Africa faces a mounting number of disasters, such as floods, drought, food security and the spread of diseases, but must also deal with the likely impact of global climate change that could intensify these problems.
To help tackle these tragic threats to Africa's human and economic well-being, space-based technologies are being identified.
Nearly a 100 decision-makers and senior experts on disaster-risk management from African countries, Europe, the Middle East and America met July 6-9 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
|The burning area shifts from north to south over the course of the year, in step with the coming and going of Africa's rainy and dry seasons Although fires are a part of the natural cycle of the seasonally dry grasslands and savannas of Africa, ecologists, climatologists, and public health officials still have reasons to be concerned about Africa's intense burning. This series of images shows the seasonal fire patterns in Africa throughout 2005. The images are based on fires detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. NASA images courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center.|
This notable gathering of officials was organized by the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response, known as UN-SPIDER together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) with support of the Government of Austria and in cooperation with Secure World Foundation.
The UN ECA called for more use of space-based technologies in Africa.
Disasters do not discriminate
In addressing the group, Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, space policy consultant for Secure World Foundation (SWF), also actively participated in the four-day meeting titled: "Building upon Regional Space-based Solutions for Disaster Management and Emergency Response for Africa."
This event was held as a regional workshop of the UN-SPIDER.
The workshop focused on involving Africa more actively and promoting access for African countries to the use of space-based applications and solutions targeting disaster-risk management, emergency response, and climate change and health-related issues.
SWF's Lukaszczyk addressed the participants and commented that the Foundation is committed to supporting efforts that lead to sustainable development through the use of space applications.
"Modern societies already benefit from services provided by satellites including telecommunications and navigation," Lukaszczyk said. "It is fact that disasters do not discriminate and do not follow political boundaries among countries. There is need to promote cooperation as a cornerstone to promote development."
The Addis Ababa workshop brought together authorities on disaster-risk management, drawing upon the expertise from space agencies, remote sensing and mapping agencies responsible for providing space-based technologies and solutions for disaster management support.