The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Bonn, Germany, that paves the way for joint activities to support Member States in using space-based information in all phases of disaster management over the next five years.
Natural and man-made disasters lead to loss of lives and property, displace people from their homes and destroy livelihoods, and threaten to jeopardize sustainable development efforts worldwide. Through its spatial and temporal coverage, satellite-based information provides crucial insights about disaster risks and emergency situations.
Under the title "Spaceborne Earth Observation Applications for Emergency Response and Disaster Risk Reduction (SPEAR)", the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), a programme implemented by UNOOSA, and the Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL) at the University of Bonn will work together to understand user needs, develop solutions and strengthen institutional capacities in using space-based information for disaster monitoring and prevention.
The undertaking will focus on Member States in Africa in line with international and regional frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union. SPEAR is supported by the Government of Germany and by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR).
As part of SPEAR, the two partner organizations will conduct research and develop procedures on the use of satellite data for addressing natural hazards; undertake technical advisory support activities; run capacity-building activities; and organize conferences and expert meetings in Bonn, as well as in African countries.
UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said: "Through its UN-SPIDER programme, UNOOSA acts as a gateway to all types of space-based information relevant to disaster management. For over ten years, it has successfully supported developing countries around the world in making use of the benefits of space technologies for meeting complex environmental challenges such as droughts and floods. SPEAR brings together the research excellence of the Centre for Remote Sensing of the University of Bonn and the capacity-building experience and networks of the UN-SPIDER programme to develop tailored solutions that help reduce disaster risk, respond to emergency situations and achieve sustainable development. We're looking forward to a fruitful collaboration over the next years and would like to thank the German Aerospace Centre for the strong support it brings to SPEAR."
"For the University of Bonn this is a big step forward," said Prof. Dr. Klaus Greve from the Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL) at the University of Bonn. "We are sure the cooperation will lead us to new findings and insights. We can build new and better research, and better educate the next generation of experts."