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.