23 September 2013, Bujumbura, Burundi- UNOSAT and OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) were among several UN agencies participating in a one-day Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and information management workshop organised at the United Nations Office in Bujumbura for the Burundi’s National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The World Food Programme (WFP) Country Office and the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Burundi supported the organisation of the event. The aim was to raise awareness of the work of OCHA and partners in support of humanitarian response and to inform members of the Burundi National Platform about the role of GIS and information management in emergency preparedness and response.
Addressing around 50 emergency management specialists, cartography experts, academics and as representatives from national ministries, the WFP Country Director and Representative, Mr. Bienvenu Djossa welcomed participants and speakers stating that information systems are useful to humanitarian preparedness and response: “Reliable and quickly available information in emergencies helps save lives and ensure that affected people receive the necessary information to respond in the event of an emergency."UNOSAT workshop in Brundi

At the opening session on GIS Technologies for Humanitarian Crises, UNOSAT’s training focal point, Luca Dell’Oro, presented an overview of UNOSAT Humanitarian Rapid Mapping Service and showed examples of the current use of satellite imagery in emergency response. The UNOSAT-IGAD regional capacity development project was also presented as an example of integration of technology into capacity development at regional level.

OCHA delivered a session on Information Management for Humanitarian Response. Several information management tools and services were showcased, including: Setting up Common Operational Datasets (COD/baseline data) and Fundamental Operational Datasets (FOD/thematic data); Developing and promoting common standards for these datasets; and how to set up disaster profiling and inventory tools in support of the National Disaster Management Authority.

OCHA also presented UNISDR’s DesInventar (Disaster Information Management System). DesInventar is a conceptual and methodological tool for the generation of National Disaster Inventories and the construction of databases of damage, losses and in general the effects of disasters.

Participants included representatives from FAO, IRC, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP as well as national ministries including the Ministère de l’Eau, de l’Environnement, de l’Aménagement de territoire, de l’Urbanisme, Ministère de l’Agriculture et l’Elevage, Ministère de la Sécurité Publique, Ministère de l’Energie et des Mines, Ministere de la Defense and Ministere de l’Interieur. Others included representatives from the University of Burundi and the Department of Cartography and Topography at the Geographic Institute of Burundi (IGEBU).

Photo: Roshni Dave and Luca dell'Oro of UNOSAT together with particpatns on the event.