UNOSAT is partnering with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to build capacity in the use of geospatial technologies to address Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the East African region. The project‘s main objectives are to:
- Strengthen technical knowledge and skills in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) technologies for DRR to enhance planning, emergency preparedness, and prevention across the region;
- Raise awareness on geospatial technologies for DRR and how to use this information for coordination, dissemination and decision making in the region;
- Improve service delivery and data delivery of IGAD and its partners, by developing an accessible, open source geo-portal.
Since the initiation of this project in January 2013, three successful trainings on the use of geo-information technology have already been held with beneficiaries from the IGAD Secretariat, IGAD’s Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN), IGAD’s Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), and other IGAD actors. The trainings were hosted by the Regional Center for Mapping and Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Nairobi, Kenya.
This initiative is one of the first in UNOSAT’s new strategic approach to GEODRR (GIS and Earth Observation for Disaster Risk Reduction).
H.E. Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub M. Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary interview on the collaboration between IGAD and UNOSAT: click here to watch video
UNOSAT: What are the reasons that brought IGAD to want to develop its expertise in GIS and Remote Sensing?
H.E Amb. (Eng.) Maalim: IGAD is a regional organisation that is charged overally on the issue of development. Being a development agency with a regional mandate our role is to develop various capacities that can be used constructively in the development agenda. Climate Prediction is one aspect of development tools that requires to be updated, understood and be turned into policy level decision making. Because of our Climate Center, IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC), we thought we required extra capacity to improve what we are already doing for our policy making and problematic decisions.
UNOSAT: From IGAD’s Perspective, what are the major objectives of the collaboration with UNOSAT?
H.E Amb. (Eng.) Maalim: IGAD is supposed to service its member states. Like any other regional organization, we will not be seen to be delivering to our membership if we do not bring in issues of value addition. We have to have something that we offer as a regional organization that then all membership can see it clearly that we are bringing in additional capacity and additional value.
The question of looking for partnerships with the UN systems particularly yourselves is part of that general partnership programme that then gives us the opportunity to be able to deliver better service to our membership. Within the capacities that we develop through the support of ADEA, this would translate into a pool of experts at the regional level who then can pass all that expertise to the member states and eventually the member states benefit and the region benefits overally and we think this is one of the collaboration agencies in the UN System and we have to expand partnerships to gain more.
UNOSAT: What are your impressions of the collaboration with UNOSAT so far?
H.E Amb. (Eng.) Maalim: The Disaster Risk Reduction Community of IGAD all realise there are four major areas of emphasis that require to have extra capacity built and one of those areas is information. It’s a whole broad area of deficiency. Therefore, they all welcome the fact that we are able now to do more on information. Issues has been appropriately that so the information collection systems organization, the capacity that exists, the sensitization of the information was eventually if the Disaster Risk Reduction Community information is doubtful then it is a nonstarter, it is a zero game. Nobody would move an inch unless the information upon which certain actions and requirements is based is credible and acceptable to everybody, nobody is going to give you a lending hand. This is the gap we are trying to fill through the support by UNOSAT.