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Les Cayes, southern Haiti, 5 October 2016 after Hurricane Matthew has struck the area. Image: Jethro J. Sérémé / American Red Cross / IFRC.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - the world's largest humanitarian organization - released a report estimating the growth of humanitarian need if current human activities continue. Published this month, "The Cost of Doing Nothing" paints a bleak picture of global need for humanitarian assistance doubling to 200 million. The price tag, the report projects, could come to $20 billion annually. 

The report is a collaboration between IFRC and leading environmental scientists and economists and takes into account global growth rates, inequality, demographics and climate. The IFRC cautions that inaction now will result in the need for a massive increase in humanitarian aid to combat climate-related disasters and their socioeconomic impact. Key findings of the report show that current human activities will lead to escalating suffering and ballooning costs. The report also warns that its dire findings are likely... read more

Publishing Date: 24/09/2019
FSSCat. Image: UPC.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced the launch of a new satellite that will use artificial intelligence to filter images unsuitable for future use. The Phi Satellite (ɸ-Sat-1), presented at the ESA Phi-week from 9 to 12 September, will make data delivery more efficient by not sending back to Earth acquisitions with high cloud cover. Currently, the process of filtering images for cloud cover is done after the images are received on the ground, meaning that a number of images sent to Earth are not useful.

In 2017, the federated satellite system 6U tandem mission for sea ice and soil moisture monitoring (FSSCat) idea, which... read more

Publishing Date: 23/09/2019
The above map shows the distribution of women of reproductive age (ages 18-49) spread across Tanzania, drawn from a combination of census data and satellite imagery. Image: Facebook.

Facebook has published new population density maps covering most of the African continent and countries of the Asia-Pacific region in June 2019. Using artificial intelligence (AI), these maps help organizations to respond to natural disasters, and scientists to assess the impact of climate change and urbanization on people’s lives. As soon as almost the entire world population is covered by the project, population distribution in remote areas will be better determinable by humanitarian agencies. In that way, health workers will be able to better reach households and relief workers to better distribute aid. 

For its population density maps, Facebook used a combination of machine learning techniques, high resolution... read more

Publishing Date: 16/07/2019
Representatives of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices and observer organizations..

Representatives from the network of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices (RSO) convene in Vienna for the 9th Annual RSO Coordination Meeting from 18 to 19 June. Held at the United Nations Offices in Vienna, the meeting provides the 23 RSOs the opportunity to propose concrete ways in which they, respectively, could further collaborate with UN-SPIDER and also with other RSOs. The event is a forum for discussion of innovative approaches to disaster management using space-based technologies.

At the meeting, RSO representatives... read more

Publishing Date: 18/06/2019
Participants of the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II). Image: WMO.

Held on 13 and 14 May in Geneva, the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II) called for further strengthening of multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS) as part of... read more

Publishing Date: 23/05/2019
Mississippi River floods in April and May 2011.

A new publication presents 30 innovation products and approaches for disaster risk reduction, ranging from GIS and... read more

Publishing Date: 16/05/2019
Areas flooded and damaged following cyclone Idai, northwest of Beira.

A new United Nations report calls for urgent action on disaster risk reduction to protect progress towards eradication of poverty and hunger, and action on... read more

Publishing Date: 16/05/2019
The map depicts global temperature anomalies in 2018.

New satellite data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirms that 2015 to 2018 were the four hottest years on record. The findings echo the results of recent reports by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The Atmospheric Infrared... read more

Publishing Date: 06/05/2019
Cover of SAR Handbook: Comprehensive Methodologies for Forest Monitoring and Biomass Estimation. Image: SERVIR GLOBAL.

SERVIR, a joint development initiative of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and SilvaCarbon, a U.S. government programme working to enhance capacity around the world in monitoring and managing forests, have announced the release of the “Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Handbook: Comprehensive Methodologies for Forest Monitoring and Biomass Estimation.” The publication brings together methods and theoretical background to facilitate the use of  SAR data for forest monitoring and biomass estimation.

The SAR Handbook is... read more

Publishing Date: 15/04/2019
Visualization of the GPM Core Observatory satellite orbiting the planet earth.

Five years ago, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global... read more

Publishing Date: 02/04/2019
Mapping Cyclone Pam’s destruction with drones.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published a new report about the use and opportunities of ICT and disruptive technologies for disaster risk reduction and management. The publication was announced during the third ITU Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications, which took place from 6 to 8 March 2019 in Balaclava, Mauritius.

The study finds that technological advancement and innovation are creating new opportunities for enhancing disaster... read more

Publishing Date: 25/03/2019
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres with youth attendees of the high-level event on Youth2030, New York, 24 September 2018. Image: UN Photo/Mark Garten.

To support the first priority of the 'Youth 2030' strategy, namely "Engagement, Participation and Advocacy to Amplify youth voices for the promotion of a peaceful, just and sustainable world", the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs decided to launch the Space for Youth Competition together with the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC).

What are the objectives of this competition?

  • To engage youth in the global discussion by gathering examples of space supporting Sustainable Development Goals

  • To amplify the voices of youth in space to the members of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

  • To bring the perspectives of youth on how space is supporting Sustainable Development Goals

Do you have an idea on how to use space to... read more

Publishing Date: 04/03/2019
Drone view of Seychelles coastline

The  Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), a grant-funding mechanism managed by the World Bank, has released a new report that analyzes how machine learning (ML) can be applied in disaster risk management (DRM) projects. The publication provides a concise, demystifying reference that readers - from project... read more

Publishing Date: 26/02/2019
Image: Group on Earth Observations.

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have teamed up to offer GEO member agencies and research organizations from developing countries access to cloud services. Selected organizations will receive AWS credits to host, process and analyze big data about the Earth to support sustainable development efforts.

The deadline for applications is 31 March 2019. Applications are welcome for non-commercial projects that address the GEO Work Programme and, in particular, support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Background... read more

Publishing Date: 14/01/2019
Screenshot of the Collect Earth Online tool.

A new tool developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aims to allow users to “systematically inspect” any location on Earth – from glaciers to rainforests - with satellite data. Collect Earth Online (CEO), announced on 12 December 2018, is also expected to be utilized in disaster management.

The web-based platform is free of charge, open to all and it does not require any download or installation. CEO will provide users with access to high-resolution... read more

Publishing Date: 17/12/2018

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) launched the space4water portal during the eighth edition of the PSIPW award ceremony hosted at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The new portal will serve as a platform to gather information and strengthen partnerships related to space-based information for water accessibility.

Water scarcity has become a major concern in several countries around the world. The importance of having a common framework to enhance available and sustainable water and to work towards increasing its accessibility is a priority that is addressed within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The importance of space technology in helping to manage the issue has led UNOOSA and PSIPW to launch the project, which was being shaped since 2008.

... read more

Publishing Date: 04/12/2018
PSLV C43 vehicle launch India fist HysIS Image: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the first Indian Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS) from Sriharikota on 29 November. The satellite is expected to be used for Earth observation in applications related to agriculture, forestry, geology,... read more

Publishing Date: 03/12/2018
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
Image: USGIF, 2018

The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) has recently released a new report on “Building Resilient Communities Through Geospatial Intelligence”. The report highlights the importance of raising awareness about the value of space-based information for early warning systems and risk and disaster management. Moreover, it suggests the need for a better definition of GEOINT within the framework of... read more

Publishing Date: 31/10/2018
Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Director General, FCSA, UAE, presents a silver falcon to Maya Tissafi, Ambassador of Switzerland to the UAE, as the host of the next World Data Forum. Image: IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth

A declaration adopted by a wide range of stakeholders at the second United Nations World Data, calls for an increase in financing for better data and statistics for sustainable development. The Dubai Declaration aims to establish a funding mechanism under the mandate of the United Nations Statistics Commission to raise resources to address the data needs for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and support national statistical systems. The UN World Data Forum 2018 was hosted by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority of the United Arab Emirates and took place from 22 to 24 October 2018.

During the three-day forum, 2,000 data experts from more than 100 countries discussed the challenges and opportunities that data needs to address to contribute to a sustainable future. Among the highlights of the Forum were the launch of a guide to towards integration of data from... read more

Publishing Date: 31/10/2018
Image: UNISDR and CRED.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) have released a new report that highlights the global trends in disaster losses in the period between 1998 and 2017.

“Economic Losses, Poverty & Disasters1998-2017” shows the significant increase of economic losses caused by climate-related disasters since 1970. Between 1978 and 1997, the percentage of economic climate-related damage was 68 per cent in relation to the total losses caused by disasters. By the period... read more

Publishing Date: 23/10/2018
Distribution of Disaster Relief in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 2016. Image: UN Photo/Logan Abassi.

Disasters cause tremendous loss of lives and assets around the world. Over the last twenty years, more than 1.35 million people have died, while over 4 billion have been displaced, left homeless, injured or in need of emergency assistance as a result of disasters according to a new report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk... read more

Publishing Date: 13/10/2018
Global TanDEM-X Digital Elevation Model. Image: DLR.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has released a 90-metre resolution global elevation model from its TanDEM-X mission for scientific data use. The data is free to download via the new Earth Observation Center (EOC) download service.

Digital Elevation Models (DEM... read more

Publishing Date: 09/10/2018

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