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Asia-Pacific Countries Adopt Plan of Action on Space Technology for DRR and Sustainable Development

20 December 2012: Asia-Pacific countries have adopted a five-year regional plan of action for cooperation and capacity building in the use of space technology for disaster risk management and sustainable development. 

Countries adopted the plan at the close of an intergovernmental meeting on "Asia-Pacific Years of Action for Applications of Space Technology and the Geographic Information System for Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development 2012-2017," organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Thai Government agency for Geo-informatics and Space Technology Development (GISTDA), which was held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 18-20 December 2012.

The plan, which covers a five-year period, calls on ESCAP to harmonize existing regional initiatives and build capacity, especially in developing countries facing high risk and capacity challenges; strengthen its existing Regional Space Applications Programme (RESAP); put in place a drought early warning system through RESAP; and act as a clearing house for good practices and lessons learned. It also calls for a Ministerial Conference on Space and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Applications for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in 2015.

In her opening remarks, ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer highlighted the increased affordability and potential of space applications to create a virtuous cycle of economic and social benefits, thus bringing the region closer to a sustainable future. Several countries at the meeting offered to share satellite data, space products and services.

Also addressing the meeting, Mohamed Ahmed, State Minister for Defense and National Security Service and Chief Coordinator of National Disaster Management Centre of Maldives, described national efforts on disaster risk reduction (DRR) through the a development model that integrates DRR and climate change adaption at all levels of government planning and operations.

The intergovernmental meeting was preceded by the 16th Session of the Intergovernmental Consultative Committee (ICC) on RESAP on 17-18 December, which initially reviewed the plan of action. [ESCAP Press Release] [ESCAP Executive Secretary's Opening Remarks] [Meeting Website]