Technical Advisory Mission
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 space-based information 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
UN-SPIDER assembled a team of experts from Latin America who focus their work on the use of satellite applications for various activities including disaster risk reduction, preparedness and emergency response.
- 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, emergency response 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 space-based information 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 space-based information 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 establishment of an Integrated Geospatial Information System
- 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 Vietnam, through the Disaster Management Centre, Directorate of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, UN-SPIDER carried out a Technical Advisory Mission to Vietnam to evaluate the current and potential use of space-based information in all the aspects of disaster management in Vietnam 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, 25/03/2013 to Fri, 29/03/2013
Disaster Management Center (DMC)
The mission included 12 experts from the following organizations:
- Shirish Ravan, UN-SPIDER/UNOOSA, Beijing
- Juanjuan Han, UN-SPIDER/UNOOSA, Beijing
- John Efstathiou Marinos, UN OCHA, Bangkok
- Christopher Clyde Chiesa, Pacific Disaster Center
- Milind Pimprikar, CANEUS (Canada-Europe-Americas-Africa-Asia-Oceania) International, and Centre for Large Space Structures & Systems, Canada
- Thuy Le Toan, CNES-CNRS-Université Paul Sabatier, France
- DanLing Tang, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
- Juan Barba Polo, GEREDIS, Spain
- Gliceto Olarte Dagondon, GREEN Mindanao, south of Philippines
- Norman Kerle, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Netherlands. Department of Earth Systems Analysis (ESA)
- Talbot John Brooks, Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies, Delta State University
- LI Jing, Beijing Normal University & National Committee for Disaster Reduction of China
The expert team visited key stakeholders organizations involved in providing space-based and geospatial information for disaster management. A one-day workshop was conducted as a part of this mission, which was attended by about 60 officials from government departments, UN agencies and NGOs supporting disaster management in Vietnam. The team also met with the UN Resident Coordinator to brief him about the mission objectives. A final debriefing was provided to the Vice Minister of Agriculture. The debriefing focused on observations and recommendations related to the capacity building, data availability, data/information sharing, policy and coordination with respect to disaster risk management and emergency response.
- Several agencies using geospatial technologies understand the inter-disciplinary nature of crisis planning, mitigation, response, and recovery exist
- Tremendous technical capacity exists within Viet Nam to use spaced based technology (MONRE, MARD, VAST)
- The challenge is to leverage this capacity in support of disaster response and disaster risk reduction
- DMC/MARD needs ‘small’ core team of professionals trained in remote sensing and GIS, to be able to leverage on capacities of different institutions to effectively serve CCFSC and NCSR
- DMC mandate should be strengthened to be an effective focal agency for disaster risk management
Data availability and sharing
- Outstanding geospatial data sets, including a national topographic map accurate to a scale of 1:10,000.
- Remote Sensing data widely exist (SPOT, Sentinel Asia and soon from own satellite)
- Strong awareness about the diversity of data required to work in the crisis management arena.
- Little awareness between agencies on available data/information
- Very little sharing of data and information with high administrative hurdles, though willingness seems to be generally there
- Data policy, including Remote Sensing and Geospatial Data, is the most urgent need
- This is critical for CCFSC/MARD and VINASAROM to receive reliable and up-to-date information for decision making
Policy and coordination
- Mechanism should be revised or created to allow all data directly or potentially useful to disaster management to move freely through the Vietnamese Government as well as other local and international humanitarian actors.
- A Data and Information working group should be created which would allow technical focal points from key government agencies using data (i.e. DMC, DWR, Red Cross, CCFSC, etc.) to meet and discuss data-related issues (identifying user requirements, data standards, raising awareness of available data etc.) to facilitate data use in support of disaster management.
- A clearer and more pervasive role of geospatial data in the new Disaster Management law is recommended
Strengthening Disaster Risk Management
- DMC/MARD has critical role to play in establishing mechanism which allows for rapid data sharing with minimal administrative action, not only in times of crisis, but for planning, mitigation/risk reduction, and recovery activities.
- Leverage and expand capacities of MONRE, VAST and other organisations effectively to operationally derive products needed for Disaster Risk Management
- Specific programmes should be initiated through DMC to prepare nationwide hazard, vulnerability and risk mapping
- Projects should be coordinated by DMC with centres of excellence
- DMC to serve as Disaster Management Information System
- Strong awareness at DMC of technical capacities of EW agencies (Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting) and to embed those inputs in risk management
- Capacities to improve multi-hazard early warning
- Role of DMC in tailoring/downscaling early warning information to serve decision makers and population at stake (use CBDRM programme as a base)
- Integration of early warning information in Disaster Management Information System
- Sentinel Asia and International Charter are operational
- VNREDSat-1 data will feed into this network
- Data from above sources need to make a way in decision making during emergencies
- Information sharing channel should be clear and calls for “Standing Orders during emergencies”
- Disaster response capabilities would be significantly enhanced through a mechanism which allowed for the temporarily re-assignment of appropriate staff from agencies
- DMC should evolve mechanism to engage all stakeholders on regular basis to practice in drills and simulation exercises.
- Make use of international support (UN-SPIDER, OCHA, UNOSAT)
At the request of the Government of Cape Verde, the UN-SPIDER Programme carried out a Technical Advisory Mission to Cape Verde to evaluate the current and potential use of space-based information in all the aspects of disaster management and strengthen disaster risk management in the county by providing better access to space-based information for disaster risk reduction as well as response.
Sun, 29/07/2012 to Fri, 03/08/2012
National Civil Protection Service (SNPC)
The UN-SPIDER Mission was carried with 12 experts: Stefan Kienberger (University of Salzburg), Pedro Cabral (University of Lisbon), Artur Gil (University of the Azores), Jen Ziemke (Crisis Mappers Network), Oludoton Babeyemi (Crisis Mappers Network Nigeria), Ivan Barbosa (INPE), Isi Ikhuoria (RECTAS), Godstime James (RSO Nigeria / NASRDA), Agnieszka Lukaszczyk (Secure World Foundation), Frederic Bastide (Space Generation Advisory Council), David Stevens (UNOOSA), Markus Woltran (UNOOSA).
The mission started off with an institutional visit to the hosting National Civil Protection Service, including a lecture from the weather institute in Cape Verde. Further visits during the course of the mission were made to UNDP Cape Verde, the University of Cape Verde, the National Institute for Agricultural Development (INIDA) and other institutions involved in Cape Verde’s disaster and disaster risk management efforts. A national workshop was organized bringing together nearly 50 experts of the Cape Verdean disaster management community, communication institutes, cartography institution, and military. The mission was wrapped up with a debriefing with the UN Country Coordinator of Cape Verde and the director of SNPC representing the government of Cape Verde.
In general, the Mission team recommended that Cape Verde raise awareness of geospatial technologies and space-based information in the context of disaster and risk management and enhance capacity building efforts for the effective use of this information. Furthermore, data sharing among institutions should be enhanced. More specifically, the following recommendations were made:
- Strengthen the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, specifically with regard to the incorporation of space-based technologies
- Enhance information sharing in the context of SIT (territorial information system)
- Ensure the use of space-based information in the development of a vulnerability map in a joint effort with UNDP
- Strengthen the link to the International Charter and GMES for Africa
- Establish a list of the user groups of space-based information in Cape Verde
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.
Sun, 22/05/2011 to Thu, 26/05/2011
The Sudanese Remote Sensing Authority
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.
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.
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;
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;
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;
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;
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.
Sudan is implementing the Regional Centre for Preparedness and Early Warning with assistance from the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO);
Currently no Government institution is in the position to activate the International Charter Space and Major Disasters.
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:
- 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;
- 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.
- Government Ministries should design and implement clear mechanisms for information management and sharing, including the development of the country’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;
- 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’s impact to provide effective emergency response;
- The NCCD should strengthen institutional capacities at the federal and state levels to consolidate the application of space technologies and geo-information.
- 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;
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.
Sun, 14/03/2010 to Sat, 20/03/2010
Civil Protection Agency of Haiti (CPA)
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.
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.
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.
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mon, 30/11/2009 to Thu, 03/12/2009
National Disaster Management Office (NDMO)
Two experts from UN-SPIDER
The mission included visits to government, regional and international organizations and key stakeholders.
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.
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.
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.
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 "active" and "historical," 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Niño and La Niña. 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.
Sat, 03/10/2009 to Thu, 08/10/2009
National Secretariat for Risk Management (SNGR) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Integration of Ecuador (MRECI)
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).
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.
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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CLIRSEN and CEE could benefit from the design of an architecture for the catalogue of archived and recent space-based imagery and information. CONAGE could design strategies to facilitate the compatibility among databases generated by government agencies through a policy that targets the generation of metadata. 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.
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.
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.
Tue, 14/07/2009 to Fri, 17/07/2009
Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources
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.
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.
The expert team found that:
- 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.
- The government of Togo is in the process of updating disaster management plan with the support of UNDP consultants.
- 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.
- 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;
- In the context of remote sensing, both the DCC and the University of Lome have the capacities to process remote sensing data;
- 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;
- Currently no Government institution is in the position to activate the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters.
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;
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;
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;
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;
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;
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;
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 "Space and Major Disasters" as well as the access to data. Following this event, the Government of Namibia requested UN-SPIDER to conduct a Technical Advisory Mission and to propose recommendations how to improve Namibia’s access to and use of space-based technology and information.
Tue, 27/01/2009 to Mon, 02/02/2009
The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry under Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF)
The mission was carried out by a UN-SPIDER expert and two experts from the German Aerospace center (DLR).
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.
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;
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;
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;
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.
The flow of disaster-relevant information among different government institutions is weak due to the lack of a spatial database infrastructure;
The Government institutions are not in the position to activate the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters).
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;
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;
The Government should nominate a focal point to request the activation of the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” in the case of an emergency through the appropriate channels; and to request support to UN-SPIDER;
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);
The government to promote the establishment of the Namibian Geospatial Data Infrastructure with the support of UN-SPIDER and UNGIWG;
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.
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