05 Dec 2019

UNEP-DHI is managing disasters from space

UNEP-DHI Centre presents a global Drought Monitoring and Early Warning system at specialist UN conference focussing on the use of space technologies to meet the challenges posed by floods, droughts and other disasters across Africa.

UNEP-DHI Centre portal displaying a map of a rainfall-based drought index for Ethiopia

On 6-8 November 2019 in Bonn, Germany, UNEP-DHI Centre took part in the UN-SPIDER Bonn International Conference. At the event, UNEP-DHI presented the global Drought Monitoring and Early Warning system developed in close collaboration with DHI. 

Solving drought issues is a complex global challenge that requires a well-thought-out plan and solution. By utilising the drought monitoring tool, decision makers can carefully monitor the development of a drought through numerous stages and gain insights into how the drought develops over time in order to act accordingly. The portal provides users with data for flood and drought assessment in near real-time for accurate and effective decision-making. 

'In many cases, a drought is already well under way when it is first discovered, making it very difficult to foresee when the drought starts or ends. Early detections of these changes are important for planning efficient actions to prepare for drought and mitigate its impacts. Having access to accurate data that indicates the impact of the drought is therefore vital. By using the Drought Monitoring and Early Warning tool, decision makers are always one step ahead', explains Bertrand Richaud, Water Resources Expert at DHI.

The Drought Monitoring and Early Warning tool is a key part of the recently launched United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Drought Toolbox. During the conference, participants were offered the opportunity to explore a wide range of GIS solutions in depth. In a hands-on session, the participants were able to try the different web-based tools and apply them to their own countries and drought challenges. 

Overall, the conference brought together space agencies, national disaster management agencies, but also international, regional and non-governmental organisations as well as academia and the private sector to discuss how space-based information can support flood and drought disaster risk reduction, prevention and response on the African continent. 

For further information, contact:
Oluf Zeilund Jessen
Head of Department
Water Resources Department

Bertrand Richaud
Water Resources Expert