Tonga - Technical Advisory Mission

Tonga is frequently affected by earthquakes, volcanoes, cyclones and other coastal hazards such as storm surges. As a Small Island Developing State, Tonga is also experiencing the impacts of sea-level rise. The UN-SPIDER Programme supported the Kingdom of Tonga by carrying out a Technical Advisory Mission, at the request of the Tongan Government through the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources.


Tue, 20/03/2012 to Fri, 23/03/2012

Host Institution: 

Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources

Mission Team: 

David Stevens, UN-SPIDER Programme Coordinator, headed the mission team and was joined by experts from SOPAC, Dr. Wolf Forsttreuter, UN-OCHA, Ms. Rashmi Rita. Mr. Richard Kautoke Head of the GIS Division of the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources, as well as by Dave Leng a leading regional crowdsourcing expert. The mission builds upon the technical advisory support that UN-SPIDER has been providing to all Pacific Island Countries since 2008 with the support from the Government of Austria. The mission worked closely with Mr. Mafua-'i-Vai'utukakau Maka from the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO).

Mission Profile: 

The Mission was carried out from 20 to 23 March and included meetings with key stakeholders and a half-day workshop for senior policy makers, data providers, and disaster management and disaster risk reduction end users with the purpose of awareness generation and assessing the country needs and capacity. The aim of the mission was to 1. Review current policies, procedures and mechanisms related to the use of geo-spatial information and make recommendations; 2. To engage key stakeholders who are custodians of geo-spatial data relevant to disaster risk management; 3. Develop an institutional strengthening strategy for stakeholder agencies (individuals, institutions and infrastructure), and finally 4. Develop a long-term association with UN-SPIDER to take advantage of outreach activities, institutional strengthening programmes and resources available through the UN-SPIDER network.

Mission Recommendations: 

  • Initial recommendations put forward by the mission team include the need to focus on the establishment and consolidation of an institutional and legal framework regarding geospatial data including the need to ensure the wide practice and ease of data sharing. This includes the need to study the possibility of establishing a National Spatial Database Infrastructure (NSDI), aiming at contributing to the definition of the national spatial database (including the various data custodians) and data sharing policies, together with the strengthening of the leading role of the GIS Division of the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources.
  • The mission team also recommended the organisation of a one-day awareness raising high-level meeting for high ranking officials followed by a 5-day capacity building activity, either focusing on a mapping exercise or an emergency response simulation exercise. This proposed event is scheduled initially to take place in August/September 2012.
  • The mission team also highlighted the need to ensure access to satellite imagery for on-going disaster events (emergency response) by mapping opportunities, creating linkages to existing mechanisms and defining roles of national institutions and regional partners including SOPAC. This should include also working closely with providers of satellite imagery to ensure data is received with the possibility of carrying out the pre-processing operations.
  • Finally, the mission team agreed that they would explore together the use of crowdsourcing capabilities in supporting NEMO’s needs, including the planning and carrying out of a simulation exercise similar to the simulation carried out by Samoa in December 2011, with the support of the UN-SPIDER Programme.

Philippines - Expert Mission

The Philippines, like other countries in the Pacific Rim, are exposed to a variety of hazards including floods, storm surges and strong winds associated with tropical cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides. The severity of tropical storm Ketsana prompted the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to request technical support from UN-SPIDER and the activation of the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters.


Fri, 09/07/2010

Host Institution: 

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council

Mission Expert: 

Shirish Ravan, UN-SPIDER

Mission Profile: 

On 9 July 2010, UN-SPIDER conducted an expert mission to the Philippines to conduct meetings with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and other government agencies. The mission included a meeting with government agencies that are members of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) including the Office of Civil Defense, PAGASA, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), the Mines Bureau and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Mission Outcome: 

The mission allowed UN-SPIDER to establish closer links with its National Focal Point NRRMC and with other government agencies within the Philippines. The mission allowed these agencies to become aware of the mission of UN-SPIDER, the type of Technical Advisory Support that it can provide to the Philippines and on the usefulness of in case of disaster-risk reduction and emergency response. The meeting allowed participants to discuss the usefulness of space-based information during the 2009 typhoon season (Ketsana, Parma, Lupit and Mirinae), potential applications in the upcoming typhoon season as well as lessons learned, and existing mechanisms such as the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters and Sentinel Asia that have been established by the space community to support countries facing the impacts of major disasters. The mission also allowed UN-SPIDER to become aware of on-going efforts in the Philippines in the areas of disaster-risk reduction and emergency response.

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