Earth observation based information products for drought risk reduction at the national level (EvIDENz)

The duration and intensity of droughts have generally increased. Agricultural land is especially endangered which has direct consequences on food security, health, and the economic situation of a country. Using South Africa and Ukraine as case study countries, which have been severely affected by drought events in the last century, the project on Earth Observation Based Information Products for Drought Risk Reduction at the National Level (EvIDENz) develops and tests new earth observation based methods to monitor the drought hazard characteristics.

EvIDENz is based on the realization that international conventions and frameworks feature more and more goals, targets, priorities for actions and indicators which are quantifiable and measureable rather than being of qualitative nature. This offers new opportunities for Earth observation. The project aims at developing new methods and appropriate means of communicating Earth observation-based information so that it can be used to meet the requirements of convention/frameworks goals, targets and indicators as well as needs by national stakeholders. It concentrates on the value adding chain from sensor data to information to knowledge to informed decision making and implementation.

EvIDENz project
Fig1. Schematic representation of EvIDENz elements

The project focuses on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (SFDRR) for the drought risk reduction case and aims at disclosing synergies to UNFCCC and SDGs demands. Thereby outcomes of EvIDENz shall enable uptake at the national level providing e.g. risk knowledge (priority for Action 1 in SFDRR) through Earth observation based drought hazard monitoring, exposure and of the agricultural sector, event-specific yield losses and supporting SFDRR targets (b) on people affected by droughts and c) direct economic losses by droughts in the agricultural sector.

Drought hazard monitoring at the national level is carried out using a combination of different sensors and highlighting the use of the new Sentinel missions of the European Commissions’ Copernicus Program. Sentinel data provide free optical and radar data in high resolution which is an advantage especially for the generation and use of earth observation- based information products in low income and low-middle income countries. These information products will be fused with vulnerability metrics that are developed and quantified based on indicators using mainly socio-economic and statistical data.

EvIDENz features two study sites: (1) Eastern Cape Province, The Republic of South Africa and (2) Kyiv region (oblast) in Ukraine. The study sites have been chosen based on best availability of necessary data as the project can not conduct intensive field surveys and the developments need to build on available data, which increase the chances of use at the national level.

EvIDENz project
Fig2. EvIDENz value-adding chain


Risk information products serve as early warning information and provide a key understanding on criteria and characteristics of areas and people at risk in the context of drought events. The use and transferability of the developed processing chain of drought risk-related information products to other low-income and lower-middle income countries is the project´s overall objective.

The project is carried out by the Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL), University of Bonn, the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) through its Platform for for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), together with partner organizations in South Africa and Ukraine. ZFL provides its expertise in applied research and development in the fields of earth observation, risk research, water management and geomatics. UNU-EHS brings in expertise in socio-economic vulnerability and risk assessments. UN-SPIDER, in its function and expertise to value space research and technology outcomes to requirements in disaster risk management, knowledge provision and international cooperation, will complement the team.

Workshops

EvIDENz workshop, 21-22 September 2017, Bonn

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