United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction - "Enhancing Disaster Preparedness for Effective Emergency Response"

Description: 

The Office for Outer Space Affairs is pleased to announce the “United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction – ‘Enhancing Disaster Preparedness for Effective Emergency Response’”, to be held from 24 to 26 October 2018 in Beijing, China.

The registration deadline for applicants seeking funding is 8 August 2018. Self-funded applicants can apply until 31 August 2018. Online registration is mandatory for all participants via the UNOOSA online registration platform.

The conference is organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China, and implemented under the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) through its Beijing Office. It follows seven conferences held since 2011. Previous conferences covered the themes of “Best practices for risk reduction and rapid response mapping” in 2011, “Risk assessment in the context of global climate change” in 2012, “Disaster risk identification, assessment and monitoring” in 2013, “Multi-hazard disaster risk assessment” in 2014, “A consolidating role in the implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” in 2015, “Understanding disaster risks” in 2016 and “Building Resilience through Integrated Application” in 2017. These conferences offered a forum for disaster management communities and experts to strengthen their capabilities in using space-based information to identify, assess, monitor and respond to disaster risks and integrate space technology into long-term disaster risk management efforts.

The conference is prepared in collaboration with the China National Space Administration, the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation and the Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific.

Preliminary programme of the conference

Conference objectives

The Third United Nations World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (www.wcdrr.org) took place in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, and the “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted on March 18, 2015. Priority 4 “Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to ‘Build Back Better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction” of the Sendai Framework states that “The steady growth of disaster risk, including the increase of people and assets exposure, combined with the lessons learned from past disasters, indicates the need to further strengthen disaster preparedness for response, take action in anticipation of events, integrate disaster risk reduction in response preparedness and ensure that capacities are in place for effective response and recovery at all levels. Empowering women and persons with disabilities to publicly lead and promote gender equitable and universally accessible response, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction approaches is key. Disasters have demonstrated that the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, which needs to be prepared ahead of a disaster, is a critical opportunity to ‘Build Back Better’, including through integrating disaster risk reduction into development measures, making nations and communities resilient to disasters.”

Earth observation and other space technologies play an important role in emergency response by providing rapid response maps, detailed damage assessment, emergency communication, and collecting location based damage information, finding suitable sites for building back better and so on. However, the countries need to prepare well and build capacities for utilizing the full potential of space technologies in support of the Sendai Framework Priority 4. UN-SPIDER is working with the Member States in this direction. For example, UNOOSA co-published guidelines for disaster emergency response in ASEAN countries. The handbook "Sharing Space-based Information: Procedural Guidelines for Disaster Emergency Response in ASEAN Countries" provides procedural guidelines for sharing space-based information during emergency response and aims to support disaster managers become familiar with the systematic approach necessary for using satellite-derived and geospatial information applications. This publication is an outcome of 4 workshops conducted in the ASEAN region.

Recognizing the current challenges in the use of Earth observation technologies in disaster management and emergency response, the Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China are co-organising the International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction – “Enhancing Disaster Preparedness for Effective Emergency Response”.

The conference aims to provide a platform to communicate various means to be adopted by Member States and supporting international/regional organisations in enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to ‘Build Back Better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction, especially based on the use of space-based technologies. This may include tools, technologies as well as peripheral issues such as data sharing, spatial data infrastructure, institutional coordination, needed for achieving the targets of the Sendai Framework. Recommended practices and experiences in this context will be shared by the panellists and discussed by all participants. Thus, the conference will contribute to efforts of Member States and UN-SPIDER to implement the Sendai Framework, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement stemming from the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP21). The conference also supports the implementation of UNISPACE+50 that marked the 50th anniversary of the First United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE) held in 1968 in Vienna.

The overall aim is to strengthen the role of space technologies to assist Member States in implementing the Sendai Framework which can be achieved by deeper engagement with the Member States through technical advisory support and other services aiming at institutional strengthening.

Expected outcomes

The conference will build upon the outcomes of the 5th, 6th and 7th UN-SPIDER Conferences (2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively) in Beijing that are documented in the form of three parliamentary documents submitted to the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in 2016 and 2018. It elaborates the role of Earth Observation in the implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

The conference is expected to provide thoughts, ideas and help formulate programmes to achieve the following:

  1. Strengthening institutional frameworks of disaster management agencies for utilizing space-based information during emergencies
  2. Provide a basis for developing standard operating procedures (SOP) for disaster emergency response to generate and communicate information in systematic manner and avoid duplication of mapping efforts
  3. Combined and complementary use of space-based technologies and in-situ information in preparing for emergency response;
  4. Strengthening the access to and use of existing emergency response mechanisms providing earth observation support during emergencies; and
  5. Contribution to the global frameworks namely, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Paris Agreement stemming from COP21.

The recommendations of the conference will be compiled in the form of a report, which will be made available to the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) of COPUOS in 2019.

Structure of the conference

The conference will cover the following topics:

Session 1: Institutional strengthening and preparedness for improving emergency response using space technologies

Session 2: International mechanisms for rapid response mapping (with support from International Working Group on Satellite based Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM))

Session 3: Earth observation for assessing resiliency of ecosystem as an instrument for disaster risk reduction

Session 4: Demonstrating advances in Earth observation to build back better

Session 5: Networking and engagement with the UN-SPIDER network

Breakout sessions:

Three breakout groups will be organized:

  1. Multi-hazard early warning

  2. Enhancing capacity of community in providing emergency mapping

  3. Earth observation for achieving targets of Sendai Framework

Financial Support to the participants

Due to funding constraints, the organizers will be able to offer support to only a limited number of participants from Member States and organizations engaged in developing or intend to develop a partnership with UN-SPIDER. The support will defray the cost of travel (round-trip ticket – most economic fare – between the airport of international departure in their country of residence and Beijing) and/or room and board expenses during the duration of the event.

Points of contact

Technical matters: Ms. Tong TANG (tong.tang@un.org, Tel: +86 10 5281 1372)

Logistics: Ms. Gao YUAN (gao.yuan@un.org, Tel: +86 10 5281 1371)

If necessary, you can cc your Email to Mr. Shirish Ravan (shirish.ravan@un.org)

Training programme (28 October to 1 November 2018)

The training programme “Space-based technologies for emergency response mapping”, co-organized with the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization, the National Disaster Reduction Centre of China and the Beihang University, will be offered to 25 conference participants. Interested participants for this training programme can contact to Ms. Tong TANG via a separate Email (tong.tang@un.org).

Date: 

24/10/2018 to 26/10/2018

Registration Deadline: 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Target Audience: 

Disaster managers, policy makers, providers of space technology solutions/tools/applications from governments, academia, research, NGO and corporate sector. Number of expected participants: 100.

Event Organisers: 

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China

Co-organisers: 

China National Space Administration, Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation and Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific

Venue: 

Grand Gongda Jianguo Hotel

Venue City: 

Beijing

Venue Country: 

Language of event: 

English
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