2 December 2011, Hanoi, Vietnam – The first of a number of national capacity development initiatives to be implemented in South East Asia by UNOSAT took place in Vietnam in December 2011. The initiative is part of the regional cooperation arrangements supported by the government of Norway and set up within the UNOSAT-ADPC partnership created in 2011 to bring to countries in the region access to concrete solutions in geospatial information and satellite imagery analysis for emergency response. The training course being offered in these national programmes is drawn from the popular UNOSAT flagship course on GIS and satellite imagery analysis for emergency response, which is regularly offered in Geneva to a number of national experts worldwide.

In the case of Vietnam, the trainees were 13 experts from various governmental agencies. The course was based on lectures and practical GIS exercises to teach the main aspects of the operational workflow related to satellite based analysis for emergency response mapping. In-country training courses like this one are adjusted by UNOSAT experts to match the reality of each country including practical exercises based on recent disaster events occurred in Vietnam. 

To complement the training course, a workshop was also organized in collaboration with Vietnam and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre. The event provided a time to discuss with senior government officials current gaps in the use of geospatial information technology in decision making processes at national level when confronting disasters.
In opening the workshop Dr. Nguyen Xuan-Lam, Director of the National Remote Sensing Centre, part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, thanked UNOSAT for the practical angle of the training course and particularly the hands-on exercises based on Vietnam reality. He underlined that this approach may offer a solution to the existing shortfall in providing national entities with real access to the benefits of satellite derived geographic information.

As announced by UNOSAT earlier in 2011, the engagement of the Programme in South East Asia rests on a solid partnership within the region with ADPC and increasingly strong ties with countries across the region. As anticipated this engagement is bringing concrete results within the same year of its launch, in keeping with the commitment of UNOSAT to show rapid results in an area offering vital societal benefits to countries very vulnerable to natural hazards. The same formula is being launched in 2012 in other regions of the world.

Positive results in South East ASia were made possible through tangible synergy with ADPC and local governments. Previous training courses in the region included a training-of-trainers course and the celebrated ADPC GIS for disaster management course

UNOSAT in-country training courses have been introduced in 2009 and have been in great demand ever since. In most cases this type of course is part of a national capacity development package that includes in-situ assessments and also direct technical assistance when needed. For more information : unosat@unitar.org

Photos: UNITAR/Dell'Oro