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Erklärung zu „Disaster Management“ anlässlich der 56. Sitzung des wissenschaftlich-technischen Unterausschusses des VN-Weltraumausschusses (COPUOS)


56th Session, Vienna, 11 February – 22 February 2019 - Germany                         

Item 8: Disaster management support

Madam Chair,

Distinguished Delegates,

Both disaster risk reduction and combatting climate change and its effects are integral parts of social and economic development, and are essential if development is to be sustainable in the future.

Let us be clear: As climate change continues, it will likely lead to more frequent and severe natural disasters.

Germany conducts a range of scientific and operational activities in the field of Earth observation that serve the purposes of disaster management and humanitarian relief support. Let me highlight some of the most recent developments in this field:

On a national level, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources manages a national ground motion service based on European Sentinel-1 radar images. This service monitors subsidence processes and other ground movements, which create a risk to buildings and infrastructure. As a next step, a European Copernicus ground motion service will soon be implemented.

Moreover, DLR has contributed to the work of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ in all areas. In a shared effort with EUMETSAT, DLR took the rotating Charter lead function for six months between April and October of 2018. In that period, DLR monitored the operational Charter activities and led the management of Charter activations. It also provided the project management for two activations covering the response to Mount Fuego’s eruption in Guatemala in June 2018, and after catastrophic flood events in Iraq in November 2018. DLR’s Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) supported satellite image analysis during three Charter activations.

In the course of 2018 DLR provided more than 80 TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X radar satellite images as well as numerous RapidEye image tiles to the operations of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters.

We have learned from experience that space-based emergency mapping can be achieved more effectively with the help of international collaboration. That is why Germany clearly commits itself to a multilateral approach in disaster and climate change management.

In the same spirit, the German government renewed its commitment to the UN-SPIDER program and its office in Bonn. A new 5-year plan supported by DLR will open a new chapter for the Bonn Office to work with the University of Bonn and with other partners in advancing the use of space technologies in disaster management, with a focus on drought and floods. In this context, UN-SPIDER brought together 45 experts for a one-day international expert meeting last year, supported by DLR and the University of Bonn, to discuss the increased use of big data approaches and satellite technologies in African countries to respond to challenges posed by natural hazards.

Finally, DLR is also an active member of the Working Group Disasters of the international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). Contributing to the „Geohazard Supersites and Natural Laboratories“, we support the joint efforts of space agencies and scientists for the monitoring of volcanic, seismic and landslide risks with TerraSAR-X data.

Madam Chair, distinguished Delegates,

thank you for your kind attention.

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