UN-SPIDER present in the II Hemispheric Encounter on National Mechanisms and Networks for Risk Reduction. “Encounter of Santa Marta: From Theory to Practice”, 14 – 16 April 2010.Special Session: Space-based Applications for Managing Risk Reduction and Emergency Response in Latin America and the Caribbean
Taking advantage of the 2nd Hemispheric Encounter of Santa Marta, the UN-SPIDER Programme organized and conducted a special session during this event to promote the SPIDER Thematic Partnership for Latin America & Caribbean. The session allowed UN-SPIDER to bridge the space community represented through the Colombian Space Commission (CSC) and the Argentinean National Commission on Space Activities (CONAE); and the community which focuses its efforts on the topic of disaster-risk management. The session benefited 34 participants from a variety of agencies working at the national, regional, and international levels such as the Civil Defense, the Risk Management Secretariat and Armed Forces of Colombia; the Association of Caribbean States (ACS); the Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) of the United Nations; the Organization of American States (OAS); the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC); civil protection agencies from a variety of countries, the University of the West Indies and Florida International University; Thermopylae T-S; the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), and the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) among others.The session allowed representatives of space commissions of South American countries to present examples of activities conducted in the topics of disaster-risk management and emergency response: experts to present a geo-viewer as an example of state-of-the-art technologies focusing on the display of information on which to make decisions in case of disasters; UN-SPIDER staff to present this programme and the SPIDER Thematic Partnership for Latin America and the Caribbean; and to discuss elements to elaborate a Plan of Action for the Thematic Partnership for LA&C with a focus on disaster-risk Management to support national platforms for disaster-risk reduction. For example, the conduction of a workshop to identify how to tailor space-based information so that it can be utilized more efficiently and quickly by disaster management agencies in the assessment of risks, as well as in the context of early warning. The 2nd Hemispheric Encounter of Santa Marta also allowed UN-SPIDER to link with representatives of disaster management agencies, with National Focal Points, and to strengthen the relations with Latin American Space Commissions and Thermopylae S&T. Such links are essential to structure the work of UN-SPIDER in this region, which has already included a regional workshop in Quito in 2009, technical advisory missions in Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Haiti; and now is being shaped in terms of a mission to Guatemala, technical advisory support to these countries, and the Sixth Space Conference of the Americas to take place in Mexico in November of this year.