Guatemala - Expert Mission (2010)

Guatemala is exposed to various hazards. Floods, droughts and landslides occur on an annual basis in urban and rural communities. Taking into consideration the usefulness of earth observations in the case of drought and other hazards, an Expert Mission was organized to discuss and elaborate a proposal for a potential project in Guatemala targeting the use of space-based information to assess the impact of drought and climate variability on crops.


Juan Carlos Villagran de Leon, UN-SPIDER

The mission included a series of visits to government agencies and a one-day meeting with representatives of the Commission on Earth, Ocean and Space Sciences (COCITOE) of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONCYT) aimed at elaborating a project proposal to be submitted to CONCYT for funding. The proposal targets the establishment of an inter-institutional, inter-sectoral, technical committee of professionals that will focus its attention on the use of space-based information to track the impacts of the drought and climate variability events to crops, in particular subsistence crops. The project is based on the request made by the Director General Secretariat for Planning and Programming of the Presidency of the Republic (SEGEPLAN) to UN-SPIDER.

The mission allowed representatives of government institutions to become aware of UN-SPIDER, its activities and the type of Technical Advisory Support it can provide. During the mission, experts from Guatemala identified the need for training activities to enhance the skills of professionals working in government agencies regarding access and use of space-based information to generate information on which to make decisions. Critical issues that need to be resolved when using space-based information in Guatemala were also identified, including: extensive cloud cover, extremely variable topography, and a variety of microclimates. The main output of the mission was the project proposal that was submitted to CONCYT for subsequent evaluation and processing.