regional Centre for Training in Aerospace Surveys (RECTAS) and from the African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in French Language (CRASTE-LF) based in Morocco.</p>
Mission Profile: 
<p>The mission included meetings with representatives of various government agencies including the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resource, the Department of Cadastre and Cartography, the Fire Department and with representatives of UN organizations in Togo (WHO, FAO, UNDP, OCHA etc.). The mission also included a two-day workshop with representatives from more than 30 governmental agencies and national institutions involved in disaster management activities.</p>
Mission Findings: 
<p>The expert team found that:</p> <ul> <li>Recognizing the need to reduce the impacts of events such as floods, Togo is shifting efforts from emergency response to disaster-risk management (DRR). Such efforts include mainstreaming DRR activities in development plans, risk assessment, early warning and preparedness.</li> <li>The government of Togo is in the process of updating disaster management plan with the support of UNDP consultants.</li> <li>While several organizations are involved in disaster management, none of them use space-based information in their planning or implementation. The main reasons include the lack of awareness amongst decision makers about the usage of space based information in disaster management, the lack of opportunities to access space based information, the lack of technical expertise to make use of such information, and the lack of financial resources.</li> <li>In Togo several government institutions have the capacity to use GIS including the Department of Cartography and Cadastre (DCC), the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, the Water Commission and the University of Lome;</li> <li>In the context of remote sensing, both the DCC and the University of Lome have the capacities to process remote sensing data;</li> <li>There is a need to generate geo-spatial data to be used in disaster-risk management and emergency response efforts. Nevertheless, the mission took note of the fact that The Surveyor General is implementing a national spatial data infrastructure. The project called SIGIT will be hosted by the National Geographic Institute. When the project is completed, all available space-based data will be available in digital format and new data will be collected and thus update existing database;</li> <li>Currently no Government institution is in the position to activate the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Mission Recommendations: 
<p>Given the efforts conducted by several institutions on DRR, a recommendation is made to these institutions to use space-based technology and information for disaster risk reduction in a systematic way, e.g. through risk mapping and vulnerability analysis;</p> <p>Political actors need to be mobilised and get their support so that government agencies can implement the SIGIT project focusing on the spatial data infrastructure, and facilitate data development and capacity building on the use of space based information for disaster management and emergency response;</p> <p>Government institutions should conduct an inventory of the existing spatial data (topographic maps, thematic maps, satellite imageries, aerial photographs, orthophotos and geodetic data) and identify the producers and users of spatial data;</p> <p>Spatial data should be available at all levels of the cycle of disaster (prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, rehabilitation) and this needs to be incorporated in the strategic plan;</p> <p>UN-SPIDER, the International Charter and other mechanisms in place should provide spatial data with a minimum of processing requests: It is recommended that disaster management agencies/authorities keep record of the support offered by UN-SPIDER and establish mechanism to coordinate with UN-SPIDER in case of disasters;</p> <p>The government agencies should facilitate institutional strengthening through the training of their staff on the use of GIS and remote sensing applications in the areas of disaster risk reduction and emergency response;</p>

Togo - Disaster risk reduction and emergency response institutions

Institutions involved in disaster risk reduction and emergency response
Although several institutions play a role in disaster management in Togo, four institutions remain at the apex coordination level. These are the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Defense.

 

The Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources (MERF)

MERF has been trusted with the responsibility for disaster reduction in Togo since October 2006. The Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources hosts the DRR platform and nominated the Focal Point to ISDR for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for action. Following are mandates of the Ministries:

The role of the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources (MEFR) in the field of Disaster Reduction is regulated by law No. 2008-005 (30 May 2009), which aimed at setting a framework for the Environment, and which declares MEFR responsible for disaster reduction in Togo. Along these lines, it ensures:

  • The effective integration of the environmental dimension into policy-making, programmes, and development projects encompassing sector-wide activities;
  • Risk Assessment of natural or technological disasters;
  • Taking the appropriate warning and prevention measures;
  • The initiation of organized rescue projects on national, regional, and prefectural levels;
  • The establishment of emergency plans aimed at dealing with critical situations;
  • The development of coordinated public service plans to ensure people’s safety, evacuation and medical treatment, as well as to fight against pollution, fires, and all pertaining hazardous aftermaths.

Activities of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (ISDR platform activities in Togo). The Togo platform was established in April 2007. The main activities of the platform are:

  • The integration of disaster reduction issues in the afore mentioned environment law;
  • The inclusion of disaster reduction in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP);
  • The inclusion of disaster reduction in the UNDP “Country Programme for Development Assistance” document;
  • The development of a National Strategy for Disaster Reduction in Togo (ongoing);
  • Workshops, information dissemination, and raising awareness on early warning and disaster management;
  • Authentication of the diagnostic study which has led to the establishment of preliminary flood risk maps in two regions (Maritime and Savane regions) that have been severely affected by devastating floods over 2007 and 2008;
  • The establishment of local committees for the implementation of the ORSEC project and for disaster management purposes;
  • Regional workshops aimed at educating, raising awareness and training local actors and decision makers on the integration of risk and disaster management in local programmes and projects. The overall objective is to shed light on the roles and responsibilities of these actors in risk and disaster management activities in Togo, with the purpose of reducing the population’s vulnerability to natural hazards and specifically to floods;
  • Brainstorming workshop dealing with the establishment of an early warning system;
  • Development of a memorandum on disaster reduction;
  • Development of a documentary titled “Disaster Reduction Begins at School”;
  • Support the development of a contingency plan on disaster management;
  • Signing partnership deals with two research centers at the University of Lomé (Togo) targeting studies on climatic trends and the collection of hydrological data in the framework of flood prevention in Togo;
  • Preparation of and participation in international meetings relevant to disaster prevention and management.

 

Ministry for Civil Defense
The Ministry for Civil Defense manages the ORSEC Plan (Plan d’Organisation des Secours), the plan to respond to any emergency situation. Other activities are:

  • Ensure the provision of support to other rescue and emergency response services
  • Ensure the provision of support in transportation and logistics
  • Ensure the provision of accommodation and refuge
  • Ensure the support for public works

 

Ministry of Social Affairs
The Ministry of Social Affairs created the Department for Coordination and the Department for Management during the flood situation in December 2008. Following are initiatives of the department

  • Support of flood victims
  • To implement policies of the Government
  • To plan strategies for Disaster management
  • To plan relief operations
  • Provide emergency relief services
  • Collect necessary data required for mobilising necessary resources

Ministry of Security and Civil Protection
The Ministry of Security and civil protection established the Department of Civil Protection in 2007. The department understands the importance of spatial technologies and however it lacks the mechanism to get reliable information to mobilise resource which hampers their activities. Key functions are:

  • Ensure inter-sectoral coordination of relief operations
  • Ensure the protection of people and property
  • Ensure rescue and evacuation
  • Ensure the organization of simulative operations
  • Ensure needs assessment
  • Contribute to the implementation of an early warning system

 

Besides these four main players, there are several other departments contributing to disaster management.

National Meteorological Department

The National Meteorological Service in Togo, declared as Direction Générale de la Météorologie Nationale (DGMN) has the classical function of providing meteorological information and weather forecasts for Togo. DGMN is responsible for the national station network comprising 9 synoptic stations, 19 climatological stations and about 200 precipitation points. The instrumentation of the stations is rather oldfashioned and needs to be updated. The DGMN focuses on 3 main components, namely agro-meteorology, climatology and research. It receives MSG satellite images every 15 minutes, however, the institute has not the capacity or infrastructure neither to adequately analyse nor to store these data and to deliver its mandatory services.

 

University of Lome

The University of Lome regularly performs research activities that contributes to the knowledge base for disaster management. The university has several research projects on monitoring coastal processes and erosion activities. Some technical capacity regarding the use of space-based technology and satellite image processing was identified at the university. Satellite image processing is mainly based on the use of medium and low resolution images such as LANDSAT (and partly ENVISAT). Regarding geospatial analysis, GIS is applied for land cover/land use change analysis, digital elevation models, and risk mapping especially along the coastal area. There is also an ongoing effort to establish a larger data center that might play a major role within the development of a national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI).

 

Fire brigade

The equipment of the national fire brigade located in Lome is currently at a state that seriously needs to be improved and modernised. Although the department is lead by a very experienced and engaged head who is supported by well-trained team members, there are crucial gaps especially in the field of using modern GPS and satellite-based communication technology. The technology was put in place by international humanitarian agencies, however, nobody trained the staff to use the respective technical devices. At this point the mission team suggested an introductory training course led by the regional partners from RECTAS.

 

Department of Cartography and Cadastre Department of Cartography and Cadastre (Direction Générale du Cadastre et de la Cartographie) within the

“Ministère de l’Urbanisme et de l’Habitat” is strategically placed as it is custodian of crucial geographical information such as topographic maps and maintain archives of aerial photographs. Department of Cartography and Cadastre is composed of 3 engineers and 9 technicians. It has no GIS equipment, hence the cartographic work is currently held by hand (no electronic data available). It needs to be modernised and staff to be trained which should be the case through the SIGIT project. It has logically been identified to host the DIGIT project until a new independent structure such as a Cartographic National Institute is established.

 

latitude: 
6.13778
longitude: 
1.2125