Tuesday, September 23, 2008

UN-SPIDER Workshop in Fiji – A Report

Last week about 50 participants from the Asia and Pacific region including UN agencies met in Suva for the UN-SPIDER workshop funded by the Government of Austria.

The idea of a separate UN network on top of existing networks was not taken onboard by the participants however, they did agree to building upon existing Pacific GIS&RS and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) networks such as GIS-PacNET, GIS&RS Newsletter, PICISOC website, Pacific Disaster Net (PDN) and the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network (PDRMPN).

UNOOSA, UN-SPIDER and UNESCAP were informed about the role of organisations in the Pacific such as SOPAC, USP, SPC and PDC as well as some of the special conditions of Pacific Islands regarding GIS&RS.

Participants agreed that a regional inventory of GIS&RS data and capacity needed to be carried out to identify areas/gaps to be addressed.

Free spatial information through UN channels (CARTER) seems to be administratively complicated and unsuitable for immediate disaster response. Possible avenues whereby funds could be placed within an appropriate regional agency was discussed though nothing concrete established.The personal and professional network between SOPAC, PDC, SPC and USP was visible for the UN agencies and the PIC participants.

The meeting ended up being a fruitful interchange between GIS&RS techies and disaster managers as well as identifying areas for potential collaboration with agencies working in GIS&RS and DRM.



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