The network of Regional Support Offices (RSO) supporting the work of the UN-SPIDER Programme has two new members: the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) of Pakistan and the Space Research Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the National Space Agency of Ukraine (SRI NASU-NSAU). Representatives of both institutions signed cooperation agreements with UNOOSA during the fourty-seventh session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) on 10 January, 2010.
With two new members, UN-SPIDER now has established seven RSOs. Five had already been set up in Algeria, the Asian Disaster Reduction Centre (ADRC) in Japan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nigeria, and Romania. It is worth mentioning that two additional institutions have expressed the intention to set up RSOs in the future, namely the University of West Indies for the Caribbean Region, and the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) in Panama. Further institutions that are in the process of becoming a UN-SPIDER RSO are the new Disaster Management Center in South Africa, and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
Preceding the signing ceremony a UN-SPIDER side event took place which brought together existing and prospective RSOs. The meeting comprised presentations by UN-SPIDER staff members and by each of the RSOs including the two new members of the network, giving an overview of activities carried out in 2009 and activities planned for 2010. In the second half of the meeting these activities were mapped collectively in order to improve future coordination, and for a brainstorming session on communication and collaboration channels between RSOs, UN-SPIDER, National Focal Points (NFPs) and the disaster management community. These exercises proved to be extremely valuable in refining the relationship between the UN-SPIDER offices and the RSOs and also in providing the opportunity for the RSO representatives to meet each other in person and exchange views and experience.
For additional information and links to existing RSOs go to: http://www.un-spider.org/regional-support-offices