UN Spider Team Visits NiMET

As part of it’s mission to Ă‘igeria, the United Nations Platform for Space Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response, (UN-SPIDER), paid a courtesy visit to Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) last Friday.

Welcoming the team, the Director General/CEO of NiMet, Professor Mansur Bako Matazu who was represented by the Director, Human Resource Management, Hajiya Rabi Mohammed noted that though a number of initiatives in recent years have contributed to making space technologies available for humanitarian and emergency response, the “UN-SPIDER is the first to focus on the need to ensure access to and use of such technologies during all phases of the disaster management cycle including the risk reduction phase, which is crucial for reducing the losses of lives and property”.

Prof.Matazu however emphasized that weather and climate related disaster management in the world and indeed Nigeria cannot be executed without reference to and active participation of meteorological organisations like NiMet.
In his response, the leader of the team and Head, UN-SPIDER, Bonn office, Juan Carlos Villagran de Leon disclosed that as part of their mission to Nigerian they had a two day workshop in Abuja to stimulate flood but ” more to bring together different stakeholders from government agencies to coordinate efforts in case of very large floods like the one we are having now in the Benue river”.

Mr Carlos explained further ” When it comes to coordination in the case of large floods, it is essential that these people in the centre of emergency operations take note of what is the weather situation, what is the weather outlook that is impacting those response operations”. Adding that the ” role of NiMet and similar institutions cannot be understated along these lines”.

He acknowledged that more of the meteorological community, in addition to enhancing the use of space technology is also going beyond the tradition of early warning into participatory reaction.

In his intervention, the National Coordinator of UN-SPIDER programme in Nigeria, Dr. Godstime James from the National Space Research Development Agency(NASRDA), disclosed that they are currently embarking on a project which is called the Global Flood Awareness and a committee has been set up that includes NiMet. ” We want to be able to standardize flood forecast, in addition to the flood forecast releases by Nihsa, we will also have that global platform that provides estimate of flood disasters as well as impacts”. He said.

In his speech, the Technical Assistant to the D/G NiMet, Idowu Oluwaseun Wilfred stressed the importance of synergy and working together to achieve a common goal. “We do not only collaborate at the tail end of the value chain, but we also do what is called co-production of some of our products where we engage with stakeholders even at production stage”. He said.

The UN-SPIDER was established on the 14th of December 2006, in a resolution, by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as a new United Nations programme, with the mission to ensure that all countries and international and regional organizations have access to and develop the capacity to use all types of space-based information to support the full disaster management cycle.

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