Honduras is exposed to a variety of hazards including tropical storms, hurricanes, droughts, floods, landslides, and tsunamis. In recent years Honduras has implemented a series of policies, strategies and activities to incorporate the notions of disaster risk management from the national to the local level. The State has increased the mandate of the Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) to implement necessary actions to prevent and eliminate the country’s vulnerability related to natural hazards. At the request of COPECO, UN-SPIDER carried out a Technical Advisory Mission to Honduras in July 2015 with the aim of promoting the use of and satellite technologies in disaster risk management, preparedness, response and recovery efforts.
Permanent Contingencies Commission: (Comisión Permanente de Contingencias, COPECO)
UN-SPIDER assembled a team of experts from Latin America who focus their work on the use of space-based applications for various activities including the topic of disasters triggered by natural hazards.
The Technical Advisory Mission was conducted by the following experts:
Mr. Juan Carlos Villagran de Leon, UN-SPIDER and head of the mission to Honduras;
Mr. Julio César Castillo Urdapilleta, Mexican Space Agency (AEM);
Mr. Benito Orozco Serna, Mexican Space Agency (AEM);
Mr. Jesus Gonzalez Bernal, Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRECTEALC);
Mrs. Silvia Pardi Lacruz, Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil;
Mr. Hector Mauricio Ramirez, Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute (IGAC), Colombia;
Mr. Marcelo Oyuela, Water Centre for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC).
The mission team benefited from the support of the engineers Yolanda Fletes and Lenin Díaz, who work at COPECO.
The Mission included visits to 12 institutions, including government entities, regional and international organizations and the Autonomous University of Honduras.
The Mission was used to focus on three specific outcomes:
· To provide COPECO and the members of the Inter-Agency Drought Panel as well as different institutions a series of satellite images and maps of the Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) developed by UN-SPIDER to contribute to the efforts that COPECO and the Panel conduct in the Dry Corridor related to the severe drought that is affecting the this region of the country;
· To provide the members of the Inter-Agency Drought Panel information regarding the application developed by UN-SPIDER using the open software called ”R” to process composite products based on MODIS satellite imagery for the generation of VCI maps;
· To facilitate the link between the staff engaged in the National Emergency Operations Centre (COEN) and the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, through the National Commission on Space Activities of Argentina (CONAE).
The mission took note that COPECO is recognized as the leading national institution regarding processes associated with disaster risk management. COPECO has the technical strengths and human resources which allow it to lead inter-institutional commissions regarding the topics related to its mandate.
The mission also noted the progress made by various institutions in Honduras to make better use of geospatial information through the establishment of the Interagency Commission of SpatialData (CIDES), the establishment of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (INDES), the elaboration of norms to manage metadata and a systematized inventory of layers of geospatial data and information. Moreover, COPECO recently established a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Honduras regarding the implementation of a drought monitoring system that makes use of satellite imagery and in-situ data.
One of the most interesting advances identified by the experts taking part in this mission of UN-SPIDER was the establishment of CIDES and the efforts undertaken to implement INDES. Government offices in charge of CIDES acknowledged that a national spatial data policy has been designed as a way to establish the INDES in Honduras in order to facilitate access to and the exchange of data among multiple institutions.
The mission noticed that there exists a goodwill to confront the challenges posed by natural hazards through inter-institutional efforts including the Inter-institutional Drought Risk Management Committee (CTIGRS) and the Technical Drought Panel; the mission also recognized the capacity of various government institutions to mobilize international cooperation; as well as the good attitude, enthusiasm, leadership and commitment of young people regarding the generation of spatial information for decision-making and that they are conscious of the needs and confront them seriously. Accordingly, the ongoing training of these young people with international support is seen as a critical element which will help Honduras generate the knowledge and the tools which are necessary to face the problems.
Based on their observations, the team of experts proposed a number of recommendations that aim to institutionalize the generation and use of space-based information during all phases of the disaster management cycle. The most important recommendation is the implementation of a policy focusing on the generation and use of geospatial information, including , in the planning processes that COPECO, the Secretariats and other institutions of the State carry out with regard to disaster risk management. This policy should contribute to institutionalise the use of geospatial information which in turn will allow these institutions to fulfil their mandates.
The experts suggested several strategies to implement this policy, including:
· The use of opportunities offered by the space community in terms of open access to data, satellite imagery and products free of charge to generate relevant and pertinent information;
· To complete the establishment of the National Integrated System for Disaster Risk Management and Territorial Studies (SIGRET);
· To adopt the CIDES and the Panel of the Experts for Drought as examples for inter-institutional groups of professionals in charge of generating geospatial information for the decision-making process;
· Strengthen the skills of professionals and staff which work in government institutions affiliated to CIDES regarding to generation and use of space-based information;
· Establish a department or a unit within COPECO which focuses its efforts on geographic information systems and satellite information.
UN-SPIDER conducted a Technical Advisory Mission to Honduras from 13 to 18 July 2015.
UN-SPIDER conducted a Technical Advisory Mission to Honduras from 13 to 18 July 2015. The mission was conducted at the request of the Permanent Commission for Contingencies of Honduras (COPECO), and was carried out with a team of experts from the Mexican Space Agency (AEM), the Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRECTEALC), the Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil, and with experts from two UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices.
On 9 and 10 July 2015, UN-SPIDER conducted an Expert Mission to El Salvador under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador as a follow-up to the Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) which was conducted in April 2014. The Expert Mission included several meetings with representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Environment and Natural Resources, Public Works, Public Health, and Interior.
On 9 and 10 July 2015, UN-SPIDER conducted an Expert Mission to El Salvador under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador as a follow-up to the Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) which was conducted in April 2014.
At the request of the Government of the Solomon Islands, UN-SPIDER carried out a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) from 24 to 28 September 2012. The goal was to evaluate the current and potential use of in all the aspects of Disaster management and strengthen disaster risk management in the country by providing better access to space-based information for disaster risk reduction as well as response.
Mon, 24/09/2012 to Fri, 28/09/2012
National Disaster Management Office (NDMO)
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 UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices in Africa.
The mission began with pre-TAM discussions of the mission team with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of Solomon Islands. The mission team visited several offices during the first three days. These meetings provided an insight to these agencies' roles in the national disaster management processes with an emphasis on space-based and geospatial information. Additionally, a one day workshop was conducted, which was attended by 25 persons from the government departments, UN agencies, NGOs and private companies involved in using geospatial technologies for disaster management. The workshop included presentations from various Solomon Islands Government departments and the mission experts. The second half of the workshop was dedicated to a brainstorming session inviting the participants to contribute to improving the use of space technologies in disaster management. The workshop was effective in generating awareness and getting valuable inputs to strengthen space technology in disaster management. On the last day, the TAM team briefed the Director of NDMO on their findings, which led to a discussion about follow up actions in the near future. The observations and recommendations will be compiled in the form of a report which will be shared with the Solomon Islands Government and UN organisations.
Recognizing the fact that El Salvador is a country exposed to a variety of natural hazards, the UN-SPIDER Programme conducted a Technical Advisory Mission to this country with the aim of promoting the use of satellite technologies in the context of disaster risks and emergencies in April 2014. The mission was carried out upon request of Secretariat for Vulnerability Issues of the Presidency of the Republic of the El Salvador.
Wed, 02/04/2014 to Fri, 04/04/2014
Secretariat for Vulnerability Issues of the Presidency of El Salvador and the General Directorate for Civil Protection
Mr. Luc St-Pierre, Coordinator of the UN-SPIDER Programme
Mr. Juan Carlos Villagran de Leon, UN-SPIDER
Mrs. Silvia Pardi Lacruz, National Institute of Space Research of Brazil, INPE
Mrs. Stella Navone, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Mr. Sergio Camacho, Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, CRECTEALC
Mr. Marcelo Oyuela, Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean, CATHALAC
Mr. Hector Mauricio Ramirez, Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute, Colombia, IGAC.
The mission team benefited from the support of Mrs. Blanca de Aviles and Mr. Raul Murillo of the General Directorate for Civil Protection.
The mission included meetings with staff of the two host institutions: the Secretariat for Vulnerability Issues and the General Directorate for Civil Protection; as well as with representatives of the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources; Agriculture and Livestock; Public Works, Transport, Housing and Urban Development; Foreign Affairs; Public Health and other government agencies, regional and international organizations and the University of El Salvador. The mission included a review of existing legislation and policies targeting disaster risk management, emergencyresponse and sustainable development as well as institutional web pages and other documents from these and other relevant institutions.
The mission analyzed five aspects that are relevant to the generation and use of information derived from satellite applications in all phases of the disaster management cycle: Satellite imagery processing and visualization of geospatial information; Applications of geospatial information in all phases of the disaster management cycle; Access to and exchange of data, information and satellite images among government agencies; Inter-institutional networks; Capacity building and institutional strengthening.
The mission team developed a set of recommendations that aim to improve existing capabilities in terms of access, processing, generation and use of during all phases of the disaster management cycle.
The mission team noted the high relevance assigned by the government and the Presidency of the Republic to the topics of disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery. These issues are addressed explicitly in the 2010-2014 National Development Plan, which outlines the policies and efforts to be conducted by the government as a way to reduce the effects of hazards of natural origin throughout the country. The mission team also took note of the efforts which are being conducted by Ministries and other government agencies, as well as universities in El Salvador, as a way to manage existing risks and to respond in case of disasters; and of the notion of inter-institutional efforts which are contemplated in the National Plan for Civil Protection, Prevention and Mitigation of Disasters of El Salvador.
The mission team also identified several institutions that have a good knowledge of data and products derived from satellite applications, among them the Environmental Observatory of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the Geographic Institute. Additionally, several government organizations have made use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to generate maps focusing on various types of content. In the context of natural hazards, satellite-imagery has been used to generate flood hazard maps and in case of disasters. The mission team took note of the fact that the Environmental Observatory is aware of the International Charter – Space and Major Disasters but is somewhat critical about the use of the product generated by this emergency mechanism set up by the space community.
Furthermore, the team noted that at present, the exchange of data and information among institutions is mostly done on a bilateral basis as compared to a multilateral approach. In order to enhance the use of geospatial data within government ministries and agencies, the Geographic Institute is currently promoting the National Geospatial Data Policy with the goal of establishing a Spatial Data Infrastructure for El Salvador (SDI-ES). This SDI-ES aims to facilitate access to and exchange of data among many institutions.
Based on their observations, the team of experts proposed a number of recommendations that aim to institutionalize the generation and use of during all phases of the disaster management cycle. The most important recommendation is the implementation of a policy by the National System of Civil Protection, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and the General Directorate for Civil Protection focusing on the generation and use of geospatial information for decision-making in regard to integrated disaster risk management, response and recovery.
As proposed strategies to implement this policy, the experts suggested:
The promotion of an inter-institutional approach to leverage existing capabilities in various ministries and government institutions, as well as in universities and private sector institutions
The utilization of opportunities offered by the space community in terms of data, images and products that are available free of charge to generate relevant and pertinent information
The experts also highlighted the need to strengthen the capacities of staff in government agencies and other institutions which are responsible for disaster risk management and emergency response on the generation and use of space-based information through short term courses.
At the request of the Government of Mozambique, through the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), UN-SPIDER carried out a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) from 7 to 14 October 2012 to evaluate the current and potential use of in all the aspects of disaster management and strengthen disaster risk management in the country by providing better access to space-based information for disaster risk reduction as well as