UN Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev agree to establish Regional Support Office in Israel for UN-SPIDER

VIENNA, 12 October  (United Nations Information Service) — The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a Regional Support Office (RSO) of UNOOSA’s programme ‘United Nations Platform for Space-Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER)’.

UN-SPIDER RSOs are regional or national centres of expertise that collaborate with UN-SPIDER on its technical advisory support, capacity building and outreach to leverage space for disaster risk reduction in their region or country. The network allows UN-SPIDER to take advantage of the significant experience and capabilities offered by Member States to promote the use of space tools for disaster risk reduction all over the world.

The new RSO will be located in the Earth and Planetary Image Facility (EPIF) of the Ben-Gurion University. EPIF is responsible for scientific research on advancing satellite and airborne remote sensing applications for a variety of uses, including environmental. Its addition brings the number of UN-SPIDER RSOs to 25 and adds precious expertise on satellite technology to the network.

Through the MoU, UNOOSA and EPIF will work together in areas including emergency response management, capacity-building on space-based technologies for disaster management and the dissemination of methods and results from Earth observation.

UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said: “I am delighted to see the UN-SPIDER’s network of RSOs continuously growing, adding diverse, top-class expertise to its resources and allowing the sharing of knowledge on a global scale. Through the RSOs, our work to help countries leverage space tools to counteract disasters is scaled up to improve the lives of more people worldwide.”

Professor Dan G. Blumberg, Vice-President of Ben-Gurion University for regional and industrial development, said: “This is an exciting moment where we will be making our long-term research scientific knowledge available to support relief efforts when needed.  Our ability to observe Earth from Space and rapidly analyse complex imagery is being put to good use worldwide, mitigating disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, drought and others. We wish our university and UNOOSA a fruitful collaboration on capacity building and training in this very important field”.

* *** *

For more information, please contact:

Ottavia Pesce
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Telephone: (+43 699) 1459 8718
Email: pesce[at]un.org

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