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    Satellite Monitoring of Climate Change Impacts for 3 LAC Nations

    By Keith R | December 27, 2008

    Topics: Climate Change | No Comments »

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    Mostly lost in all the media coverage of the recent climate change negotiations in Poznan, Poland was this announcement from the UN Development Programme (UNDP).  I’m glad to hear that this initiative includes Colombia, Peru and Uruguay, particularly since the latter two cannot afford on their own this sort of satellite monitoring.  Why, I wonder, rather than Colombia is not a similar deal offered to even poorer Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) nations wanting to monitor climate change impacts, such as Bolivia, Paraguay, Guyana, Suriname, the Central American nations, or perhaps the smaller Caribbean nations?


    From the UN Development Programme (UNDP):

    New initiative to address climate change

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), together with the Brittany regional government in France and the national French government, has created a new ClimSat partnership with a network of public and private satellites providers to monitor the effects of climate change. The new facility, based in Brest, France, was opened on 1 November 2008.

    The new initiative follows on the UN agencies’ possibility to obtain satellite images from space agencies free of charge to better monitor natural and man-made disasters.

    UNDP will be sharing these images with regional authorities in areas that are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Communities in up to 50 regions around the world will be able to monitor the shrinking of forests, growing desertification, changing rainfall patterns and other phenomena. This imagery will also assist in predicting which areas are particularly prone to flooding due to rising sea level.

    “We have to work in the regions, on a sub-national level, in order to deliver the post-Kyoto regime,” said Veerle Vandeweerd, the Director of Environment and Energy Group at UNDP. “The satellite images and carbon footprint calculating software will allow the decision makers to see where the real problems are and to take informed decisions.”

    In the first phase of the project, regions in Uruguay, Peru, Colombia, Morocco, Senegal, Uganda, Mozambique, Indonesia, Albania and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will benefit from the new facility.

    The ClimSat images will allow decision makers to map their lands that are vulnerable to climate change and assist in adaptation efforts. UNDP will complement this service with software that calculates the carbon footprints of buildings, roads, factories, etc. in order to allow the decision makers to plan for an effective emissions reduction and access to renewable energy.

    The regions participating in the project will not only have the access to the ClimSat images and software, but will also have access to the experience and best practices from their partner regions in the northern hemisphere. Regions from Scotland, Catalonia, Rhone-Alpes, California and elsewhere will share with regions from the South their most successful projects and policies. In order to ensure full benefits of the knowledge transfer, UNDP partnered with eight associations of regions representing more than 500 regions covering all five continents.

    Many regions expressed their interest in joining the initiative earlier this week in Poznan, at the ‘Second Climate Leaders Summit’ organized by the Climate Group. The participants agreed on a statement of cooperation which they submitted to Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.

    Abdoulaye Sene, the President of Fatick region in Senegal, said at the press conference in Poznan: “We, African regions, welcome very much the UN- Regions partnership on climate change for our citizens are already very much impacted by climate change. We need to be empowered to develop real strategy and be prepared through sounds mitigation, access to renewable energy, adaptation public policy, and investment projects. Thanks to UNDP I am getting the support from European regions“.

    Jane Davidson, Welsh Minister for Environment Sustainability and Housing added: “I welcome this new initiative by the UNDP to develop practical partnership between the Northern and Southern regions as I believe this will be very attractive in tackling climate change together.”

    The United Nations Environment Programe (UNEP) is also a partner to the project and other UN Agencies such as UNITAR and UN-Habitat are planning to join.

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