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.

During the workshop, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced its decision to adopt the HumaNav solution. The news has special significance also because WEF is using the service to optimize their fleet operations during the very large food delivery programme in Sudan. Recently, the HumaNav consortium won the international tender launched by WFP to identify the solution that will equip its entire fleet. Lionel Marre, IT Officer at WFP explained at the workshop that the objective is to put in place multi-functional vehicle tracking, data transfer, and a communication system using the HumaNav solution.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) had adopted the HumaNav solution already in 2012, but in early 2013 the solution has become part of the UNHCR Global Fleet Management project. The Refugee Agency expects to continue equipping all UNHCR vehicles with HumaNav. Svante Yngrot, Senior Field Safety Advisor at UNHCR in Kenya, took the opportunity to show workshop participants how the HumaNav system is used to address daily security challenges and operations in Kenya.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is also an early user of the HumaNav system and Dario Moro, Fleet Manager at ICRC Geneva, explained how on-board messaging is currently analysed by the organization to become the future communication tool for their vehicle fleet.

Erkin Iliaz, Transport Officer at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Kosovo, showed how the organization uses GPRS based tracking system as a fleet management tool for the monitoring of driver behaviour and to manage the movement of vehicles and staff with the objective of improving the vehicles’ operational costs and security.

Jérôme Piat of NOVACOM Services presented the recent developments in HumaNav products and services, including a new driver identification system and newly designed driver behaviour reports. Novel applications in satellite based voice communications and new messaging terminals are demonstrations that better solutions are being made available to humanitarian users. Laurent Besombes, Product Marketing Manager at NOVACOM Services, talked about future developments that should enrich HumaNav even further in 2013 and 2014.

HumaNav has been endorsed by the UN Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications, yet it was originally though as a support tool for the wider international humanitarian community, not only UN agencies and programmes. The solution is in fact increasingly popular with NGOs. The latest users include the two largest aid organisations in Germany: Welthungerhilfe and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ).

UNOSAT and NOVACOM Services are already planning for the next opportunity to bring together the HumaNav community.

Images: from above, Svante Ingrot, UNHCR, discussing the complex security environment in Kenya; Dario Moro of the International Committee of the Red Cross; a field vehicle equipped with the Humanav solution.