08 February 2018, Geneva, Switzerland – Britain´s Science Minister Sam Gyimah today announced the launch of 10 new projects to improve disaster response and tropical disease control using space-based technologies.
The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) uses space expertise to deliver innovative solutions to real world problems across the globe. This notably helps some of the world’s poorest countries combat the effects of climate change by developing mitigation and adaptation strategies, thus moving them steps closer to hitting Sustainable Development Goal 13´s targets and securing a more sustainable future.
UNOSAT is honoured to be leading the partners selected to implement the CommonSensing project which aims to improve resilience to the effects of climate change in three Commonwealth of Nations Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. We will work hand in hand with the governments concerned as well as partners including Satellite Applications Catapult, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Devex, Radiant.Earth, University of Portsmouth, the UK Met Office and Sensonomic to contribute to sustainable development and disaster risk reduction for these small island nations that are particularly exposed to climate change.
Nikhil Seth, UNITAR´s Executive Director, had this to say about the project:
"[We are] proud to team up with UK partners and the Commonwealth Secretariat with support from the UK Space Agency to work towards SDGs using satellite technologies in Pacific SIDS".
CommonSensing will leverage earth observation data to provide stakeholders with access to vital information regarding disaster and climate risks to inform planning, food security needs and environmental assessments. This information will be readily available to beneficiaries through a web portal and mobile applications.
UNITAR-UNOSAT also aims to contribute to the development of national and regional technical capacity to inform policy and secure sustainable funding after the end of the project. CommonSensing will create long-term investment loops, define priorities for future proposals to climate funds and deliver a durable service platform that will run for at least three years after the project end date. CommonSensing has a total budget of GBP 9.6 million and will last for three years.
Photos 1 and 2: Aerial views of Marovo Lagoon in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Flying over in 2011, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was able to observe the effects of climate change, deforestation and natural disasters. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.