In its resolution 61/110 of 14 December 2006 the United Nations General Assembly agreed to establish the "United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response - UN-SPIDER" as a new United Nations programme, with the following mission statement: "Ensure that all countries and international and regional organizations have access to and develop the capacity to use all types of space-based information to support the full disaster management cycle".

Whereas there have been a number of initiatives in recent years that have contributed to making space technologies available for humanitarian and emergency response, UN-SPIDER is the first to focus on the need to ensure access to and use of such solutions during all phases of the disaster management cycle, including the risk reduction phase, which will significantly contribute to reducing the loss of lives and property.

The UN-SPIDER programme is achieving this by being a gateway to space information for disaster management support, by serving as a bridge to connect the disaster management and space communities and by being a facilitator of capacity-building and institutional strengthening, in particular for developing countries.

UN-SPIDER is being implemented as an open network of providers of space-based solutions to support disaster management activities. Besides Vienna (where UNOOSA is located), the programme also has an office in Bonn, Germany and in Beijing, China. Additionally, a network of Regional Support Offices multiplies the work of UN-SPIDER in the respective regions.