The many governments that are investing in the space infrastructure of EO satellites are convinced as to the potential of their application to DRR. These same governments are reducing the barriers to access and application of satellite EO in response to a range of other hazard types - through mechanisms like the International Charter, Sentinel-Asia, and Copernicus. Seeking to extend similar benefits to all phases of disasters and to all kinds of hazards, CEOS has committed to addressing a number of challenges associated with application of satellite EO to the HFA objectives:
– Institutional and technical solutions are needed to facilitate access to, and application of, satellite EO at the necessary levels and by the relevant institutions, including international bodies with development responsibilities such as the World Bank, recognised national agencies, down to local government; uptake by DRR agencies requires demonstration of the value provided and a commitment to sustained, free, and open data that will be available on demand, as and when needed;
– Exemplified by the universal uptake and application of weather satellite data, the application of space-based risk assessment techniques for different hazards will require investment in suitable information systems and skills if the data are to be applied in local environments;
– Data alone cannot meet the needs of the DRR community; data must be integrated into tools specifically adapted to user needs for information: to map hazards, evaluate asset exposure, and model vulnerability. This is a challenging task given the wide range of hazards and geographies to be considered on a global basis;
– A substantial EO satellite capability, including radar, optical, and high-resolution imaging satellites, already exists in space or is planned. The collective capability offers frequent revisit and wide-area synoptic coverage. Conversion of this staggering and diverse array of data into information of high value to the DRR community requires continuous study and research.
Noting these challenges and recognising the considerable successes in the use of satellite EO for DRR, CEOS would like to communicate four key messages to the distinguished delegates of the WCDRR:
1. Satellite EO data complement other data sources but provide unique information. Countries have made significant investments in the space-based infrastructure of EO satellites. And space agencies have resolved to extract the maximum value from this infrastructure in support of the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
2. CEOS is dedicated to supporting the availability of satellite data for DRR purposes and its transformation into higher-level information that can be readily applied by end users. Technology alone does not result in reduced damage and losses, but its use facilitates better quality decisions that can bring this about. Ensuring free and open access to a range of satellite data for DRR purposes is one of the CEOS goals in coming years.
3. Satellite data contributes on all scales, from global, through regional, to local issues. Development banks, UN agencies, government agencies, NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, scientific institutions, and the private sector all have a role to play in DRR and all should be engaged in realisation of the benefits of the data.
4. Space agencies seek cooperation with major stakeholders to identify the information needs of users addressing top priorities of the post- 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction and to establish a plan for a sustained and coordinated response to fulfil those needs. This will require long-term commitments from space agencies, from all relevant EO data providers, and from the practitioners who support the transformation of the observations into understandable and directly usable information that can be combined with other data sources (airborne, in-situ, model outputs, socioeconomic) as needed in support of decision-making. CEOS is committed to the necessary cooperation, including ongoing engagement of the end- user community to ensure proper specification of their needs and results that are fit for purpose.
Risk information produced from Sentinel-1 radar data
A number of indicators have been proposed to help determine whether the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction is achieving its objectives of reducing disaster risk; consistent and comparable information sources will be needed if we are to compile meaningful results on different scales, including from country to country. In combination with other data sources, and with the aid of tools to combine and interpret the data, satellite EO can provide unique capabilities that might fundamentally transform the way in which the post-2015 framework is implemented and its success measured. This provides the possibility of monitoring changes in exposure to risk and providing evidence as the basis and impetus for change in policies or emphasis of the DRR community and of governments. Only satellite EO offers uniform, comprehensive global monitoring to compare risk evolution in one country to that of another and to make the connections with the datasets and indicators related to climate change. More than half of the 40+ Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) recognised as required for climate monitoring are largely or exclusively dependent on satellite EO data sources.
Satellite EO services for DRR already exist that serve users and have successfully demonstrated the cost-benefit of providing risk assessment based on the data. Additional R&D is required for some of the geo-information needs of DRR users. For other needs, such as in areas identified by the CEOS thematic pilots, the products are mature, precise, and documented. Awareness of these successes and capabilities remains a challenge. Connections between the various arms of governments (from specialised technical space agencies through to national emergency management agencies) must be established and matured and awareness must be improved of the capability of this powerful infrastructure in space for our most urgent of Earth-bound challenges in relation to DRR.
Part II of this document presents a number of examples of the practical application of satellite EO to the DRR domain. A range of hazards and data types are included. Part III explains in simple terms the relevance to each phase of DRR of the different types of data.
The space agencies represented by CEOS undertake the following commitments in support of the post-2015 framework:
Development of a multi-year plan for CEOS corresponding to the post-2015 framework timeframe, providing comprehensive support and coordination in relation to the role of satellite EO for the framework. Developed in partnership with the major stakeholders including UN organizations, GEO, international relief agencies, leading development banks, national civil protection agencies, and local authorities.
Support to the post-2015 framework at global and regional/local scales. In line with the Decadal Plan and in cooperation with the relevant user communities, CEOS agencies are implementing pilot demonstrators during 2014–2017 to demonstrate how satellite data and derived information can be useful to the full cycle of DRM. The long- term vision is to transition to the sustained provision of data and services.