At the request of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing of Zimbabwe, UN-SPIDER and the National Office of the United Nations Development Programme in Zimbabwe carried out a Technical Advisory Mission to Zimbabwe from 19 to 23 November 2018 to assess the current and potential use of space-based information in all aspects of disaster management in Zimbabwe. It also aimed to strengthen disaster management efforts in the country – including disaster risk management and emergency response aspects – by providing support in accessing and using space-based information for the full disaster management cycle.
The mission was led by a programme officer from UN-SPIDER and conducted with the support of experts from the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD, the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office in Kenya); from the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences in Germany and from France. An expert from the Institut des Regions Arides, Tunisia, was consulted remotely.
As part of the mission, the team of experts visited 20 institutions including the Department for Civil Protection of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Climate and Rural Resettlement – AGRITEX, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the Meteorological Services Department, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, the SubAqua, Police Special Rescue Unit, the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre, the Zimbabwe Red Cross, the University of Zimbabwe, the Bindura University of Science and Technology, the Higher Life Foundation of EcoNet and the NGO World Vision International. In addition, the mission team held meetings with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and with the country offices of UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, FAO, and WHO; as well as with the European Commission’s ECHO Mission team.
During the TAM, a one-day national workshop was organized on 22 November 2019. The workshop brought together between 65 and 70 participants, including the members of the TAM team and local stakeholders from ministries, government departments, academia, the private sector and international organizations. A wide variety of subjects were addressed during the workshop, including remote sensing applications for disaster management; availability of online satellite imagery resources and services covering drought, floods or fire monitoring; and the use of weather and climate information. Participants also discussed institutional arrangements, data exchange and sharing policies needed, and best practices in the use of space-based technology in other countries. The event was an occasion for awareness-raising about existing international mechanisms that make satellite information available to support disaster preparedness and emergency response.