SPEAR News and Advances

As part of the SPEAR project, UN-SPIDER and ZFL engage in a number of activities related to raising awareness about the benefits of space-based information for disaster management, developing Earth-observation-based knowledge products to be used by civil protection agencies and other relevant stakeholders, providing technical advisory support to African partners, fostering knowledge management and strengthening partnerships. This page provides an overview of these activities.



UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Germany - The Center for Remote Sensing for Land Surfaces (ZFL) – has provided a new practical use case demonstrating the effective utilization of the Copernicus Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) for early warning of riverine flood events. This case study, focusing on the devastating floods that occurred in Nigeria in 2022 along the Benue and Niger rivers, showcases the application of GloFAS tools within the disaster management cycle.


In many regions globally, early warning capacities for natural disasters such as floods are limited. Copernicus, as part of the European Union Space Programme, addresses this gap by offering free tools and services to enhance early warning capabilities worldwide. GloFAS, a key component of Copernicus Emergency Management… Read more

Two decades ago, several space agencies joined forces to establish the International Charter Space and Major Disasters to support disaster response efforts worldwide, facilitating access to space-based information derived from satellite imagery. While members of the Charter facilitate access to satellite imagery, project managers and value-added providers process the imagery to generate relevant information on a timely basis, which is then provided to end-users including national disaster management agencies, United Nations organizations and Red Cross societies carrying out disaster response efforts.

In the year 2022, the International Charter incorporated the Charter Mapper, an on-line processing environment, to expedite the visualization of imagery provided during activations of the International Charter, and to facilitate its processing. Recognizing the need to enhance the skills of project managers and value-added providers engaged in activations, UN-SPIDER, the… Read more

As part of its efforts to provide advisory support to national disaster management agencies and other stakeholders in Africa, UN-SPIDER is carrying out an Institutional Strengthening Mission to South Africa from 8 to 12 May 2023.

The mission, implemented in coordination with the National Disaster Management Centre of South Africa (NDMC), includes meetings with staff of the NDMC, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), the South African Weather Service (SAWS), the Department of Agriculture, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and other institutions, and a three-day workshop on the use of space technologies in early warning and disaster management efforts with a focus on floods and droughts.

The three-day workshop will include presentations on UN-SPIDER Recommended Practices for flood mapping and drought monitoring, the Global Flood Awareness System (GLOFAS), and the Global Drought Observatory (… Read more

UN-SPIDER, the National Disaster Management Centre of South Africa (NDMC), and the Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL) of the University of Bonn organized a three-day interinstitutional workshop in Pretoria, from 9 to 11 May 2023. The “Space-based Solutions for floods and droughts in Southern Africa" workshop was part of UN-SPIDER's mission to South Africa and contributes to the efforts conducted by the NDMC and UN-SPIDER in the topics of disaster risk reduction, preparedness, and early warning systems.

Workshop opening remarks
Workshop… Read more

The United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) in collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Global Flood Awareness System (GLOFAS) of the Copernicus Programme of the European Commission, and the University of Bonn’s Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL), conducted an international training workshop on space-based technologies for flood management. The workshop was held at the UN Bonn Campus on 20-22 February 2023.

The workshop had an impressive turnout of nearly 30 attendees, including representatives from national disaster management agencies, space agencies, government agencies, and students enrolled in universities from various countries including Algeria, Barbados, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Uganda, and the United Kingdom.

The event aimed to increase the awareness of and developing skills… Read more