Within the project “Providing Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technical support for Disaster Risk Reduction programs implemented by DIPECHO partners in the South East African and South West Indian Ocean region”, UN-SPIDER, together with the Italian-based NGO Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI) and the Geoinformatic Centre from the University of Salzburg (Z-GIS) carried out a mission to Lilongwe, Malawi in Nov. 2010 to conduct a national seminar.
Sat, 13/11/2010 to Sun, 21/11/2010
Jörg Szarzynski, UN-SPIDER
The mission included a national seminar that provided a general overview regarding space-based information, UN-SPIDER’s role and existing international mechanisms such as the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters. The national seminar focused on practical application of GIS and EO tools to address disaster preparedness and response planning. It brought together representatives from government institutions (the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, the Technical Secretariat for the Ministry of Agriculture, the Geological Survey Department, the Meteorological Department, and the National Statistic Office); as well as representatives from the European Union, WFP, UNDP, UNICEF, the World Bank, GTZ; and eight NGO’s (COOPI, GOAL, ChristianAid, EAM, MALEZA, OXFAM, Concern Worldwide, and MSH).
The mission allowed UN-SPIDER to become aware of the technical capacity available in Madagascar and the Comores Island in the areas of disaster-risk management and emergency response. Representatives of these ministries, institutions and NGOs were made aware of the UN-SPIDER programme and its activities, of potential areas where space-based technology and information could play a greater role and on the type of support that the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters can provide.
The seminar also allowed participants to discuss ways to improve communications among agencies and NGOs, to coordinate and disseminate space-based information for disaster risk management and emergency response in Malawi and about what kind of data, technology and training is needed.
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.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
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).
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 space-based information 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.
Afghanistan is a country exposed to earthquakes, floods, droughts, mass movements and other hazards. Recent droughts in the years 2000, 2006, and 2011 have impacted millions of Afghans. Earthquakes have also caused fatalities, injuries and losses of various kinds. On 22 June 2009, UN-SPIDER was invited to a briefing among United Nations agencies in Kabul to discuss how best to make use of spatial data/mapping tools to support disaster-risk reduction and emergency response activities in Afghanistan.
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
The mission was conducted via an inter-agency meeting with representatives of United Nations agencies in Afghanistan that contribute to disaster-risk management and emergency response efforts in this country.
The mission allowed UN agencies working under the umbrella of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to become aware of UN-SPIDER, its mission, and the type of technical advisory support that it can provide to countries such as Afghanistan. The important role of remote sensing in humanitarian response and planning was underlined through examples provided by OCHA concerning recent floods that impacted this country, including the most recent one in May 2009, where UN-SPIDER was requested to provide technical support. UN-SPIDER pledged additional technical expertise to support both the Government and the United Nations Country Team in Afghanistan to ensure this forum is closely linked to available resources; and encouraged the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority to establish a working group as a way to promote the sharing of information as a way to improve efforts targeting disaster-risk reduction and emergency response.
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