The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency... read more

Publishing Date: 12/11/2018
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
Copernicus is the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, looking at the Earth and its environment. It offers information services based on satellite Earth Observation and in situ (non-space) data. Image: Copernicus

The African Union (AU) Commission signed a Cooperation Arrangement with the European Commission (EC) in Brussels on 12 June 2018 to facilitate AU’s access to Earth observation data from the Sentinel satellites of the Copernicus Programme.

Under the agreement, the AU Commission, African public users and African disaster management agencies will be able to access the data gathered by the Copernicus programme using high bandwidth terrestrial network connections from data... read more

Publishing Date: 02/08/2018

For a long time, Zambia has been affected by extreme weather conditions that have adversely affected the livelihood of smallholder farmers, especially women, who constitute 78 % of the agricultural labor force. To strengthen the capacity of national and sub-national entities in monitoring the climate, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Zambian government through the Zambian Meteorological Department (ZMD), is implementing the project “Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems in Zambia to support climate resilient development”.

The project, which was launched in 2014, aims to improve climate monitoring capabilities, early warning systems and available information for responding to climate shocks and planning adaptation to... read more

Publishing Date: 30/10/2017

Through the use of satellite data, two projects in Malaysia, Ethiopia and Kenya aim to generate new information for key decision makers. The objective of the projects is to intervene as early as possible to protect people and the environment.

In Malaysia a project consortium together with the National Defence University of Malaysia (NDUM) and the University of Oxford will cooperate with local government agencies to combat flooding, oil pollution and illegal logging. The project wants to make it possible for... read more

Publishing Date: 30/10/2017
Training on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite imagery use in Gabon

The 3rd Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) workshop - coordinated by the CEOS Working Group on Capacity Development and Data Democracy (WGCapD), supported by UNOOSA through its UN-SPIDER Programme, the European Commission (Copernicus Programme) and ESA, and hosted by Gabonese Space Agency (AGEOS) - took place in Libreville, Gabon, between 20 and 24 February. The aim of this and two previous such workshops is to build specific capacity and a good understanding of how to process and analyze SAR imagery for participants in West Africa, East Africa and SADC countries.

Other organizations that also made a significant contribution to the success of the Gabon workshop by providing SAR experts to conduct specific... read more

Publishing Date: 05/04/2017
Image courtesy of RCMRD
From 13-15 March 2017, staff from the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) was trained on stream flow forecasting methodologies entitled “Hydrological modeling using a multi-model approach”. The aim was to transfer the required skills to RCMRD staff  involved with SERVIR activities as a way to implement the stream flow forecast project. The project is a collaborative effort led by the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona, NASA’s SERVIR program and the Intergrated Water Resources Management unit at UNESCO (ICIWaRM-UNESCO). The project is conducted in several African regions. The model uses the most recent satellite observations and near-term... read more
Publishing Date: 21/03/2017
Image courtesy of CABI

An armyworm pest has been afflicting southern and eastern Africa since the beginning of this year. It has been observed in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique with Zimbabwe being the worst affected country so far. The moths of the armyworm are born survivors and they are able to migrate over huge distances. Experts predict that next affected countries will be Tanzania and Kenya.

In January 2017 the UK Space Agency awarded £6,38 million in funding over 5 years to the Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) project in sub-Saharan Africa. The project is led by CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) and it aims to reduce crop losses caused by pests in 6 countries in the region. As a part of the project, a pest risk forecasting system based on Earth... read more

Publishing Date: 15/03/2017
Image courtesy of FEWS

Kenya’s president has declared the worsening drought in the country a national disaster.

According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) the drought has been worsening in most Kenyan counties, now affecting nearly half the country. Forage conditions are drier than usual because of lower than usual rainfall conditions and also the extended dry period between the short and long rains in 2016. The number of people in need of food has risen from 1.3 million to 2.7 million last year.

Low levels of rainfall affected the crop performance in certain parts of the country, especially around Lake Victoria and in parts of the western and central region. Maize, beans and sorghum yields have experienced a significant drop of nearly 50% and in some counties, maize is said to be near total failure. 

The drought has also left the livestock in... read more

Publishing Date: 11/02/2017

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) and the Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have signed a memorandum of understanding in Nairobi, Kenya on 18 January 2017. Speaking at the ceremony, the Director General of the RCMRD, Dr. Hussein Farah, emphasized the importance of both institutions in climate resilience and adaptation mechanism in Eastern and Southern Africa. RCMRD serves as a hub for the SERVIR-Eastern and Southern Africa project. Through their agreement, the SERVIR project will support ICPAC’s work on... read more

Publishing Date: 08/02/2017
Image courtesy of NASA.

NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite’s VIIRS instrument (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) collected natural-color images from Central Africa and Indochina, where farmers prepare their land for seasonal planting by deliberately setting fire. Fire is used to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground in these parts of the world. Although it helps enhance the crops, it produces smoke that plays a significant role in the seasonal air pollution, as it degrades the air quality.

The hotspots which appear as red marks are the areas where the... read more

Publishing Date: 02/02/2017
Agricultural fires near the Niger River delta. Courtesy of NASA.

Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, United States, have been investigating the connection between wild fires and droughts in sub-Saharan Africa using satellite data from NASA’s NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission. A comparative analysis of soil moisture, precipitation, evapotranspiration and vegetation greenness; and the examination of the interaction of... read more

Publishing Date: 10/01/2017
UN-SPIDER Expert's presentation

The partners of the EvIDENz project conducted the stakeholder workshop entitled “Earth observation-based information products for drought risk on a national basis”.  The workshop was conducted in East London, South Africa, from 2 to 3 November 2016.    Partners involved in the organization of the workshop included DiMTEC of the University of the Free State (UFS), the Remote Sensing Center (ZFL) of the University of Bonn, UNU-EHS, and UN-... read more

Publishing Date: 05/11/2016
First African Drought Conference in Namibia
The First African Drought Conference conducted in Windhoek, Namibia, from 14 to 18 August 2016 shed the spotlight on the necessity for Africa to incorporate high on its development agenda a “Strategic Framework for Drought Risk Management and Enhancing Resilience in Africa”. Such a framework would allow this continent to enhance its drought resilience and to be better prepared to confront such droughts. For more information on this framework, please click here.
... read more
Publishing Date: 25/08/2016

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Namibia, in collaboration with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) are conducting in Windhoek, Namibia, the conference entitled “Enhancing... read more

Publishing Date: 16/08/2016
Aerosol Index, Sahara dust. Image courtesy of Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory, using Suomi NPP OMPS data provided courtesy of Colin Seftor (SSAI)

In mid-June, plumes of dust, coming for northern Africa’s desert, reached the north of Europe.

This phenomenon of dusty-wind has different impacts on other continents, helping fertilizing soils in Latin America, adding sand to the Caribbean beaches or affecting the air quality in Europe,

The Suomi NPP satellite from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) caught a series of space-based pictures showing the evolution of the plumes of dust with the... read more

Publishing Date: 29/06/2016
Mapping floods in Nigeria using Sentinel-1 satellite images (Image: International Water Institute).

Due to heavy seasonal rain falls within the last months, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone have been affected by floods. Overall more than 300,000 people have been impacted and 39 casualties reported. 

Since August 30, approximately 206,000 people in Nigeria have been affected by floods in Adamawa State. The floods were triggered by spillage due to damage at the Dadin Kowa dam in Gombe State, which in turn caused an overflow at Kiri Dam located downstream in Adamawa State. Further heavy rainfall worsened the flooding. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been responsible for the... read more

Publishing Date: 26/10/2015
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Prof. Judi Wakhungu shared her experience with the project at this year's MESA Forum in Nairobi (Image: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung).

In this year’s Forum of the Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) from 31st August – 4th September 2015 in Kenya, participants discussed the use of Earth Observation data for policy, planning and decision making processes in Africa, provided by the MESA project. 

The Commissioner for Rural Economy and... read more

Publishing Date: 15/10/2015
Group photo of the workshop's participants (Image: RCMRD)

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), UN-SPIDER’s Regional Support Office, held a workshop on Mapping in conjunction with USAID/East Africa’s Planning for Resilience in East Africa through Policy, Adaptation, Research and Economic Development (PREPARED) Project between August 10 and 14 in Entebbe, Uganda. The participants came from the East African Community (EAC) member states: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

During the training, participants were able to learn how to create regional risk maps, identify each country’s least and most vulnerable zones and infer the... read more

Publishing Date: 18/08/2015
Satellite image of an isolated settlement in Kano, Nigeria (Image: DigitalGlobe)

A joint project between DigitalGlobe and many volunteers has helped in the eradication of polio through mapping of villages in developing countries during vaccination campaigns. The mapping of the often isolated settlements was complicated and apart from analysing big data captured by satellites, DigitalGlobe had to rely on volunteers and crowdsourcing based on the Tomnod programme. The final result is a map covering 285,103 villages in Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

These maps are used to ensure that vaccination campaigns have the required data to search for everyone who needs to be immunized against the illness and know the amount of medical doses and human staff that ought to be sent. In the past two months polio was finally eliminated from the whole African continent after it disappeared... read more

Publishing Date: 17/08/2015
Participants in the 7th Africa Working Group Meeting (Image: UNISDR)

The 7th Africa Working Group Meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction that was celebrated from 21 to 22 July, followed by the 4th High Level Meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction on 23 July, has been the starting point for the implementation the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa.

Representatives from the majority of African countries, the African Union, Africa’s Regional Economic Communities and a host of other international organizations have sat together for three days of talks in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The aim of this meeting was to compare the existing disaster risk reduction programmes in Africa with the Sendai Framework and try to narrow the gap between them.

“We are now at a stage where our efforts are concentrating on paving the road for effective implementation of the Sendai Framework on the continent in the next 15 years. This is... read more

Publishing Date: 23/07/2015
Extract from ALSAT-2A image of Benabdelmalek Ramdane in Mostaganem Province, Algeria (Image: ASAL)

ALSAT-2A, the optical Earth observation satellite of the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL), Regional Support Office of UN-SPIDER, reached five years in orbit on July 12.

After these successful five years, it will continue developing observation activities, providing panchromatic images with 2,5m resolution and multispectral images with 10m resolution.

Since the launch of ALSAT-2A in 2010 on a PSLV launcher (PSLV-C15... read more

Publishing Date: 22/07/2015
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
Representatives of 12 institutions together to support NSDI (Image: RCMRD)

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), UN-SPIDER’s Regional Support Office, conducted a flood forecasting training in Uganda from 7 to 10 July and a technical training to support the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) in Zambia from 8 to 11 July.

During the flood forecasting training in Uganda, RCMRD collaborated with the Directorate of Water Resource Management from the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda and other stakeholders to develop and implement CREST (Coupled Routing and Excess Storage) in different areas in Uganda with the support of the SERVIR program.

The workshop addressed issues concerning requirements and implementation of the... read more

Publishing Date: 22/07/2015
Artistic representation of the Meteosat Third Generation (Image: ESA)

Arianespace will be in charge of the first launch services for the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) series of geostationary satellites after the signature of a contract with EUMETSAT.

The agreement has been signed few days following the successful launch of MSG-4. It has fixed the launches of MTG-I1 and MTG-S1 and proposed the option of MTG-I2 for the time period 2019-2023.

Arianespace will use the Ariane 5 ECA launchers placed in the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, to set into space the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) program.  It will significantly improve the services of forecasting high impact weather over Europe and Africa, currently delivered by the Meteosat Second... read more

Publishing Date: 21/07/2015
The Niger delta (Image:ESA)

Nigeria plans to develop, manufacture and launch its own satellite by 2030, according to Dr. Spencer Onu, the Center for Satellite Technology Development’s (CSTD) Director. He also added that the components needed for building the space artifact are presently being developed.

However, he also admitted that Nigeria still suffers from shortages in the application of space technology, specifically from the lack of space education in the country’s academic curricula: “Only Nigerian university has aerospace engineering—their program has been approved by the Council but has not yet started. Kogi State Polytechnic also had its own approved curriculum, but that department is yet to be initiated.”

Professor Mohammed Sheidu, the Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), is confident in Nigeria’s capacity to build the satellite: “The Center's engineers... read more

Publishing Date: 29/06/2015
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
Group photo of the workshop's participants (Image: RCMRD)

On Thursday June 4th a one-day workshop on the “Use of Modis Data for Early Warning, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Environmental Monitoring” was held in Kasarani (Nairobi) by the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Kenya.

The... read more

Publishing Date: 10/06/2015


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