"Risk Assessment in the Context of Global Climate Change" - United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Management

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People's Republic of China
Wed, 7 Nov - Fri, 9 Nov 2012



From 22 to 25 November 2011, UN-SPIDER successfully organised the conference “United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Management - Best Practices for Risk Reduction and Rapid Response mapping” in Beijing, China. The office organised a subsequent conference from 7 to 9 November 2012 entitled: United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Management - "Risk Assessment in the Context of Global Climate Change"

The aim of the conference was to offer a forum for disaster management communities and experts to strengthen their capabilities in using space based information to assess, monitor and respond to climate change related disaster risks and integrate space technology into long-term disaster risk reduction efforts. Increased storms and floods in the coasts of Asia and the Pacific, receding glaciers in the Himalayas, the Alps and the Andes, frequent and longer droughts in Africa, the European heat wave of 2003, frequent inland flooding in Central Europe and other regions of the world, and the harsh Atlantic hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005 are few examples of weather extremes that enhance disaster risks. Several trends in weather extremes are sufficiently clear to highlight additional risks due to climate change and reiterate the need to deal with these risks not in isolation, but instead integrated into broader efforts to reduce the risk of natural disasters. The report “IPCC, 2012: Summary for Policymakers” assesses how exposure and vulnerability to weather and climate events determine impacts and the likelihood of disasters.

Although a relevant segment of the information required to observe long-term evidences of climate change is obtained from space based platforms, Member States are not yet fully utilizing the potential of such technologies. Most of the observations and forecasts are done by the international or regional organisations. The countries need to downscale this information at national level by reinforcing this information with national level data so that their decisions are based on appropriate information.



Major Topics

  • Space technology role and challenges in the spirit of Rio+20 ‘The Future We Want’: The Rio+20 outcome document recognized the importance of early warning systems as part of effective disaster risk reduction at all levels in order to reduce economic and social damages, including the loss of human life, and in this regard encourage States to integrate such systems into their national disaster risk reduction strategies and plans. In this context, the conference promotes international cooperation in support of disaster risk reduction in developing countries by offering opportunities to plan technical assistance, technology transfer, capacity-building and training programmes.
  • Space technology for risk Assessment in the context of global climate change: The hydro-meteorological hazards induced by climate change include floods and droughts. Receding glaciers, that are essential for the sustainability of life, lead to a reduction of water resources and pose threats of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs). Sea-level rise poses threats of coastal hazards and submergence to Small Development Islands (SIDS). The conference will focus on space technology applications in early warning, monitoring and assessing vulnerabilities of these hazards.
  • Information sharing and networking: Lastly, the conference will offer a wealth of information on data, data discovery and access, tools, best practices and opportunities for bilateral and multilateral cooperation through specific side meetings and breakout sessions.


1. Climate change and disaster risk

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that global temperatures will rise between 1.8 C and 4.0 C by the last decade of the 21st century. The impacts of global warming on the climate, however, will vary in different regions of the world. The character and severity of impacts from climate extremes depend not only on the extremes themselves but also on exposure and vulnerability. Several countries are already experiencing extreme weather events and major disasters in recent years. This session welcomed presentations on research outcomes, new findings and national efforts to deal with the disaster risks in the context of changing climate conditions. The session also discussed current advances in use of space based information to study climate change and disaster risks.

2. Open source data and space based resources to support disaster management 

A range of open source data and space-based information is becoming increasingly available which can be used to support all stages of disaster management. There are number of existing platform/projects/initiatives that provide open source data (mainly geo-data). Some of these initiatives take advantage of open source data. The initiatives such as International Charter Space and Major Disasters , Sentinel Asia and GMES Emergency Response Service are also advancing into new stage where access to the data by end user is given due consideration. This session discussed the platform/projects/initiatives that have been taking advantage of open source data and space based resources and will highlight wide range of opportunities for accessing the geospatial data.

3. Risk assessment and mapping 

With the climate change related risks, every country is becoming more prone to the disaster risk. Based on disaster risk assessment, national disaster managers could develop more reasonable disaster risk reduction plan and implement action. Risk mapping is the output of risk assessment which provides visualized information for both disaster managers and the community. This session offered discussions and information exchange on the models, methods, systems, standards, good practices and lessons learned on space technology applications for disaster risk assessment and mapping. The issues related to the risk assessment and mapping, especially the experiences on how to improve the efficiency of the mapping service, will also be discussed during this session.

4. Networking building 

With the support of member countries and other partners, UN-SPDIER has build a wide network of governmental agencies, international/regional agencies, NGOs, scientific societies, private companies etc. As a part of technical advisory support service of the UN-SPIDER, several technical advisory missions, capacity building programmes and outreach activities have been carried out in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Latin America. This session provided an insight into the activities supported by the UN-SPIDER in partnership with national disaster management agencies and discuss the ways and means of making these activities more effective and relevant to the needs of the member states. This session also encouraged member states to plan more activities under the framework of UN-SPDIER.

Side meetings

Besides above sessions, specific side meetings were organized to discuss

  • Drought monitoring projects in Africa in partnership with National Disaster Reduction Centre of China
  • Rapid mapping services during emergencies


120 disaster managers, policy makers, providers of space technology solutions/tools/applications from Government, academia, researchers, NGO and corporate sector participated in the Conference.

Dr. Shirish Ravan - Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction: Space Technology Initiatives, Challenges and Opportunities Download
Dr. Deren Li - research on Chinese Natural Disaster Reduction System of Systems (CNDRSS) Download
Plenary Session 1
Casimiro Abreu - Climate Change and its challenges. The case of Mozambique Download
Disaster and Disaster Management in China Download (Chinese)
George Shepherd Dregaso - Disaster and Risk Management Fiji Experience Download
Natasha Mbengo - General Overview of Disasters in Malawi Download
Fahim Khokat et al - To study Atmospheric Composition and Climate Change Impacts over Pakistan Download
Plenary Session 2
Takayuki Odawara - DigitalGlobe Contributions to Risk Management in Global Climate Change Download
Fuzhou Duan - The Nature Disaster and UAV Remotly Sensing System Download
CNSA - Developing Conception of China National High Resolution Earth Observation Data Grid for Public Service Download
James Godstime - Space-based Resources for Disaster Management in Africa Download
Plenary Session 3
SUPARCO - Best Practices in Pakistan of Using Space-based information for Disaster Management Download
Shahidul Islam and Probir Kumar Des - Disaster Management Using Space Technology in Bangladesh Download
Rokhis Khomarudin - Remote Sensing Application for Disaster Management in Indonesia Download
Weihua Fang - Changes of Typhoon Hazards and Disaster Loss in China Download
Plenary Session 4
Muhammad Sani Sidi - The Impact of the 2012 Floods on Agriculture and Food Security in Nigeria using GIS Download
Weicheng Wu et al. - Climate Change, Land degradation and food security in Iraq Download
Sergii Skakun et al. - The use of satellite data for drought monitoring & food security in Ukraine in the context of climate change Download
Mary Mwale - Experiences and Challenges of Drought Risk Management in Kenya Download
Changzhi Li - Flood Risk Mapping in China Download
Plenary Session 5
Yansheng Dong and Hongpin Chen - Agro-disaster Assessment with Satellite Data for Crop Insurance Payments Download
State Forestry China - Forestry disaster monitoring and evaluation in support of space remote sensing technology Download
Akira Doi - Preparedness and Rapid Response based on Geospatial Information at Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 Download
Maximilien Tiogang Djomo - The role of remote sensing technologies and GIS for the disaster management and climate change adaptation related to forests resources in the Congo Basin countries Download
Bin Zou - Satellite Oil Spill Monitor in Act Download
Special Session 1
Jianjun Wu - Drought Monitoring and Impact Evaluation from Scientific Methods to Disaster Response Download
Dr. Amna Hamid and Dr. Yahya Eltayeb - Space borne Technology for Drought Monitoring in Sudan Download
Dr. Modibo Traoré - Drought Management in Niger Download
Special Session 2
Haixia He - Space-Based Rapid Mapping for Emergency Management Download
Day 3
Dr. Amna Ahmed Hamid - Activities Related to the UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission to Sudan Download
Dr. Muhammad Naseem Baig and Dr. Manzoor Hussain - An Overview of Disaster Management Training & Education in Pakistan Download
APSCO - Brief on APSCO Data Sharing Service Platform Project Download
James Godstime - Follow-up Activities from Technical Advisory Mission to Nigeria and to Cape Verde Download
Zhiyong Fang - Enhance Cooperation and Forward Progress: Work Review and Prospect for the Supporting to UN-SPIDER Beijing Office Download
Denis Macharia and John Kapoi - Disaster Early Warning and Response Activities at RCMRD Download
Dr. Li Suju - Bridging Disaster Management and Space Community: UN-SPIDER and its activities Download
UN-SPIDER - Technical Advisory Mission to Mozqmbique 8-12 October 2012 Download
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