27 February 2024, Geneva, Switzerland - In 2023, UNOSAT faced challenges and achieved milestones. Our mapping team was activated for complex emergencies over 107 times in 60 countries worldwide and provided 634 products and services. Across the globe, our emergency mapping service has provided life-saving information to devastated areas affected by conflicts and disasters triggered by natural hazards.

Providing Life-Saving Information Globally

In 2023, we went on leveraging our expertise to address multipolar crises and crosscutting issues in different thematic areas, from defending human rights to safeguarding endangered cultural heritage. The data played a crucial role in assessing exposure to hazards and impact, generating potential flood scenarios for refugee camp planning, evaluating damages to endangered cultural sites in Ukraine, conducting damage assessment analysis in the Gaza Strip, enhancing food security, and more. 

Committed to working hand in hand with our partners from all over the world, we organized dozens of training workshops worldwide. All of them were tailored to their priority needs. They aimed to strengthen the capacity of participants in the use of geospatial information technology to support strategic territorial planning and monitoring at a national level. For example, UNOSAT worked hand in hand with national state agencies, such as GISTDA in Thailand, paving the way for closer collaboration in the use of geospatial information technology for a sustainable world 

Leveraging Expertise for Global Challenges

Due to the invaluable support of our partner NORAD, we continued the implementation of the project titled "Strengthening Capacities in the Use of Geospatial Information for Improved Resilience in Asia-Pacific and Africa." This project is designed to enhance the capabilities of eight national governments in Asia-Pacific and Africa (Bhutan, Bangladesh, Fiji, Lao PDR, Nigeria, Solomon Islands, Uganda, and Vanuatu). Its primary objective is to empower these nations to support evidence-based decision-making utilizing geospatial information.  

This year, we had the pleasure of launching the UNOSAT Knowledge Hub. This platform aims at connecting training alumni with peers, colleagues, and trainers, and hence creates a collaborative community of GIS experts driven by a shared passion for advancing geospatial knowledge and innovation. 

Innovative Initiatives and Technology

Given that digitalization and technology form the core of our expertise, we have introduced several apps to support communities most endangered by global warming. For instance, in Fiji, we introduced the I Tei Qele App, enabling farmers to visualize suitable areas for specific crops, while in Uganda we strengthened local capacity through training on landslide susceptibility mapping, in time for the upcoming tropical cyclone season. 

Moreover, we expanded our three-year collaboration with Wuhan University (WHU) on AI research for remote sensing, with a new cohort of WHU students starting their traineeships at the UNOSAT headquarters in Geneva. 

Everywhere around the world, our in-country experts worked tirelessly to address climate deterioration, and at COP28, UNOSAT participated in workshops and conferences to highlight the need for a more sustainable future.  

Cultural heritage is a cornerstone of identity and a repository of memory and unity which has persistently faced threats since the onset of the war in Ukraine. To enhance the efforts in safeguarding it, UNESCO and UNOSAT have collaboratively delivered in L’viv a capacity-development training programme focusing on the use of satellite imagery and data interpretation for heritage preservation.  

Acknowledging Support and Growth

All these accomplishments stand as a testament to the unwavering support of our dedicated donors and partners. Witnessing our agency's growth from 73 collaborators in 2022 to 84 collaborators in 2023 has been both inspiring and pivotal.  

While the world is shaken by an ever-growing number of dramatic events with increasing frequency, duration, and impact, our goal is to foster resilience and transition from addressing temporary challenges to establishing structural solutions. This ensures our ability to meet increasingly numerous and intense needs. 

As we navigate this critical juncture in our development, the need for increased funding and support becomes even more apparent. Looking ahead to 2024, our commitment remains steadfast. We will persist in our tireless efforts to deliver objective, precise, and valuable information, eager to seize opportunities for expanding our impact.  

Your continued collaboration and support will be instrumental in shaping the success of UNOSAT in the coming year. Together, we can build upon our foundation of achievements and propel our agency to new heights, ensuring a future where accurate and timely information serves as a beacon for positive change. 

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