UN-SPIDER: Experts Discuss Use of Big Space Data For Disaster Risk Reduction And Emergency Response in Africa

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), is conducting an International Expert Meeting on 12 November at the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany. “Towards Big (Space) Data in Support of Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response in Africa” aims at contributing to an increased use of big data approaches and satellite technologies in African countries to respond to challenges posed by natural hazards.

Disasters cause tremendous damage to societies around the world. They lead to loss of lives and property, displace people from their homes and destroy livelihoods, and disrupt sustainable development efforts worldwide. Developing countries are particularly susceptible to the impact of natural hazards as societies are more vulnerable and exposed, and less resilient to recover when disasters strike.

The ever-increasing availability and volume of data resulting from Earth observation satellites, social media, crowdsourced geographic information, virtual globes and ubiquitous web repositories, among other, can be analyzed and combined to generate insights into disaster risks and emergency situations and support evidence-based decision-making for emergencies and sustainable development.

Space and big data technologies are already, and will be even more so in the future, important elements in early warning systems (EWS), which are central to effective disaster preparedness and feature prominently in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, as well as in the Paris Agreement.

The UN-SPIDER International Expert Meeting addresses these topics by bringing together around 45 experts from space agencies, civil protection authorities, development cooperation actors, international organizations, technical relief and humanitarian aid providers, national ministries and the private sector.

risk reduction, natural hazard

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