08 October 2013, Geneva, Switzerland - Established at United Nations Headquarters in early 2013, the UN Operations and Crisis Centre (UNOCC) produces daily integrated operational reports and briefings, issues alerts in case of major incidents and events, and provide 24/7 telephone connection services to senior leaders. At the heart of the Centre is a joint Watch Room that works 24/7 and ingests data and information from an array of public and UN sources, including UNOSAT.

After initial testing, UNOSAT satellite derived analysis is now fed regularly to UNOCC via a system of focal points linking UNOCC in New York and the UNOSAT production centre based at CERN in Geneva. In a number of instances the analysis is used by UNOCC as a source of information or visualisation for inclusion in UNOCC briefing.
“It is a good example of synergy and collaboration between UN capacities: we share with UNOCC all the relevant analysis we do, even when it was originally intended for other scopes. We do this so that the information can benefit other parts of the system and improve the way the UN is appraised of any situation of importance to the organization and its member states”.

In 2012 UNOSAT conducted a study comparing the tasks of UNOCC with UNOSAT workflow and strengths. Based on the results, UNOSAT and UNOCC discussed the terms and scope of their collaboration. One UNOSAT expert was then sent to New York to verify the technical requirements and interact with UNOCC analysts in charge of the work in the Watch Room.

UNOSAT management is seeking additional donor funding to be able to provide more support to UNOCC. According to Bjorgo: “there is a lot of what we do for the humanitarians or in the area of human rights that we can share with UNOCC, but if we want to set up a more reliable service for our colleagues at UNOCC we need more resources”.

Images: Top the Secretary-General inaugurates UNOCC in February 2013 (UN Photo). Bottom: UNOSAT high resolution imagery analysis can be a timely source of meaningful inforamtion during crises.