On March 5, 2010 the UN-SPIDER attended a meeting with the Lady Executive Director of SEGEPLAN (Secretaría de Planificación y Programación de la Presidencia), Dr. Karin Slowing Umaña to discuss a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to be conducted by UN-SPIDER to Guatemala later this year.
The mission, to be conducted at the request of SEGEPLAN, builds up on previous interactions between SEGEPLAN and UN-SPIDER. The mission will be conducted to assess current institutional capacities regarding access to and use of space-based information for disaster-risk reduction and emergency response, as a means to provide to SEGEPLAN and other government agencies advice on how to improve institutional capacities in this respect. As in previous cases, the mission will target four key issues: policies regarding the use of space-based information for disaster-risk reduction and emergency response, access to space-based information, use of such information including spatial data infrastructures, and capacity-building
The meeting allowed the staff of SEGEPLAN and UN-SPIDER to discuss issues related to the proposed mission, advances regarding Guatemala’s National Information System of Territorial Information (SINIT) which is being set up by SEGEPLAN, as well as needs identified and the potential participation of SEGEPLAN in the VI Space Conference of the Americas to take place in Mexico in November of this year.
Other avenues of cooperation previously identified by SEGEPLAN and UN-SPIDER include the use of space-based information to track the meandering process of the Achiguate and Samala rivers. These two rivers carry massive amounts of sediments from the cones of active volcanoes during the rainy season, which find their ways into the flood plains where they are deposited, enhancing the natural meandering process. The use of space-based information will allow SEGEPLAN to assist local authorities in delimiting areas within the shores of these rivers that need to be declared as buffer areas, to avoid damages or destruction of potential settlements, agricultural crops and levees which may be built in such areas.