28 November 2013, Bangkok, Thailand - Both the Permanent Representative of the Philippines, Ambassador Ms. Jocelyn Batoon-Garcia, and Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, recognized the importance of satellite imagery analysis and thanked UNOSAT for its work in support of response to typhoon Haiyan at the opening of the Third Session of the Committee on Disaster Reduction.
ESCAP played host to a week long series of meetings on disaster risk reduction and space applications starting on 26 November. The Committee on Disaster Reduction brings together over 25 countries and a number of international and UN organisations, including OCHA, UNISDR, UN-HABITAT, WFP, FAO and the UN Office for the Peaceful Use of Outer Space and its UN-SPIDER Programme.
The emphasis of the three day meeting, building a more resilient Asia-Pacific, was in tune with the preparatory process for the upcoming World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be hosted by Japan in March 2015. In its statement UNITAR underlined its recent partnership with UNISDR to provide support to delegations with specific technical briefings during the preparatory process. UNITAR also stressed its engagement in the Asia Pacific Plan of Action for Applications of Space Technology and GIS for Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development, and its strong partnership with ESCAP and its Information Communications Technology and Disaster Reduction Division.
During the conference, UNITAR took part in the high level panel on "regional cooperation on applications of space technology and GIS for disaster risk reduction". Speaking at the Panel, UNITAR Director of Research Francesco Pisano said that recent successes by the UN in harnessing technology in a spirit of collaboration showed a new face of the UN commitment to serve member states. “Technology is often a good enabler of collaboration and can promote a positive spirit of complementarity instead of a wasteful competition between mandates. I think these successes show one of the emergins features of the UN of the future”. Pisano said that the cooperation pillar built by UNITAR and ESCAP through the years had created a new space for extended collaboration with other agencies in the region such as OCHA, UNISDR and UN-SPIDER and listed a few recent initiatives to develop capacity in several countries of the region.
UNOSAT, which has recently established a presence in Bangkok to follow its project activities in the region and reinforce its collaboration with ESCAP, was also a key participant in the High Level Decision Makers Meeting on the implementation of the Asia-Pacific Plan of Action and in other events during the week dedicated to disaster risk reduction.
The speech of the Executive Secretary of ESCAP.