New UN office utilizing space information to mitigate disasters opens in Bonn

31 October 2007 –

A new United Nations Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) office tasked with utilizing space technologies to respond to all stages of disasters globally has opened in Bonn, Germany.

The new office – expected to be the first of several – aims to carry out the UN Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER).

Unlike other recent initiatives where space-based information is used for humanitarian and emergency response, UN-SPIDER is the first to employ the technologies to cover all stages of disaster, including the risk reduction phase which could significantly cut the loss of lives and property.

UN-SPIDER will provide universal access to all countries and interested organizations to space-based information and services on disaster management “and will have a considerable impact on the way space-based information is used in dealing with disasters around the world,” said Franz Baumann, Deputy Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna.

The programme, established by the UN General Assembly last December, hopes to assist countries and organizations by acting as a gateway to space-based information for disaster management support and facilitate developing countries in their capacity-building and institutional strengthening efforts.

UN-SPIDER offices are also scheduled to open in Beijing and Geneva.

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