The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) are joining forces to provide more comprehensive satellite imagery to countries in the Asia-Pacific region in order to assist with disaster risk management.

The collaboration is based on a Memorandum of Agreement signed by ESCAP and UNITAR to establish a strategic partnership in the area of geospatial information, GIS and satellite derived imagery analysis and mapping applied to disaster risk reduction (DRR), preparedness, and emergency response.

While there has been an increase in the use of space applications for sustainable development among countries in the Asia-Pacific region, this technology continues to be underutilized due to a lack of capacity in terms of human, scientific, technological and institutional resources.

By taking advantage of ESCAP’s leading role in capacity building for applications of space and geographic information system, as well as the role of UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) as the Centre of Excellence of the United Nations in satellite imagery derived analysis, this partnership will increase the capacities of ESCAP member States to fully realized and analyzed satellite derived information, particularly for developing countries.

Under the agreement, both U.N. agencies will provide access to more effective use of satellite imagery analysis for disaster risk management in the Asia-Pacific Region. ESCAP and UNITAR will focus their joint collaboration efforts on the priority areas of capacity development in space applications and ensuring optimal provision and dissemination of UNOSAT products and services.