Regional Training Course on the International Charter Space and Major Disasters

To facilitate the activation of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters in Central America, Mexico and Dominican Republic, UN-SPIDER, the Central American Coordination Centre for Natural Disaster Prevention (CEPREDENAC) and the International Charter Space and Major Disasters organized a regional training course in Guatemala City, Guatemala, from 30 November to 02 December 2021.   Experts from the National Commission on Space Activities of Argentina (CONAE), National Space Research Institute of Brazil (INPE), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) made participants aware of the procedures used by the International Charter in case of activations, and on the procedures and guidelines that project managers designated by the International Charter must follow when designated as project managers in case of activations. In addition, an expert from the Federal University of Santa Maria of Brazil (UFSM), in its role as a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office, trained participants on the use of the UN-SPIDER Recommended Practice for flood mapping using Sentinel 1 radar imagery and the SNAP software.

Nearly 20 participants from Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama; and from regional organizations including CEPREDENAC and the Central American Corporation of Aerial Navigation Services (COSESNA) took part in the training course that benefitted from the support of Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC). The training course included a simulation of an activation of the International Charter that included the use of the COS-2 platform to elevate the request for activation, the designation of project managers, the processing of radar imagery to generate maps of floods, and communications with End Users.

The regional training course was used by UN-SPIDER and CEPREDENAC to establish a regional remote sensing group to support national disaster management agencies in case of disasters. This group will enhance the use of mechanisms established by the Space community such as the International Charter Space and the Major Disasters and Copernicus Emergency Management Service.