VIENNA, 31 October (UN Information Service) - The newly established United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), which is implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), has opened its first office in Bonn, Germany, on Monday, 29 October 2007.
"UN-SPIDER will provide universal access to all countries and relevant international and regional organizations to space-based information and services relevant to disaster management to support the full disaster management cycle and will have a considerable impact on the way space-based information is used in dealing with disasters around the world," noted Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, Franz Baumann, in his inauguration speech. The programme, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006, will serve as a gateway to space information for disaster management support, a bridge to connect the disaster management and space communities. UN-Spider will also be a facilitator of capacity-building and institutional strengthening in particular for developing countries.
Besides Vienna, where UNOOSA is located, UN-SPIDER will have offices in Beijing, China and Bonn, Germany, as well as a liaison office in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Baumann expressed the hope that the UN-SPIDER Office in Bonn will contribute successfully to the mitigation and prevention of natural disasters, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami catastrophe, via satellite-based disaster information and management. He thanked the authorities of Austria, China and Germany for their contributions to making UN-SPIDER become reality.
Alongside the opening of the UN-SPIDER Bonn Office, a three-day workshop is bringing together experts from around the world to discuss and shape the future activities of UN-SPIDER. This workshop is the starting point for a series of regional workshops and expert meetings that will contribute to making space-based information an integral part of disaster management policies worldwide.
For information contact:
Associate Programme Officer, UNOOSA
Telephone: (+43-1) 260 60 4962
E-mail: romana.kofler [at] unvienna.org