Jun 20, 2013

UNOSAT NEWS SERVICE 20 JUNE: International Institute for Humanitarian Law, IGAD COF, Live Maps, Global Platform, Storm Mahasen, Syria, Training, Crowdcrafting, Rapid Mapping Report, HumaNav

Estimated Article Reading Time: 6 min.

UNOSAT to show latest advances in satellite analysis for human rights through course offered by the International Institute for Humanitarian Law

12 June 2013, Geneva, Switzerland – Each year an increasing number of practitioners, international staff, and national experts take to studying International Humanitarian Law to have a better understanding of the rules and international conventions applying to armed conflict and internal violence. UNOSAT has accumulated substantial experience in satellite analysis in conflict situations and other crises having humanitarian and human security dimensions. A UNOSAT training module on the use of satellite technology for the verification of humanitarian law is part of the course offered annually by the International Institute for Humanitarian Law (IIHL).

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Advancing resilience to climate-related disasters in the Greater Horn of Africa

11 June 2013, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Addis Ababa played host to the 34th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) and the Water Conflict Management and Cooperation Workshop, which took place on 29-31 May 2013. The Forum was organized by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) and other partners to formulate a regional climate outlook for the June to August 2013 season over the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA). The Great Horn region comprises Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. At the Forum, UNOSAT expert Roshni Dave, who is posted in Nairobi, introduced the IGAD-UNOSAT partnership project on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity Development for East Africa using Geo-spatial Technologies’. She also highlighted project activities including technical training and regional awareness raising events. The initiative is supported by the government of Norway.

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UN and European Union test UNOSAT live maps in civil protection exercise

5 June, Geneva, Switzerland – UNOSAT has been investing in the development of live web-based maps capable of providing rapid and essential information for disaster prevention and emergency response and able to integrate crowd sourced data, photos and videos. UNOSAT experts believe that this type of integrated, near-real time products will constitute the backbone of future geospatial decision support systems. This assumption seems corroborated by a recent exercise conducted in the European Union. The UNOSAT LIVE map integrating the ASIGN geo-tagging solution was tested in April 2013 during a field exercise organised in Finland by the Finnish Crisis Management Centres in partnership with EUTAC, the European Technical Assistance Cooperation.

“Full article”: http://www.unitar.org/unosat/node/22/2604

Tomorrow’s disaster risk reduction requires innovation and technology

23 May 2013, Geneva, Switzerland – The 2013 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), attended by a record 3,500 people and representatives from 172 governments, ended in Geneva after three days of meetings and side events with a call for “the immediate start of work to develop targets and indicators to monitor the reduction of risk.” The other salient news from the large meeting was the confirmation that in 2015 there will be another global conference on disaster reduction. Japan has offered to host the event, which follows in the tracks of the previous World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held in Kobe in early 2005. UNITAR maintained its policy of participating in the Global Platform and report on the concrete steps taken by the Institute to do its own part in the advancement of DRR. Part of UNITAR’s mission is a drive to help national administrations translate in actionable strategies elements of global principles established by world conferences and international conventions. This year’s summary included new applications of geospatial information by UNOSAT like “Map your School” and “GeoDRR” along with CC:LEARN, the “One UN Training Service Platform for Climate Change”. UNITAR also works with local communities to deliver training on DRR via its network of CIFAL Centres.

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UNOSAT supports UN agencies during Storm Mahasen

21 May 2013, Geneva, Switzerland – After initial assessment, Humanitarian agencies are in agreement that Tropical Storm Mahasen that hit Bangladesh and Myanmar last week spared local populations any serious impact. What is more, the emergency was a positive test for inter-agency coordination for emergency response. The Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar underlined that both the government and UN agencies involved had been proactive in responding to the threat of the storm. In Myanmar, over 100,000 people were moved to safer places and are now beginning to return to their homes.

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UNOSAT continues to provide insight as humanitarian situation in Syria deteriorates

15 May 2013, Geneva, Switzerland – In its latest humanitarian bulletin on Syria, OCHA warns that “the humanitarian situation in Syria is catastrophic” and calls the relief needs of populations affected “immense.” Fierce fighting across large parts of the country has led to massive displacement of civilians and mounting refugee outflows. Valerie Amos, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told the UN Security Council that the situation in the country is a “humanitarian catastrophe, with ordianry people paying the price of the failure to end the conflict.” Initially, when the crisis erupted in 2011, UNOSAT published a monthly situation map illustrating the evolution of violence in the country covering a period of 10 months starting in December 2011. In the early stages of the crisis this information was very useful to humanitarian agencies. Later on, when the crisis deepened, these maps were replaced by specific analytical maps focusing on the impact of the conflict on civilians and on the outflow of refugees.

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University of Geneva relies on UNOSAT expertise for its new Master on humanitarian action

8 May 2013, Geneva, Switzerland – Since 2008, the main technology application drive of UNOSAT has been accompanied by a fast growing training and knowledge sharing offer. As a result the Programme evolved into a centre of excellence acting on two interconnected fronts: services and training. This strategic choice is in line with the mandate and role of UNITAR in training national experts in UN member states and adds a distinctive competitive edge to UNOSAT geospatial expertise.

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New online technologies can unleash the power of crowds for science and emergencies

8 May 2013, Geneva, Switzerland – At a workshop on citizen cyberscience held in April 2013 at the University of Geneva, a novel open source software platform named Crowdcrafting.org was officially launched. The platform, which has already attracted thousands of participants during several months of testing, enables the rapid development of online collaborative science applications by both amateur and professional scientists. As the landing page explains, the platform is about “online assistance in performing tasks that require human cognition, knowledge or intelligence such as image classification, transcription, geocoding and more.” Things computers can’t do, but humans with computers can.

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UNOSAT 2012 mapping report shows more relief agencies rely on satellite analysis

24 April 2013, Geneva, Switzerland – UNOSAT released its annual Activity Report on its renown Humanitarian Rapid Mapping service. The report focuses on data and performance in the year 2012. Last year saw an increase in requests and delivery of UNOSAT Rapid Mapping services. A total of 35 humanitarian crisis interventions were supported by UNOSAT, primarily on requests received from UN OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF and The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR. The increase of 25% from 2011 indicates both the high demand for UNOSAT services as well as the full integration of this type of knowledge in decision‐making processes in humanitarian and human security players.

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Vehicle Tracking Technology: the HumaNav community gathers at workshop in Dubai

UNITAR/UNOSAT and its partner NOVACOM Services hosted the second HumaNav workshop at the International Humanitarian City in Dubai on 26 March 2013. The workshop brought together organizations who have adopted the HumaNav tracking system, a navigation and data capturing solution specially designed for humanitarian vehicles. The event gave participants an opportunity to share and discuss their experience with HumaNav, and to learn about new developments in the technology and services offered by HumaNav.

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Latest maps and analyses
Syria crisis maps

Source UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (“UNOSAT”: http://www.unitar.org/unosat )