Fourth United Nations International UN-SPIDER Bonn Workshop opened

This Tuesday, 12 October 2010, the Fourth United Nations International UN-SPIDER Bonn Workshop on Disaster Management and Space Technology: “The 4C – Challenge: Communication – Coordination – Cooperation – Capacity Development” was opened at the UN premises in Bonn. This year’s workshop brings together more than 120 participants from over 40 countries who came to share information and discuss about the 4C-challenge. The event comprises four thematic sessions titled “International support mechanisms and the SpaceAid Framework”, “satellite communication for Disaster Management”, “Space technology in support of risk and disaster management”, and “The UN-SPIDER Network”.

Mr. Jürgen Meyer, Director General for Technology Politics, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Germany, Mr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Mr. David Stevens, UN-SPIDER Programme Coordinator, opened the forum with their welcome notes to the audience. Mr. Meyer highlighted the interest of Germany in sharing experience and lessons learned with the international community and in supporting the UN-SPIDER programme in particular. Recognizing the dependence on accuracy and timeliness of information, he expressed his satisfaction about the efforts of UN-SPIDER in improving and facilitating information access. Mr. Meyer also emphasized that UN-SPIDER depends on voluntary contributions from Member States and expressed his appreciation about the support of Turkey to the programme. Mr. Wörner from DLR commented on the German Aerospace Center’s activities in the areas of the four Cs, Communication, Coordination, Cooperation, and Capacity Development, and added a fifth C, Competence. He then highlighted the Center’s competences in Earth Observation and telemedicine and its contributions to cooperation projects.

Keynote plenary presentations were delivered by Mr. Abdullah Shahid, Minister of State for Housing and environment and Chief Coordinator National Disaster Management Center, Maldives, Mr. Nihat Oktay, Deputy General Manger of Turksat, Turkey, and Mr. Jurry de la Mar, Vice President of T-Systems International, Germany. Mr. Shahid elaborated on the particular situation of Small Island Developing States and their need for disaster management capacities. He further highlighted the new, decentralized approach of the Maldives’ Government and the change towards an institutionalized use of GIS and its application to disaster management. Mr. Oktay from Turksat introduced the company’s services with an emphasis on those deployed to support disaster management and human development, namely the support to mobile hospitals for the Pakistan flood relief, to the Turkish Red Crescent, and the near to 5000 terminals delivered to schools in remote rural areas. Turksat is also participating in a feasibility study for the implementation of a National Spatial data Infrastructure. Mr. de la Mar from T-Systems International talked about the company’s participation in Galileo, the European Global Navigation Satellite System, and in GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), where T-Systems contributes in the areas of data distribution, computing facilities, and the establishment of distribution networks and archives. One focus lies on the development of real-time downstream services for end users, which is of particular interest for the disaster management community. He ended his presentation with the suggestion to make better use of online social networks to improve the provision of geo-information for disaster management through these networks.

The presentations delivered in the course of the workshop will be uploaded to the website of the workshop after the event. A list of participants and the full workshop report will be made available there as well. http://www.un-spider.org/workshop-bonn-2010