AAAS meetingWashington DC, 20 February 2011 – The Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) hosted a session on “Joining Forces in Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction” dedicated to the partnership model launched by UNOSAT, the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).

The aim of the partnership is to mobilise edge technology in geospatial analysis and mapping to complement efficiently, rapidly and economically the capacity of countries stricken by major disasters and other crises.

The partnership served as a technology platform to perform the first ever integrated damage assessment based on remote sensing analysis after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The success story had been showcased in 2010 at the Global Summit on the Millennium Development Goals. The partnership, whose idea is to use the power of technology as an enabler of action, intervened in the damage assessment process after the earthquake in Haiti, generating the most accurate and vast damage assessment made so far using satellite and air-borne imagery analysis combined. The partnership did not limit itself to its three founders: it extended to the private sector and to the national authorities in charge of geospatial information, giving rise to a collaborative approach which was also a first.

To turn this first success into a standardised approach, UNOSAT, JRC and GFDRR elaborated a set of Standard Operating Procedures firming up a workable collaborative environment for future post-disaster needs assessment missions named CoSA. CoSA is intended to enable various crowd sourcing and social network based efforts to be included in a more structured process involving primary national actors in countries affected by disasters as well as scientific and professional efforts carried out by JRC and UNOSAT so that standards and validation procedures can be kept in place. The result is better and faster assessments.

The initiative follows in the footsteps of the overarching political agreement linking the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Commission in the area of Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), an area where the United Nations work under the coordination of UNDP.

Founded in 1848, AAAS serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. “Triple A-S" (AAAS), is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide.