Southern Africa is exposed to hydrometeorological, geological, coastal and biological hazards. The region has been hard hit by droughts in recent years. Tropical cyclone Idai triggered massive floods in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe in March 2019, and in 2020 several countries experience a severe locust outbreak. And unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to impact all countries in this region.
To continue efforts to promote the use of space technologies in disaster risk management, emergency response and recovery efforts, UN-SPIDER and the Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces of the University of Bonn (ZFL) joined forces to organize the UN-SPIDER / ZFL Regional Virtual Expert Meeting for Southern Africa "Space-based Solutions for Disaster Risk Management and Emergency Response" from 13 to 15 July 2021. This regional expert meeting contributed to the efforts conducted by UN-SPIDER on disaster risk reduction, preparedness, early warning systems, disaster response, and recovery efforts. The regional expert meeting was used:
- To raise awareness regarding novel applications of satellite technologies in risk assessment, early warning systems, and disaster response operations.
- To take stock of efforts carried out by risk and disaster management institutions in Southern African countries on the use of space technologies and space-based information in disaster risk management, preparedness, response and recovery efforts.
- And to explore ways to enhance the use space technologies in disaster risk management and response and recovery applications in Southern Africa.
The virtual regional expert meeting brought together participants from Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe; as well as experts from disaster management institutions, space agencies, regional and international organizations, and UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices. The virtual event provided continuity to the efforts conducted by UN-SPIDER and its partners in Southern Africa and will allow UN-SPIDER, ZFL and the space community to provide subsequent advisory support to national disaster management agencies and other institutions in countries in this region of Africa.