United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction – "A Policy Perspective”

Event Organisers: 

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China



China National Space Administration, Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation and Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific



11/09/2019 to 12/09/2019

Registration Deadline: 

Monday, July 15, 2019


The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs is pleased to announce the 9th Annual UN-SPIDER Conference in Beijing United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction – A Policy Perspective”, to be held from 11 to 12 September 2019. This conference will also celebrate 10 years of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) in Beijing, China – the UN-SPIDER Beijing Office.

The occasion will be used for acknowledging the achievements of the countries and efforts of its partners in utilizing space-based and geospatial information in disaster management and emergency response.

Click here to apply to participate in the conference. The registration deadline is 15 July 2019.


The conference is organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China and implemented through the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). It follows eight conferences held since 2011. Previous conferences covered the themes of “Best practices for risk reduction and rapid response mapping” in 2011, “Risk assessment in the context of global climate change” in 2012, “Disaster risk identification, assessment and monitoring” in 2013, “Multi-hazard disaster risk assessment” in 2014, “A consolidating role in the implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” in 2015,  “Understanding disaster risks” in 2016, “Building resilience through integrated application” in 2017 and “Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective emergency response” in 2018. These conferences offered a forum for disaster management communities and experts to strengthen their capabilities in using space-based information to identify, assess, monitor and respond to disaster risks and integrate space technology into long-term disaster risk management efforts.

The conference is organised in collaboration with the China National Space Administration, the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation and the Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific (RCSSTEAP).

Conference objectives

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework) is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action. The target E is focusing on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies and is defined as ‘Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020’. This target is monitored as the number of countries that adopt and implement national DRR strategies in line with the Sendai Framework. ISDR regional platforms, including ISDR Asia Platform, organised special meetings at the regional level to promote target E, which is considered a precursor for achieving other global targets.

To contribute to the target E, the UN-SPIDER has promoted the following concept through its technical advisory missions offered to several countries over a decade:

  • Advanced Earth observation systems provide ‘evidence-based spatial information’
  • Evidence-based spatial information provides an enhanced understanding of the ‘risks’
  • Strategies based on ‘risk information’ lead to factual DRR strategies

Several countries are incorporating the use of space-based information in their revised or new DRR policies and strategies and other countries need to follow this example. The objective of the conference are:

  1. Highlight role space-based technologies in DRR policies: Highlight critical importance of incorporating space-based technologies in DRR policies and strategies;
  2. Demonstrate national DRR policies with the well-defined role of space-based technologies: Present national and local DRR policies and strategies that have integrated space-based technologies in the policy perspective;
  3. Emphasize on policies for involving space-based information into national geospatial infrastructure: Discuss the importance of policies to promote utilizing space-based information for building geospatial infrastructure, including coherence in spatial data generation, sharing, and interoperability etc.; and
  4. Policies to action: Understand how the provision of utilizing space-based information in DRR strategies is implemented and have achieved good effectiveness through experiences sharing among those countries.

Right policy leads to right actions. The conference will ignite thoughts of high-level decision makers to incorporate the use of science and technology-based tools, including space-based tools while achieving the target E of the Sendai Framework.

The conference aims to provide a platform to discuss a policy perspective and share experiences of leaders of various countries, especially bringing in the relevance of the use of space-based and geospatial technologies in full cycle of disaster management. This may include peripheral issues such as data sharing, spatial data infrastructure and institutional coordination needed for achieving the targets of the Sendai Framework. Thus, the conference will contribute to efforts of the Member States and UN-SPIDER to implement the Sendai Framework, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement stemming from the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP21).

Expected outcomes

The conference will build upon the outcomes of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th UN-SPIDER Conferences (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively) in Beijing that elaborate the role of Earth observation in the implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.





The conference is expected to provide thoughts, ideas and help formulate programmes to achieve the following:

  1. Strengthening the policy framework of national disaster management agencies for utilizing space-based information in line with the Sendai Framework;
  2. Provide guidance on incorporating the use of space-based information in national DRR strategies;
  3. Link DRR strategies to the policies related to the geospatial sector such as geospatial policies, remote sensing policies, data sharing policies, NSDI etc.;
  4. Prepare a solid strategic base to contribute to the global frameworks namely, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Paris Agreement stemming from COP21.

The recommendations of the conference will be compiled in the form of the report which will be made available to the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of COPUOS in 2020.

Preliminary Program of the Conference

Day 1


Keynote speeches


Acknowledging the countries working with UN-SPIDER for promoting utilization of space-based information in disaster management

Acknowledging the contribution of the Regional Support Offices (RSOs) and partners of UN-SPIDER

High-level panel

Perception to action - From strategies to action for harnessing the power of space and geospatial technologies in DRR

High-level officials from the Member States will present their views on what led them to incorporate space technologies in DRR strategies and how they implemented these strategies. The session will provide guidance to the countries that are currently revising their DRR strategies.


Plenary sessions

Session 1: Policy perspective – Utilizing Space-based Technologies for successful DRR

The Sendai Framework also recognizes the value of space-based technology and Earth observation in understanding disaster risk and preparedness for effective emergency response. This paves the way for building more resilient societies through effective disaster risk management. This session will focus on the national DRR plans, standing orders, guidelines and other policy measures that lead to incorporating space technology in DRR strategy. This session will also discuss preparation needed to perform rapid response mapping, case studies and success stories and provide guidance on becoming Authorized User of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’.

Breakout sessions:

Three interactive parallel sessions will be organised:

  1. Contributions of Space-based information for Sendai Framework reporting;
  2. Opportunities for institutional strengthening and capacity building from the policy perspective;
  3. Guidelines for utilization of Earth observation during emergency response.

Day 2

Session 2: Policies on using space-based technologies as a supporting instrument to achieve targets of the Sendai Framework

Earth observation from space is an important tool to assess risks, damages, and losses during disasters and helps in efforts build back better. However, the benefits of these technologies cannot be reaped without having geospatial policies in place. Geospatial policies are needed as a supporting instrument to DRR strategies. This session will carve out the role played by DRR agencies in triggering national geospatial policies such as one map policy or NSDI which have led in the utilizing satellite Earth observation-based inputs in DRR.

Session 3: Advances in Earth observation and open source data to support DRR

Space technology is advancing at a great pace and the types and quantity of data gathered are increasing dramatically. Much of the space-based information is accessible through open source portals which offer great potential to integrate geospatial data with in-situ data, which is an effective way for better utilization of the Earth observation data for DRR. This session will focus on the latest trends, applications, research, and development in integrating satellite-based observations with in-situ information. This session will encourage a dialogue between experts and the disaster managers to understand the requirements of the national disaster management programmes related to understanding disaster risks and better preparedness for emergency response.

Session 4: Networking and engagement with the UN-SPIDER network

With the support of the Member States, Regional Support Offices and other partners, UN-SPIDER has built a wide network of governmental agencies, international/regional agencies, NGOs, scientific societies and private companies. As a part of technical advisory support services of UN-SPIDER, several technical advisory missions, capacity building programmes, and outreach activities have been carried out in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Latin America. This session will provide an insight into the activities supported by UN-SPIDER in partnership with national disaster management agencies and discuss the ways and means of making these activities more effective and relevant to the needs of Member States. This session will aim at encouraging the engagement of the Member States and partner organisations with UN-SPIDER.


Financial support to participants

Due to funding constraints, the organisers will be able to offer support to only a limited number of participants from the Member States and organisations engaged in developing or intend to develop a partnership with UN-SPIDER. The support will defray the cost of travel (round-trip ticket – most economic fare – between the airport of international departure in their country of residence and Beijing) and/or room and board expenses during the duration of the event.

Training programme (5 - 10 September 2019)

Prior to the conference, a training programme “Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Assessment”, co-organised with the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation, the National Disaster Reduction Centre of China and the Beihang University, will be offered to 25 conference participants. Interested participants for this training programme can select the respective option in the application form.

Point of contact

Technical matters: Ms. TANG Tong (tong.tang(at)un.org, Tel: +86 10 5281 1372)

Logistics: Ms. GAO Yuan (yuan.gao(at)un.org, Tel: +86 10 5281 1371)

If necessary, you can cc your Email to Mr. Shirish RAVAN (shirish.ravan(at)un.org)

Target Audience: 

Disaster managers, policy makers, providers of space technology solutions/tools/applications from governments, academia, research, NGO and corporate sector.


Grand Gongda Hotel

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