Priority 1: Understanding disaster risk

Disaster risk management should be based on an understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics and the environment. Such knowledge can be used for risk assessment, prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response.


Global Human Settlement Layers Open data to measure global exposure in time

The Global Human Settlement (GHS) framework produces global open source spatial information about the human presence on the planet over time. This is in the form of built up maps, population density maps and settlement maps. This information is generated with evidence-based analytics and knowledge using new spatial data mining technologies. The framework uses heterogeneous data including global archives of fine-scale satellite imagery, census data, and volunteered geographic information.


Tackling vulnerability through Index-Based Flood Insurance (IBFI)


South Asia Drought Monitoring System (SADMS)

IDSI integrates multi-source remote sensing data from moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) and tropical rainfall measuring mission (TRMM), ESA Soil Moisture (ASCAT) Products and it synthesizes precipitation deficits, soil thermal stress and vegetation growth status in drought process. Therefore, this method is favourable to monitor the comprehensive drought over South Asia.


Capacity development in space applications and geographic information systems

Intensive capacity development sessions for Pacific island countries  (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Micronesia (the Federated States of), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu).

The project aims to enhance institutional and technical capacity for using geospatial data and technology applications and promote regional cooperation for sharing geospatial data for disaster management in Pacific island countries.


Asia-Pacific Regional Drought Mechanism

Persistent and prolonged droughts in Cambodia are severely affecting agricultural production, specifically for rice. Cambodia is moving towards improving drought management through ESCAP’s Regional Drought Mechanism. Supported by China, a tailored drought monitoring system is being established through DroughtWatch at different scales using different earth observation data. The Government of Australia is working towards building a water accounting system for Cambodia, using its innovative tool Source.


UNESCAP Knowledge products for institutional developments

Developed for the needs of the ASEAN sub-region in Asia and the Pacific, the handbooks can also be adapted for use in other regions.

The handbooks have been developed through expert working groups, in collaboration with United Nations partners including UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER, UNITAR-UNOSAT, and OCHA. As well as extensive consultation with space agencies, national disaster management authorities and regional institutions, including GISTDA, LAPAN, ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management and Asian Institute of Technology.




Drought monitoring using the Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) – UN-SPIDER Recommended practice provided by Iranian Space Agency (ISA)

Vegetation Condition Index according to Kogan et al. (1990). Two-weeks normalized Differenced Vegetation Index (NDVI) composites based on 250m MODIS data are freely available for download from the MODIS/NDVI Time Series Database from the Global Agriculture Monitoring (GLAM) Project provided via the website of Geographic Department of Maryland University.


Policy Options for Improved Drought Resilience in Africa




Analysis of debris flow due to heavy rain

Many of the sediment disasters were likely generated by the heavy rain. Sediment danger is alerted to during heavy rainfalls (≥20 mm/h), or when the total rainfall exceeds 100 mm. The new system can analyse the amount of accumulated rainfall, which is important for landslide disaster prevention.


Automatic Rapid Flood Mapping by means of Sentinel‐1 and TerraSAR‐X Imagery

The automatically derived flood masks are based on Sentinel-1 and TerraSAR-X radar data. TerraSAR-X data can be accessed free of cost via scientific data proposals or are provided by DLR during activations of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’. Data from Sentinel-1 is accessible free of cost via ESA’s Copernicus Open Access Hub.



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