Sharing space‐based information: procedural guidelines for disaster emergency response in ASEAN countries

Working paper1 Jul 2016

This reference manual provides procedural guidelines for disaster managers who wish to familiarize themselves with sharing space-based information during emergency response. While satellite-derived and geospatial information is often used for increasing situational awareness in the aftermath of disasters, many disaster managers are unfamiliar with the systematic approach necessary for properly utilising such innovative technologies. There is a lack of standard processes and procedures across many agencies, making it difficult to coordinate national agency activities and to facilitate regional cooperation and support during emergencies. Free satellite-data for emergency response is increasingly becoming available and accessible, but end-users are often unaware of such global and regional initiatives. Furthermore, the procedures for requesting space-based information from the growing number of data providers can vary, with no consolidated set of instructions, as there are multiple platforms for sharing information at national, regional and international levels, which can often create confusion.

ESCAP, in collaboration with United Nations partners, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management, space agencies and national disaster management authorities in ASEAN countries, has compiled this set of procedural guidelines to provide structure to and define processes for accessing and sharing space-based information during emergency response. The guidelines have been developed in close collaboration with operational staff and are based on the best practices in the region, through extensive consultations and identification of operational needs during a series of workshops held over the course of 2015 and 2016. They have been field tested in various settings with some countries adopting these guidelines as standard practice and many others expressing their desire to adopt similar practices.

The guidelines form a series of knowledge products developed in collaboration with ASEAN institutions and ASEAN member countries. They are designed to increase capacity and skills as well as promote institutional development for countries wishing to embrace innovative space-based information and their applications in disaster risk management. The guidelines can also support the development of standard operating procedures and information sharing policies for the utilisation of space-based information in relevant countries. An accompanying ‘Quick Guide’ version is included for easy reference. It is our hope that this reference manual with its practical procedural guidelines for the use of spacebased information will significantly contribute to strengthening the disaster risk resilience of countries in the ASEAN region.