A global forum on emergency
telecommunications was held in Geneva in December 2007 to unite stakeholders in disaster management and launch several
initiatives to provide timely access to ICTs to relief agencies and victims of disasters. This event united key
stakeholders active in developing, deploying and using telecommunications/ICT for disaster mitigation to map concrete
strategies and measures prioritizing the effective use of telecommunications/ICT in all phases of disaster management
i.e., early warning, preparedness, relief and response. The Global Forum debated policy and regulatory issues,
technological aspects, finance and the deployment of last-mile communications systems in emergency situations.
A Workshop on Remote Sensing was held within the Global Forum, in collaboration with the Group on Earth Observation
Systems and the French Centre national d'Útudes spatiales. It examined the critical role of remote sensing technologies
in providing timely information facilitating the work of the disaster management community. Issues considered included
access to data access, timeliness, training and international cooperation as key elements in a disaster management
Remote sensing and geographic information systems allow risk assessment of multiple hazards and enable the development
of scenario and contingency planning, including risk, hazard and scenario mapping. Risk analysis is vital in developing
a disaster risk reduction strategy, establishing the links between risk, level of vulnerability and the ability to cope,
including the availability and resilience of telecommunication networks in areas at risk of natural disaster.