Over 100 participants including experts, policymakers and representatives from national authorities and space agencies, civil protection, disaster relief, the environmental sector, the space industry, remote sensing data centres, German Aerospace Center ( Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR), the United Nations, Europe Space Agency and the European Union have gathered in Bonn, Germany for the the UN-SPIDER Bonn International Conference.
The conference is hosted by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, (UNOOSA) through the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response(UN-SPIDER), in collaboration with the University of Bonn’s Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL).
The event tagged: “Space-based Solutions for Disaster Management in Africa: Challenges, Applications, Partnerships”, aims to share opportunities for strengthening local disaster management capacities in Africa using space-based information. The agenda for the three-day conference includes exchanges relating to innovative technologies such as access to and use of data platforms, how artificial intelligence contributes towards the use of satellite-based information and the identification of specific space requirements from an African perspective.
Before the kickoff of activities at the event on Wednesday, a training session for Charter Project Managers was organised by the European Space Agency and DLR. The training which had participants from several countries, including Tunisia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Sudan, South Africa, Brazil, Belarus, France and German, focused on ways to actively involve African institutions in Charter activations and satellite-based support to disaster response.
The first day of the UNOOSA space event witnessed a presentation by the United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD) on its Drought Toolbox and featured discussions on climate change, preparation and building of resilience against natural disasters through early action under the topic, “Space-based Solutions for Disaster Management”.
Lobelia, a group that focuses on the use of Earth observation to address the climate emergency, also carried out a workshop on operational flood forecasting and alerts in West Africa, and looked at great potential of virtual stations providing water level data from satellite altimetry to be assimilated in hydrological models.
The event slated for 6-8th November ends today and will feature other specific application examples and technical sessions, discussions on specific projects and needs amongst others.
Ogechi Onuoha is a Cambridge Certified ESOL editor with a background in reporting, international relations, creative writing and adept in industry research and analysis. She is passionate about curating and evaluating the benefits/relevance of space to grassroots development and women’s participation in the space sector.