VIENNA, 11 September (UN Information Service) - From 16 to 19 September 2008, decision makers and senior experts from disaster management and space technology communities from the Pacific region will meet in Suva, Fiji, to discuss how to access and use space technology for disaster management and emergency response.
The Pacific Islands are one of the regions hardest hit by natural disasters such as tropical storms, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods. Due to the vastness of the area, national resources to cope with such disasters are spread-out thinly. Regional cooperation and international support are vital in meeting the challenge of reducing disaster risks in this region.
This workshop, organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) with the support of the Government of Austria, forms part of the outreach activities planned by UNOOSA in 2008 under its United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), established by the General Assembly in 2006 (resolution 61/110).
The workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to exchange information on existing regional space-based initiatives relevant to disaster management support including risk reduction and emergency response. Participants will review the current status of space technology for disaster management and emergency response within the Pacific region and will discuss approaches for harmonising the various existing initiatives to access and use space-based technologies for those purposes. The experts will explore how best deliver support to both national activities and to national planning and policies that consider the use of space-based technologies, such as satellite imagery, satellite-based early warning systems and satellite-based communication systems.
Approximately 50 participants from Australia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Micronesia, New Zealand, Niue, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are expected to attend the workshop, including the following national, regional and international organizations: Fiji Red Cross Society, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Pacific Disaster Centre (PDC), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNESCAP, University of South Pacific, World Health Organization (WHO) and UNOOSA.