21 December 2009 - Upon request from the Government of Fiji, UN-SPIDER conducted a technical advisory mission (TAM) parallel to the Pacific Islands GIS and remote sensing conference in Suva, Fiji, from 1-4 December. Meetings with the Permanent Secretary for Provincial Development and Multi-Ethnic Affairs, officials of the National Disaster Management Office and experts from Land Department, Mineral Resources Department (Seismology Section), Hydrology Department, SOPAC, UNDP, UN-OCHA and PDC were conducted. These meetings provided insight into the availability of capacity within the Government of Fiji to use space-based information for disaster management and understanding of the gaps that need to be strengthened. Fiji was hit by tropical cyclone "Mick" (TC Mick) on 13 December. The links developed by UN-SPIDER during this mission helped Fiji to activate opportunities to access satellite images to cover areas affected by TC Mick.
In back-to-back missions, a TAM was also held in Samoa from 7-11 December. The mission team, who was joined by an expert from SOPAC (Secretariat of Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission), evaluated the availability of space-based information and international support during tsunami response. Necessary information was gathered via discussions with officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (National Disaster Management Office, Mapping Section, GEF and WB consultants etc.), Meteorology Department, UN Offices (UNEP, UNDP, OCHA, WHO, FAO and UNESCO) and regional organizations (Conservation International, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) etc.). Reports emerging from this mission, containing an evaluation of international support to provide space-based information during tsunami response and recommendations about spatial data infrastructure, capacity building and opportunities to access space based information, will be made available to relevant organization in Samoa.
Contact: Mr. Shirish Ravan (shirish.ravan [at] unoosa.org)