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  • United Nations international conference on space-based technologies for disaster risk identification, assessment and monitoring Ministry of Civil Affairs
    United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

    Date: 23 - 25 Oct 2013
    Country: China
    City/State: Beijing

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United Nations international conference on space-based technologies for disaster risk identification, assessment and monitoring

MAIN ORGANIZER(S): Ministry of Civil Affairs
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

Type: Meeting or Conference Date: 23 - 25 Oct 2013 Location: China (Beijing) Venue: Zhongmin Plaza, 7, Baiguang Road, Xicheng District, China


Despite technological advances in the earth observation and the existance of ground-based systems for disaster prediction and monitoring, several countries face challenges to assess and reduce disaster risks. These challenges can be addressed by setting up a mechanism for identifying, assessing, monitoring and responding to disaster risks. With advances in the earth observation technology and increasing access to the space based information, several opportunities are available for disaster managers to use space technology effectively for disaster management. The conference is an opportunity to share information on latest methods, approaches and models used for identifying, assessing and reducing disaster risks. The conference will also focus on how to operationalize technological developments to address challenges at the national level by the national disaster management authorities. The sole purpose of this conference is to bring together the technologists and end users on a single platform to ensure that space-based information is effectively employed in decision making that saves life and prevents economic losses.

Conference topics

The United Nations Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2011 (GAR 2011) confirms the countries with weak governance are likely to find it difficult to address the underlying risk drivers. The effects of climate extremes and variations pose additional challenge making these countries more susceptible to greater potential losses. Although several countries are able to use space technology to monitor and respond to floods and droughts, recent examples of floods in Pakistan (2010 and 2011), floods in Thailand (2011) and drought in Horn of Africa (2011) have proven the need of thinking beyond response efforts. The victims and economic losses from these disasters are enormous. The main opportunity for governments to control these potential losses lies in reducing vulnerability. Precise mapping of hazards combined with vulnerability provides correct understanding of disaster risk.

The earth observation technology is advancing in terms of offering satellite images of varying resolution that provides local to global coverage. As scientific organisations are making these products available on web portals, access to these value added products is improving constantly. These changing dynamics offer opportunities to strengthen disaster risk management (DRM) by making effective use of space based information, especially to understand underlying risks. The challenge is to transfer approaches, models and methodologies used in developing these products to the end users and operationalize the research outcomes to contribute in decision making.

In this context, the conference will cover the following topics:

Operational initiatives/programmes/projects on disaster risk identification, assessment and monitoring

This session will discuss proven and operational work from various countries in disaster risk identification and prevention using space-based information. The disaster managers and experts from member countries will be invited to share practical work carried out at the national and regional level focusing on the mechanisms, methods and national programmes of disaster identification and prevention with focus on space-based information.

Advanced research and development in use of space based information in Disaster risk assessment

This session will focus on latest research and development to improve on-going disaster risk identification and assessment practices. The experts from centres of excellence will be invited to share research outcomes and advanced knowledge to benefit the national disaster management programmes. The focus will be on new models, methods, approaches and data integration from multiple sources (including space based information) for disaster risk identification and assessment.

Preparing for effective disaster response and rapid mapping by knowing risks

This session will provide insight into latest practices and opportunities to monitor risks and prepare for effective disaster response. Several new tools and technologies related to gathering disaster risk and response related information will be discussed, such as crowd sourcing, space information based products with open access and integration of such information ensure public safety from potential risks.

Cooperation mechanism for improving disaster risk management

This session will discuss existing opportunities, mechanisms and provide elements to plan cooperation programmes to improve disaster risk management at national and regional level. The session will also offer opportunities to discuss programmes to be planned jointly with the UN-SPIDER and partner organisations in 2014, such as technical advisory missions, capacity building programmes and outreach events.

Special session on Drought Risk Assessment

In collaboration with the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation (APSCO), a special session “Drought Risk Assessment using Space Technology” will be organised for the benefit of APSCO member countries.

Side meetings

The conference will organise side meetings to discuss the cooperation related to rapid response mapping, information sharing and cooperation project on drought assessment for Africa.

Event website:

Target Audience

Disaster managers, policy makers, providers of space technology solutions/tools/applications from Government, academia, researchers, NGO and corporate sector.

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