Space technology can help to reduce challenges

18 Aug 2016 09:40am
WINDHOEK, 18 AUG (NAMPA) – Space technology and space-based observation are not the solutions for all environmental problems the world is facing, but it could contribute towards reducing the challenges.
Senior expert at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Joachim Post made this remark in a presentation on the use of space-based observation in developing countries to reduce drought risk and impacts at the African Drought Conference here on Tuesday.
He said such systems are important for monitoring and recognising warning signs before a natural disaster.
“Space-based information is relevant for risk assessment and early warning for drought hazard monitoring and assessment; drought exposure and vulnerability; crop classification; crop yield estimation; as well as early warning to monitor what triggers drought and monitoring drought hazards.”
The mission of his UN office is to ensure that all countries have access to, and develops the capacity to use all types of space-based information to support a comprehensive disaster management cycle of preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.
Post suggested that drought monitoring using the Standard Vegetation Index (SVI) is an important component in early warning systems. This practice shows how to monitor the impacts of meteorological drought on natural vegetation using the moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) optical satellite imagery.
The purpose of this recommended practice is to monitor impacts of meteorological drought on natural vegetation such as rain-fed rangelands and forests.
Post said his office aims at facilitating the use of the space-based technologies.
“The approach of our office is the facilitation of synergistic uses of space-based applications and information to contribute to the 2030 Development Agenda as well as the incorporation of scientific and technological knowledge into uses, especially in developing countries. It is also aimed at the continuation of enabling access to space-based data and information; building capacities in value-adding methods; and advising on implementation on the national level.”
Speaking at the same occasion, Abou Amani from the Hydrological Systems and Water Scarcity Section of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) noted that natural hazards cannot be stopped but can decrease vulnerability and increase the capacity to cope.
His presentation, titled ‘A drought and flood monitoring and forecasting systems for sub-Saharan Africa’, suggested that networks for global networking and knowledge sharing between international entities “could improve understanding of hydrological systems, water management needs in arid areas, river basins, and surveys of drought management and flood hazards.”