UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme - UNOSAT


UNOSAT is a technology-intensive programme delivering satellite imagery analysis, aerial photos and related solutions to relief and development organisations within and outside the UN system to help make a difference in critical areas such as humanitarian relief, human security, early recovery, strategic territorial and development planning. UNOSAT develops applied research solutions keeping in sight the needs of the beneficiaries at the end of the process. Our goal is to make satellite solutions and geographic information easily accessible to the UN family and to experts worldwide who work at reducing the impact of crises and disasters and help nations plan for sustainable development. The UNOSAT core team consists of satellite imagery analysts and GIS experts supported by IT and database engineers as well as UN field workers and expert trainers. This unique combination gives us the ability to understand the needs of our users and to provide them with suitable, tailored solutions anywhere at any time. UNOSAT created an extended network of public and private partners, and collaborates with the majority of UN agencies, space agencies and several international initiatives active in satellite technology geospatial information. Our strategic partnership with CERN, where UNOSAT production centre is located, gives the Programme edge computing capability and virtually unlimited storage capacity.

How does UNOSAT support Early Recovery?

Geographic Information Systems and satellite imagery are a unique combination to support Early Recovery. By collecting data and doing image analysis during the emergency phase, then store this in GIS databases, UNOSAT is able to bridge the information gap when going from relief to development. This gap is filled in the Early Recovery phase. Priority areas for early recovery activities are selected from an evidence based approach using the stored data and information from the emergency phase Then further monitoring can take place to follow recovery programmes and activities in their early stages to ensure progress and contribute to coordinating implementation. Through these means, Early Recovery can be included from the very onset following an event as GIS data, maps and reports become available within days following a disaster. Early Recovery planning can therefore start early on and thus ensure a faster and more relevant effort as it is based on accurate information derived from objective sources.

UNDP and UNOSAT join forces to leverage the power of satellite imagery analysis in support of crisis management

Geneva – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Operational Satellite Application Programme (UNOSAT) of the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) will strengthen collaboration for the integration of geospatial technology in support of emergency and crisis response after signing a new set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) earlier today.

UNOSAT and UNDP will cooperate in the areas of early warning and preparedness, risk assessments and recovery planning at country level. UNOSAT will serve as privileged point of contact in the UN system to ensure UNDP has a streamlined access to satellite-based analyses, and also to special assessments from UNOSAT, including support towards the Global Cluster for Early Recovery, development of Post-Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNA), and Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments (RBPA). Deployment of UNOSAT expertise in the field and access to UNOSAT training and capacity development courses and tools are also covered under these SOPs.“Following the positive piloting of our collaboration, the SOPs will improve UNDP’s operational capacity to use satellite mapping analysis and become more effective in all phases of the crisis cycle” said Bruno Lemarquis UNDP Crisis Response Unit Director a.i. “The poorest and most vulnerable are disproportionately affected by crises, the SOPs will ensure that our UNOSAT expertise reaches all UNDP country offices, furthering our efforts in reaching the furthest first and leaving no one behind”, said UNITAR Executive Director Nikhil Seth.

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