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World Disasters Report 2018 launch at the United Nations Office in Vienna. Image: UNIS.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the Austrian Red Cross presented the 2018 World Disasters Report at the United Nations in Vienna on 12 November. The report addresses the need to fill the gaps in humanitarian assistance coverage to avoid the exclusion of the most vulnerable people. Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon participated in the launch.

The 2018 World Disasters Report "Leaving No One Behind: The international humanitarian sector must do more to respond to the needs of the world's most vulnerable people" identifies five flaws in the humanitarian sector. People who are out of sight, out of reach, out of the loop, out of money and/or out of scope are generally left behind by international... read more

Publishing Date: 23/11/2018

UNISPACE+50, the first global United Nations space summit in the twenty-first century, has opened today in Vienna, Austria. The event brings together government leaders, policy makers, space experts, and industry and civil society representatives to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

The event is a milestone opportunity to consider the broad societal benefits of space as an area of innovation, inspiration, interconnectedness, integration and investment. It brings together the international community to discuss how to enhance the use of space as a driver of socioeconomic development and consider the future course of global space cooperation for the benefit of humankind.

Organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, which implements the UN-SPIDER programme, UNISPACE+50 consists of a symposium (18-19 June) and high-level segment (20-21) of the 61st session of the Committee on the... read more

Publishing Date: 20/06/2018
Representatives of the autumn IWG-SEM meeting 2015 participated in-person as via web (Image:Fabio Giulio Tonolo/ITHACA).
On 9 and 10 November 2015, UN-SPIDER hosted the autumn meeting of the International Working Group on Satellite-based Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM). The meeting included representatives of the German Aerospace Center (DLR); the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC); the UN Cartographic Section; the Service Régional de Traitement d'Image et de Télédétection (SERTIT); the Information Technology for Humanitarian Assistance, Cooperation... read more
Publishing Date: 10/11/2015
The World Disasters Report 2015 will be a key publication for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit 2016 (Source: UNIS).

On October 5 2015 the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Austrian Red Cross, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Norwegian Embassy launched the 2015 World Disasters Report in Vienna. 

The annual World Disasters Report addresses current and future challenges, trends and innovations in disaster risk reduction and crisis management, by using... read more

Publishing Date: 23/10/2015
Mr Luc St-Pierre presented the UN-SPIDER programme's recent activities to COPUOS

UN-SPIDER’s Senior Programme Coordinator, Mr Luc St-Pierre, addressed the attending delegations of the 57th session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) on 12 June 2014 in a technical presentation.

Mr St-Pierre presented recent UN-SPIDER activities in the areas of technical advisory support, such as missions to Bhutan, El Salvador, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Vietnam and Zambia, as well as training programmes delivered in Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Mozambique and Sudan. He also highlighted to the delegates that UN-SPIDER had become active in emergencies such as typhoon Bopha in Palau and the Philippines, typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, or floods in Iraq.

Mr St-Pierre stressed the importance of UN-SPIDER as a knowledge hub: “Knowledge management and dissemination of knowledge are also central elements of UN-SPIDER and a constant focus... read more

Publishing Date: 13/06/2014
Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

"Challenges to our society, including that of global climate change, and to food security and global health, are all interlinked with disasters, and we need a holistic approach," said Mr. Azzedine Oussedik of Algeria, as he accepted election to the Chair of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and opened... read more

Publishing Date: 12/06/2014
UN-SPIDER Programme Coordinator Luc St-Pierre

On 13 and 14 May 2014, the International Peace Institute in Vienna organized the seminar "War and Peace in a Digital Age". UN-SPIDER's Programme Coordinator, Luc St-Pierre, was invited to speak about UN-SPIDER during the session "Technology for Peace".

In his presentation, Mr St-Pierre presented the scope of work and the strategic goals of UN-SPIDER and highlighted the relevance of... read more

Publishing Date: 15/05/2014
Presenting the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal to participants

On 18 February 2014, UN-SPIDER presented its Knowledge Portal (www.un-spider.org) to the delegates of the 51st session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS STSC). UN-SPIDER colleagues gave a short overview of the programme as well as a live presentation of the Knowledge Portal including its most important features and services.

After an evaluation in 2012, the team implemented numerous structural and content-related improvements to the website, which were showcased during the presentation. These include new databases on available satellite data sets and GIS/... read more

Publishing Date: 20/02/2014
Participants of the 5th UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices meeting, 13 February

UN-SPIDER successfully concluded the fifth annual meeting of its Regional Support Offices in the premises of the United Nations Office at Vienna. The meeting took place on 13 and 14 February 2014 and was conducted as a side-event to the 51st session of the Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee of the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Representatives from thirteen of the sixteen Regional Support Offices, staff from the UN-SPIDER programme and from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) discussed lessons learnt regarding the activities carried out by these offices, technical advisory support, knowledge management and outreach activities.

The agenda of the meeting included a revision of activities conducted by these offices in 2013, the UN-SPIDER plan activities for 2014, the current ... read more

Publishing Date: 14/02/2014

On 3 September 2013, UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER presented a new report which shows the economic, humanitarian and organizational benefits of applying geoinformation to disaster management. The report "The Value of Geo-Information for Disaster and Risk Management (VALID): Benefit Analysis and Stakeholder Assessment" was edited by Professor Orhan Altan of the Istanbul Technical University and Member of the Executive Board of the International Council for Science. The publication aims to raise awareness and to help set priorities in research and development.

The VALID report is a follow-up publication to the Joint Board of Geospatial Information Societies (JBGIS) and UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER published ‘Geoinformation for Disaster and Risk Management – Examples and Best Practices’, a compilation of... read more

Publishing Date: 03/09/2013
Coen was the focal point for illicit crop monitoring at UNODC

We warmly welcomes our new colleague in the UN-SPIDER Vienna Office, Mr. Coen Bussink. Coen joined UN-SPIDER in August and he will be providing technical and scientific support to the Programme. He is also responsible for organising and leading UN-SPIDER's activities in Africa.

For about two decades, Coen Bussink, a national from the Netherlands, has been using GIS and remote sensing in the area of land use planning, crop monitoring and geographic modelling for development purposes. He was based in several Latin American countries (Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala), where he worked on projects that used geospatial data from catchment to global levels. He was researcher with the CGIAR in Lima, a global agricultural research partnerhsip, and... read more

Publishing Date: 30/08/2013
UNOOSA celebrated 50 years of Women in Space

Valentina Tereshkova made her historic space flight as the first woman in outer space on 16 June 1963. The 2013 session of Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) - currently taking place in Vienna - marks the fiftieth anniversary of cosmonaut Tereshkova's historic space flight, using this unique opportunity to commemorate it from the perspective of women pioneers in advanced space and scientific endeavours.

At yesterday's opening session of the Committee the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, Yury Fedotov, recognized the value of women space explorers for future generations: “Space science and technology have made important contributions to areas as diverse as health and disaster management to... read more

Publishing Date: 13/06/2013
Soil moisture from SMOS

Massive floods have heavily affected regions in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and other European countries over the past days taking at least five human lives and causing damages of a yet undetermined extent. In order to better prepare for such floods in the future, satellites such as ESA's SMOS could help to improve the accuracy of flood prediction by measuring the soil moisture. Prior to the torrential rains, SMOS showed that soils in Germany were showing record levels of moisture – in fact, the highest ever observed. The picture shows the wet soils in blues and the dryer soils in yellows.

ESA's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission monitors the amount of water held in the surface layers of the soil and the concentration of salt in the top layer of seawater. This information is helping... read more

Publishing Date: 07/06/2013
Signing ceremony between UNOOSA and ICIMOD on 12 February 2013.

On the sidelines of the fiftieth session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee of the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which took place in Vienna, Austria from 11 - 22 February 2013, UN-SPIDER signed agreements with two new partners to establish Regional Support Offices (RSO).

On 12 February 2013, during the 4th annual UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices meeting, the official signing ceremony for the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) was held making ICIMOD the fourteenth RSO. ICIMOD is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – and based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The... read more

Publishing Date: 25/02/2013

From 11 to 22 February 2013 the Fiftieth annual session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) of the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was held in Vienna, Austria. Representatives of 57 Member States attended the session discussing a variety of issues regarding the peaceful use of outer space for the benefit of humankind under the chairmanship of Félix Clementino Menicocci (Argentina). In the 20 meetings held, topics such as space debris, space-based disaster management support or nearearth objects were discussed. During the 2013 STSC session, the continuous committments of the governments of Austria, China and Germany to support UNOOSA’s UN-SPIDER Programme in 2014-2015 was noted with satisfaction by the Subcommittee.

Publishing Date: 23/02/2013
Participants of the 2013 Regional Support Office Meeting

UN-SPIDER inaugurated on 11 February 2013 its 4th Annual meeting of Regional Support Offices (RSOs) on the premises of the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. The meeting is a side event of the annual session of the Scientific and Technical Sub Committee of the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) taking place from 11-22 February 2013. The meeting's participants included representatives from eleven of the thirteen RSOs and representatives of agencies from Russia, Indonesia and Nepal.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Takao Doi, Chief of Space Applications, highlighted the need for RSOs to define their role more clearly in the context of the UN-SPIDER programme, to sustain efforts to achieve the goals established in UN-SPIDER's plan of work and to discuss potential opportunities for cooperation when considering the Universal Access modality that the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters has recently established.

This annual meeting provided... read more

Publishing Date: 11/02/2013

This March marks an important milestone in the Earth observation calendar. Scientists from all over Europe will be gathering in Graz, Austria, to scrutinise three innovative satellite concepts. One will then be chosen as ESA’s seventh Earth Explorer.

Using breakthrough technology, the series of Earth Explorer satellites is designed to advance science by exploring different aspects of Earth. Together, these missions are improving our understanding of the complex interactions between Earth’s different components and how human activity is affecting natural processes.

The three candidates address gaps in our scientific... read more

Publishing Date: 22/01/2013

On 14 January 2013, around 20 participants from the Austrian Earth Observation Community followed an invitation by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft / FFG) and UN-SPIDER for a one day Matchmaking Workshop in Vienna, Austria.

The day was split into two different thematic blocks and after a short welcoming from Thomas Geist and the FFG the first part of the session was opened by UN-SPIDER and focused mainly on: “Knowledge management for disaster risk reduction and... read more

Publishing Date: 18/01/2013

The United Nations launched into World Space Week yesterday, with the presentation of a navigation satellite model, donated by Russia, for display at the world body’s offices in Vienna, while also highlighting the contribution space science and technology has made to human development. “Satellite navigation-related technology supports many civil, scientific and commercial functions,” the Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna (UNOV), Yury Fedotov, stated. “It is widely used in the areas of telecommunications, transportation, meteorology and disaster forecasting.”

The World... read more

Publishing Date: 05/10/2012

The United Nations is holding a Symposium on Data Analysis and Image Processing for Space Applications and Sustainable Development: Space Weather in Graz, Austria, from 18 to 21 September 2012. This is the first event in a new series of annual symposia that will address the use of space-derived data analysis and image processing tools in support of sustainable development. Organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), in cooperation with the Government of Austria and supported by the European Space Agency (ESA), the 2012 Symposium focuses on Space Weather data, a timely topic in light of the predicted maximum solar activity during the 2012-2013 period, and the impact that it could have globally.... read more

Publishing Date: 20/09/2012

UNOOSA has finalized a new funding agreement with the Government of Austria, totalling another EUR 150,000 to the UN-SPIDER Programme. This substantial voluntary contribution will support several major activities carried out by the UN-SPIDER Programme, focusing on Technical Advisory Support (including specific support to Pacific Island countries and Africa), Outreach Activities (including the upcoming “United Nations International Expert Meeting on Crowdsource Mapping for Disaster Risk Management and Emergency... read more

Publishing Date: 04/09/2012

The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is in session for the 55th time in Vienna, Austria. The session was opened on 6 June, electing Yasushi Horikawa from Japan as Chair, Filipe Duarte Santos from Portugal as Vice-Chair and Piotr Wolanski from Poland as Second Vice-Chair.The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 (resolution 1472 (XIV)) to review the scope of international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programmes in this field to be undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters, and to study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. UN-SPIDER was created on recommendation of COPUOS in 2006.

The 55th session will continue discussions on ways and means of maintaining... read more

Publishing Date: 12/06/2012

On the sidelines of the 55th session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), the Chinese BeiDou/COMPASS satellite model was inaugurated on 8 June 2012 in Vienna, Austria. The model is donated by the People's Republic of China. This Chinese navigation satellite model will be added to the Exhibit of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs headquarters in the Vienna International Centre. The Beidou/COMPASS satellites are part of a Chinese satellite navigation system. The first BeiDou system has been offering navigation services in China and the region since 2010. The second generation of the system, Compass/BeiDou-2, will eventually consist of 35 satellites and became operational in December 2011.

The 55th session of COPUOS started on 6 June and will continue... read more

Publishing Date: 12/06/2012

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... read more

Publishing Date: 10/02/2012

UN-SPIDER organized this Expert Meeting with the support and cooperation of the Government of Austria (through the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology of Austria) and the Secure World Foundation. It brought together 72 experts and practitioners from 21 countries and was organised back-to-back with the International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM 2011) (http://crisismappers.net/page/iccm-geneva-2011). This ensured the participation of the crisis mapping community which converged in Geneva to attend their annual meeting as well as the humanitarian community based in Geneva. The agenda of this second Expert Meeting built upon the recommendations and conclusions of the first Expert Meeting, which took place in Vienna earlier this year. It focused on exploring possible ways of contributing to improve coordination between the crowdsource communities and the space technology community and on overall... read more

Publishing Date: 21/12/2011

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