At the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Gabon, UNOOSA successfully organized a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Libreville from 7 to 11 December 2015.
A team of five experts from UNOOSA, UNEP, GEO Secretariat, RECTAS and Germany, also supported locally by the representative of the ESA and CNES in Gabon, have met with staff of the Ministries of Interior, Public Security and Immigration, Infrastructure, Habitat and Planning, Health, Defence, Energy and Hydraulic Resources, the Gabonese Petroleum Products Enterprise as well as the Gabonese Space Agency AGEOS, the Gabon Red Cross and the General Direction of Civil Protection (DGPC), to assess the use of space technologies in disaster management in the countries as well as the related needs and gaps. Field visits were also organized to the AGEOS Direct Satellite Receiving Station and to the ESA Tracking and Telemetry Satellite Station near Libreville.
A national workshop with about 45 participants from all relevant local institutions was also convened on Thursday 10th December to discuss and clarify recommendations to be made in the TAM report, and to identify priorities for support.
In a clear indication of the unexpected nature of disasters, the workshop had to be moved last-minute from the Ministry of Interior venue planned to a different location (the National Directorate of Civil Protection), given an emergency situation that had to be addressed on that morning after an overnight storm caused significant flooding in parts of Libreville and elsewhere in the country. However, this last-minute change did not at all affect the wide participation of the national stakeholders in the discussions.
A TAM report will be now finalized based on information collected during the mission, and will include recommendations and proposed actions as identified by the team of experts in their dialogue with the host Government institutions.
It is hoped that the report will help the Government of Gabon to prioritize its actions, and together with adequate support from the international community and donors to improve its disaster management practices and procedures through broader adoption and better utilization of the full spectrum of space technologies and of geospatial data applications.