USP Emalus Campus hosts Advanced Training on EO and GIT Applications for Climate Resilience

UK High Commissioner to Vanuatu Karen Bell, Mrs Esline Garae Bule, Director General, Ministry of Climate Change, Dr Krishna Kotra, Science Programme Coordinator, Mr Ruben Markward, Director Emalus Campus.

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) Emalus Campus in Port Vila, Vanuatu, hosted a week-long workshop on Advanced training on Earth Observation (EO) and Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) Applications for Climate Resilience from September 21-25 2020.

The workshop was facilitated by United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) as part of CommonSensing Project.

Mr Ruben Markward, Director of the Emalus Campus, expressed USP’s gratitude to the British Government for its support towards the project being implemented by the UNITAR-UNOSAT. Mr Markward said that USP recognized the importance of the project and was happy to collaborate with the implementing agency to archive its aims, and that is to assist countries to become more resilient against Climate Change and natural disasters faced by island states in the region.

Mr Markward acknowledged the Government of Vanuatu, through the Ministry of Climate Change, for their continuous support for the project. He also mentioned that under the partnership arrangement some USP students will be able to get further training in areas related to the project.

Mrs Karen Bell, British High Commissioner to Vanuatu, officially launched the workshop at the USP’s Emalus Campus. High Commissioner Bell said, “UK is very proud to sponsor this CommonSensing Project”.

She said that the project is a partnership between UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme and UNITAR. The main objective is to skill people to carry out the tasks of collection of data, understanding the data and dissemination of the data.

The Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Climate Change, Mrs Esline Garae Biti Bule said, “On behalf of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Government of Vanuatu, I acknowledge the continuous support of the British High Commission through the UK Space Agency and the United Nations Institute of training and Research for the support to implement this project in Vanuatu.”

High Commissioner Bell added, “Data from Earth Observation (EO) and Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) applications can play a critical role in helping governments respond to climate change and natural disasters. I was particularly delighted that data and satellite imagery from the CommonSensing project, helped Vanuatu to quickly understand the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold so that the response could be effectively targeted.”

The workshop is part of the Common Sensing (CS) project led by UNITAR-UNOSAT (United Nations Institute for Training and Research-United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme) with the aim to improve resilience to Climate Change, including disaster risk reduction, and to contribute to sustainable development in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It is a continuation of the introductory training held in November 2019.

At the end of the week-long workshop participants are expected to: (1) Recall the basic concepts of Geographic Information System and Remoted Sensing; (2) Calculate vegetation index from satellite image and perform land cover change detection; (3) Develop a population exposure analysis for tropical cyclones wind hazard; (4) Assess building damage from tropical cyclone using very high–resolution satellite images; (5) Develop web-based products to convey clear and concise decision support information; and (6) Design priority case studies in GIT (Geospatial Information Technology) applications for Climate Resilience.

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