From 13 to 19 May UN-SPIDER organized and participated in meetings to discuss and elaborate a proposal for a potential project in Guatemala targeting the use of space-based information to assess the impact of drought and climate variability on crops. This project proposal has been submitted to the Guatemalan National Council of Science and Technology (CONCYT) for funding, and targets the establishment of an inter-institutional, multi-thematic, technical committee of professionals which will focus its attention on the use of space-based information to track impacts caused by drought and climate variability events on crops in the “Dry Corridor” of the country. The project is based on a request made by Dr. Karen Slowing, Director of the National Planning and Programming Secretariat of the Presidency, SEGEPLAN.
The objective of UN-SPIDER behind this project is to promote the establishment of the inter-institutional committee in Guatemala as a strategy to strengthen national capacities regarding access to and use of space-based information. During the mission, experts from Guatemala identified the technical need for such a project, highlighting critical issues that need to be resolved through applied research when it comes to using space-based information in Guatemala for crop monitoring: extensive cloud cover, extremely variable topography, and a variety of microclimates.
The project will benefit from the technical advisory support to be provided by the National Commission of Space Activities of Argentina, CONAE; and involves SEGEPLAN, the National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH), the Ministry of Agriculture (MAGA), the National Geographic Institute (IGN), the National Secretariat for Food Security (SESAN), the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), the National Coordinating Agency for Disaster Reduction (CONRED), the San Carlos University unit for the Nor-Orient region (CUNORI) of Guatemala, and researchers from the private sector. Regional and international organizations involved include UNDP, the Central American Coordination Center for Natural Disaster Prevention (CEPREDENAC), and the Trifinio Tri-National Secretariat.
Links between UN-SPIDER, CONCYT, and SEGEPLAN were established nearly a year ago through initiatives conducted by CONCYT to promote the application of science and technology to promote sustainable development in the country, including the topic of disaster reduction. This visit and the related project will pave the way for the Technical Advisory Mission to be conducted by UN-SPIDER to Guatemala, planned for November of this year.