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Satellite image of the Tibetan Plateau. Image: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

A study conducted by Swiss and Chinese scientists assesses the flood danger posed by glacial lakes across the Tibetan Plateau using an automated satellite survey. 

Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) are a major concern throughout the Third Pole Environment, where thousands of glacial lakes have formed and continue to expand in response to climate warming and glacial retreat. This is particular true in the Himalaya, where several disasters occurring over the past century have caused... read more

Publishing Date: 23/04/2019
This cropped, false-colour image captured with Sentinel-2A on 18 November 2016, depicts northwestern China. Since the 1960s, the Tian Shan glaciers have lost a quarter of their ice mass and scientists estimate that they will shrink by half until 2050. The melting process of glaciers pose threats to communities living downstream. Image: ESA.

After completing in-orbit tests, China officially put two new Earth observation satellites into operation on 21 March. As new part of China’s High-definition Earth Observation Satellite (CHEOS), Gaofen-5 and -6 will aid in environmental protection, agricultural and forestry surveys and disaster relief.

Gaofen-5 and -6 will improve China’s capability to receive ground images and... read more

Publishing Date: 08/04/2019
This image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite on 28 December 2015. It demonstrates Nepal’s varied terrain from the mountains to the north (left side) to the plains in the south (right side). Vegetation appears red in this false-colour image, while waterways and buildings appear light green and blue. Image: ESA.

On 12 March, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) signed an agreement with French satellite operator Thales Alenia Space to build Nepal’s first communications satellite. The Nepalese government intends to use the satellite to provide nationwide internet access to its citizens, improve disaster management efforts and strengthen economic growth in the country.

The development of Nepal’s own satellite system proves to be significant in terms of improving the country’s disaster management efforts. Nepal... read more

Publishing Date: 29/03/2019
Participants during national training programme in Lao People's Democratic Republic.

As part of the technical advisory support it provides to countries worldwide on accessing space-based information for disaster management and emergency response, UN-SPIDER carried out an Institutional Strengthening Mission to Lao People’s Democratic Republic from 18 to 22 March 2019 upon the request of the Ministry of Science and... read more

Publishing Date: 20/03/2019
Participants are being trained in analyzing maps produced as part of International Charter activations.

As part of the technical advisory support it provides to countries worldwide, UN-SPIDER carried out an Institutional Strengthening Mission to Myanmar from 11 to 15 March 2019 upon the request of the government. This activity was jointly organized by UN-SPIDER and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), under auspices of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettle­ment (MSWRR) of Myanmar. It was hosted by the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC). Experts from the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), the... read more

Publishing Date: 19/03/2019

The United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) carried out a joint high-level advocacy workshop in Myanmar... read more

Publishing Date: 18/03/2019
Landsat 8 captured the Lower Sesan II Dam and its adjacent rivers on 1 February 2018. While in 2010, 3 percent of Cambodia’s domestically generated electricity came from hydropower, by 2016, hydropower supplied 60 percent. Image: NASA.

Vietnamese and American researchers joined efforts to develop a satellite-based system approach to monitor and manage transboundary flooding.

The teams from the Viet Nam National Center for Water Resources Planning and Investigation (NAWAPI) and the University of Washington co-developed and implemented an advanced water forecasting system. Recently, Viet Nam launched the satellite-based system aiming to improve timely access to upstream reservoir information in transboundary river basins of the Red and Mekong rivers. The satellite-based system provides various ways to achieve this objective.

Estimate reservoir storage and outflow

With the mass balance approach users can calculate... read more

Publishing Date: 06/03/2019
This Copernicus Sentinel-2 image shows Kazakhstan’s Alakol Lake on which large chunks of broken ice float in 5 April, 2016. Climate change threatens to disappear more than one third of Central Asia’s glaciers raising the disaster risk for vulnerable communities. Image: ESA.

The Central Asia Hydrometeorology Modernization Project (CAHMP), funded by the World Bank and co-financed by United Nations agencies and other development partners, receives new funding after reinforcing weather forecasting and early warning efforts in Central Asia. The five countries of the region, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, are exposed to an increasing number of hydrological and meteorological hazards.

To help address the present and prospective challenge, the World Bank invested US$ 28 million into CAHMP. Since the project needs further structural developing, it was recently... read more

Publishing Date: 28/01/2019
The CCSTEAP organizes several courses and programmes in the upcoming academic year. Image: CSSTEAP.

The Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), which is affiliated to the United Nations, will run its 24th postgraduate programme in Remote Sensing & Geographic System (RS & GIS) starting this July. The two-year programme open for 20 participants will be held at the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), which is a unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in Dehadrun. The deadline for applications for the programme is 28 February 2019.

The course is directed towards professionals and specialists working in universities and other educational institutes,... read more

Publishing Date: 28/01/2019
The Japanese coastal town of Otsuchi few days after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Image: Al Jazeera/Flickr.

The Japanese government is preparing to test a disaster early warning system that uses one of its Quasi-Zenith’s satellites this... read more

Publishing Date: 25/01/2019
Mission team and counterparts during the Institutional Strengthening Mission to Nepal in December 2018.

As part of the technical advisory support it provides to countries worldwide, UN-SPIDER carried out an Institutional Strengthening Mission to Nepal from 17 to 21 December 2018 upon the request of the government. The mission was a follow-up activity to the Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Nepal in July 2017 that assessed use of space-derived information in all aspects of disaster management and offered recommendations and action plan to strengthen the disaster risk management and... read more

Publishing Date: 25/01/2019

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) participated in two regional meetings organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. The meetings discussed the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The ISDR-Asia Partnership (IAP) Forum was convened on 11-12 December 2018 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok with the key objectives of sharing and reviewing progress in disaster risk reduction and, in particular, implementation of the Asia Regional Plan. This meeting was followed by the Regional Consultative Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies: Attaining the Sendai Framework Target ‘E’ on... read more

Publishing Date: 18/12/2018
Participants at the training. Image: AOGEOSS.

The National University of Laos (NUOL) and Deqing Academy of Satellite Applications (DASA) conducted a joint Asia-Oceania GEOSS (AOGEOSS) training workshop on Earth observation data for urban, agriculture and disaster monitoring in the Mekong Basin from 15 to 19 October 2018 at the Faculty of Engineering (FE) of the National University of Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The workshop was carried out in cooperation with the Institute of... read more

Publishing Date: 24/11/2018
Participants at the 8th UN-SPIDER conference in Beijing.

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

Publishing Date: 24/10/2018
Image of snow across northern Mongolia in January 2017 captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite. Image: Nasa Earth Observatory

A drought/dzud monitoring system known as “DroughtWatch-Mongolia” has been officially handed over to Mongolia on 17 September by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Institute of... read more

Publishing Date: 02/10/2018
Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2). Image: JAXA

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Authority (JAXA) has released a collection of good practices in disaster emergency observation using data captured by the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2) from 2014 to 2017. The publication showcases the contributions of space technology to disaster risk reduction and... read more

Publishing Date: 08/08/2018
Global Precipitation Measurement visualization of heavy rain in Japan, 2 – 9 July 2018. Image: NASA Earth Observatory

The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” was activated on 7 July for a major flooding disaster which has hit Japan, the worst the country has experienced in 36 years.

Heavy rains, which first started at the end of June 2018, caused flash flooding and deadly landslides across western and central Japan from 5 July. Over 200 fatalities have been recorded in the country so far as a result of the disaster. The rains which caused the flooding appear to have been caused by warm, humid air flowing from the Pacific Ocean and by remnants of Typhoon Prapiroon, both of which intensified the seasonal rain front. Some 8.63 million people... read more

Publishing Date: 16/07/2018
Prime Minister of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh opens 2018 AMCDRR in Ulaanbaatar.

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: 04/07/2018
FY-4A satellite capturing the weather over South-east Asia.  Source: National Satellite Meteorological Center
China has established an emergency mechanism using its meteorological satellites to help countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative to combat extreme weather and disasters, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) announced on 2 May.
 
Countries along the Belt and Road Initiative, which are suffering from meteorological disasters such as typhoons, rainstorms, wildfires and sandstorms, may apply to China to activate the mechanism. These countries will then receive get high-... read more
Publishing Date: 22/05/2018
Active volcano Mount Mayon as seen from the Legaspi Airport in September 2013. Image: NOAA/CC BY.

First disaster responders in the Philippines now have access to mobile satellite equipment that’s more powerful and easier to deploy than ever before.

Since 2017, emergency responders have been working with communications company Inmarsat, the UK Space Agency and a consortium of NGO partners to institutionalize... read more

Publishing Date: 14/05/2018
Asian Science and Technology Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction.

In response to the increasing importance and role of science-based decision-making in disaster risk reduction, the Asia-Pacific office of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) established the Asian Science Technology Academia Stakeholder Group (ASTAAG) in May 2015. The group brings together academic, scientific and technological communities in support of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (... read more

Publishing Date: 27/04/2018

UN-SPIDER has jointly organized a regional workshop and training course on building drought resilience together with the Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), the ASEAN Research and Training Center for Space Technology and Applications (ARTSA), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). The events were held at the Research and Training Center for Space Technology and Applications of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in Sri... read more

Publishing Date: 14/12/2017

The United Nations/Russian Federation Workshop on "Human Capacity-Building in Space Science and Technology for Sustainable Social and Economic Development", which took place in Samara, Russian Federation from October 30 to November 2, aimed to address the role of human capacity building for using space science, technology and its applications in support of sustainable development, with a particular focus on developing and emerging countries. The workshop was co-organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Samara National Research University, and co-sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The main objectives of the workshop were the following:

  1. An examination of the opportunities for development of human potential in relation to... read more
Publishing Date: 06/11/2017

The United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction – "Building Resilience through Integrated Applications" was opened yesterday in Beijing, China and will continue until 25 October 2017. About one hundred participants from 34 countries and 8 regions are participating in the conference.

The conference is co-organized by UN-SPIDER Beijing Office of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People's... read more

Publishing Date: 24/10/2017
Kelani river during floods in Sri Lanka, May 2017

Due to the heavy... read more

Publishing Date: 30/05/2017
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