UN-SPIDER conducted its 3rd Annual Meeting of Regional Support Offices (RSOs) on 6 and 7 February 2012 in Vienna. The meeting brought together representatives of the RSOs from Colombia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Romania, Ukraine and Hungary (as the newest RSO) and also from the Regional organisations ADRC and RCMRD. In addition the meeting was attended by representatives from Argentina, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Turkey, which are completing the arrangements to become RSOs. In their opening remarks, Ms. Mazlan Othman, Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs, Mr. Takao Doi, Chief of Space Applications and Mr. David Stevens, UN-SPIDER Programme Coordinator, reiterated the fact that it is through the active participation of the RSOs that UN-SPIDER will enhance the use of space-based information in all phases of the disaster management cycle worldwide.
The meeting provided an opportunity for RSOs to exchange information on activities conducted in 2011, and to discuss and define activities to be conducted in 2012 and 2013 by the RSO network. In addition to continuing to take an active role in the provision of technical advisory support, RSOs will contribute to Knowledge Management and Capacity Building activities, and will conduct efforts to systematize methodologies employed to generate space-based information that is useful in case of floods, droughts and forest fires. This systematization effort will lead to the development of recommended practices to be promoted by UN-SPIDER which will be incorporated in the Space Application Matrix already developed and implemented in the Knowledge Portal. Furthermore, RSOs will be conducting applied research to generate methods to make use of archived imagery to track changes in the geo-spatial extent of these three hazards. These activities will be incorporated into the revised work-plan for the 2012-2013 biennium that will be presented to the Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee in its annual session.