Follow-up activity in Namibia to further develop the Namibian SensorWeb Pilot Project on flood management and vector- and water-borne disease modeling

Following a range of activities - such as activations of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters in 2008 and 2009, a Technical Advisory Mission in February 2009, a technical expert meeting in Bonn in August 2009, and the 3rd International UN-SPIDER workshop in Bonn in October 2009 – UN-SPIDER together with the Department of Water Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry organized a follow-up activity for a Flood Management Pilot Project in Namibia in order to promote the access and use of space-based technologies and solutions for disaster management and emergency response within relevant communities. The activities in Windhoek were preceded by a visit to the Northern regions Caprivi and Oshana that were affected by the flood in 2009. Additionally, meetings with representatives of the Northern Regional Councils were arranged. Subsequently, after a technical meeting with stakeholders in Windhoek the mission team finally reported to a high-level debriefing committee.

The following agencies contributed to establish an international expert team and sent representatives to the field mission: European Commission, Joint Research Center (JRC), Italy; German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany; German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Windhoek, Namibia; International Institut for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Tuente, The Netherlands; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA; NOAA / National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS), USA; Ukraine Space Research Institute (USRI), Ukraine; UNESCO; United Nations Resident Coordinator, Namibia; United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Austria/Germany; and World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

During the field trip, the close collaboration with local authorities and operational forces from the Regional Council in the Caprivi Region (Katima Mulilo) and Oshakati has to be highlighted, as well as the engaged participation of delegations from different ministries of Namibia such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Ministry of Gender Equality, Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Wildlife Conservation, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Namibian Red Cross – Caprivi, a representative of SADC – HYCOS, and several ministerial delegates from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique who joined the international mission team.

The mission team finally reported to a high-level debriefing committee consisting of the Minister for Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the Under Secretary of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, the UN Resident Coordinator in Namibia, and the Ambassador of the United States of America to Namibia. The minister highly appreciated the international support to Namibia provided by the expert team and the set of technical solutions presented and he underlined the political commitment of the government of Namibia to support further activities of the pilot project.

Introductory lecture at the Disaster Risk Management Training and Education Center for Africa (DiMTEC), University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

About 30 students from 5 countries in Southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and Nigeria) and 6 professors and lecturers from the faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences attended the Introductory lecture at the Disaster Risk Management Training and Education Center for Africa (DiMTEC), University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, held by UN-SPIDER Senior Expert Dr. Joerg Szarzynski on 1st February 2010.

The idea behind this lecture and further cooperation with DiMTEC are to contribute to the development of a newly designed long-term capacity-building programme for master students in order to provide a comprehensive introduction on environmental risk and disaster management using up-to-date geo-spatial data interpretation techniques in combination with computerized information and decision support systems.

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