The Government of Nigeria through its National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) requested UN-SPIDER to conduct a Technical Advisory Mission to assess the use of space-based information in disaster management in Nigeria and to identify areas of improvement in the access to this kind of information and in the capacities of working with it. This mission took place from 13 to 17 June 2011.
The mission team consisted of seven experts representing the Regional Center for Training in Aerospace Surveys (RECTAS), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Country Team Nigeria and UN-SPIDER, as well as staff from the two hosting institutions, namely the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA). The latter hosts the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office in Nigeria.
After a mission team meeting, the experts visited NEMA and NASRDA, including visits to the COSPAS-SARSAT mission control center and the satellite ground control facilities of the Nigerian Space Agency. In the course of the TAM, a stakeholder workshop was organized that brought together more than 100 experts of the Nigerian disaster management community. The workshop was also covered by national television and print media. Furthermore, a technical workshop took place at the premises of NEMA, focusing on the 2010 floods in Sokoto state as a case study with the aim of analyzing the institutional capacities and cooperation of the stakeholders. The setting helped identify strengths and available opportunities in the country and also spurred discussions on perceived limitations and challenges. Visits to individual institutions gave insight into their access to and use of space-based information. The institutional visits were followed by a debriefing to the Director General and other high-ranking staff of NEMA, which was the requesting government agency of the UN-SPIDER mission.
In the follow-up to this TAM, the Nigerian UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office will be of particular importance and play a leading role in shaping new developments. A standard outcome of such a mission is a report that summarizes the observations and recommendations from the TAM and that is submitted to the national Government. These reports serve as a base for national authorities to develop policies and an action plan to improve the use of space-based information and of geo-databases for disaster management in the country. UN-SPIDER is committed to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations through its partners and the network of Regional Support Offices.