3 October, Nairobi, Kenya - The capacity development programme being implemented by UNOSAT for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has just entered a new phase oafter the succefful completion of the third round of face-to-face training that took place in Nairobi from 9 to 20 September. The training was hosted in the premises of the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD).

The programme has begun in early 2013, supported by funding from Norway, and has been designed by UNOSAT experts to augment the capacity of IGAD member countries in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). UNOSAT has been active in similar regional projects in South East Asia since 2011 and plans to expand further its involvement in DRR as the demand from member states increases. 

The capacity development plan for IGAD focuses on technical training courses, development of specific hazard databases, and policy awareness for IGAD decision makers.The last of the three training courses delivered to IGAD experts was studied to share with local experts  advanced GIS and RS (remote sensing) workflow methodologies useful to the various parts of IGAD, namely, IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), the IGAD Center for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), IGAD Somalia, IGAD’s Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) and the IGAD Secretariat.

The UNOSAT-IGAD project also provided a convenient ground to strengthen the collaboration with UNISDR. Sharon Rusu, the Head of the Africa Regional Office of UNISDR, gave a lecture on DRR strategies and polices as they pertain to the IGAD region. UNISDR and UNOSAT are to increase their interaction especially after the recent move of the UNOSAT regional coordinator Roshni Dave in her new office within the UNISDR premises.

As pointed out by Luca Dell’Oro of UNOSAT, who was in charge of the training delivery, “this course was not an end in itself but rather the beginning of the next phase where the skills and knowledge you have gained can be used in your day-to-day work at IGAD”. A point of view shared also by participants: ‘We can now confidently say that we can use these technologies in our work’, said Mr. Abdirahman from ICPALD.

Other components of the project that are on-going include regional awareness raising for policy makers and the development of a geo-database and a geo-portal to enable IGAD to share geo-information and contribute towards overall DRR and better preparedness.

During his recent visit to UNOSAT in September , Amb. Mahboub Maalim, the Executive Secretary of IGAD, praised the work of UNOSAT in both capacity development and mapping and underscored the importance of working together on pragmatic approaches to DRR in the region.

Images. From top to bottom: IGAD experts engaged in the face-to-face course in Nairobi. Dell'Oro of UNOSAT delivers the UNITAR training certificates at the end of the two-week course. Ambassador Maalim speaks at the UNOSAT production centre at CERN in September 2013.