The Fourth session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction will be concluded today in Geneva after having been in session for a week. Yesterday, UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER had the opportunity to present a statement. Juan Carlos Villagrán de Léon, Head of the Bonn Office of UN-SPIDER, delivered the statement on behalf of OOSA.
He presented OOSA and UN-SPIDER and reported on the March 2013 meeting of the United Nations Interagency Meeting on Outer Space Affairs during which an open informal session had taken place focusing on space and disaster risk reduction and resilient human settlement planning. The two panels of the informal meeting had addressed resilient cities and the use of geospatial data in urban planning and the mainstreaming of space technology in land use planning and rural development for disaster management. The panels underlined the ever-pressing need for capacity building and institutional strengthening in the use of geospatial data. The discussions during the informal sessions reconfirmed the importance of space-based tools and geospatial data infrastructure for policy planners and decision makers in increasing the resilience of human settlements. This thematic focus "reflected a mounting recognition of the important role of space-derived data and information in making informed decisions on disaster risk reduction and sustainable development", as Villagran pointed out.
Villagran elaborated on the results of the sessions: "Space derived and in-situ geographic information and geospatial data was shown to the benefit during times of emergency response and reconstruction, particularly in large urban areas with a high population density and especially after the occurrence of major events such as earthquakes and floods. The availability of structured and easily accessible shared geographic information is also indispensable for disaster management activities, such as identifying access corridors or establishing the optimal location for central public infrastructure such as hospitals or emergency shelters. Such geographic data are related resources and capacities are part of spatial data infrastructures (SDI)."
He also called on an increase of financial support in the development of SDIs: "Although SDIs are being developed at the local, city, national, regional or global scale much more investment is needed on efforts to optimize their use for future disaster risk reduction and disaster management. Furthermore, multi-stakeholder coordination is essential to ensure a systematic, timely and adapted integration of space-based technology applications, remote sensing, meteorological satellites, telecommunications and global navigation satellite systems to multi-source geospatial data sets."
The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is a biennial forum for information exchange, discussion of latest development and knowledge and partnership building across sectors, with the goal to improve implementation of disaster risk reduction through better communication and coordination amongst stakeholders. Hosted by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), it is for government representatives, NGOs, scientists, practitioners, and UN organizations to share experiences and formulate strategic guidance and advice for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action.
For the full statement, watch the video below: