From October 2016 until October 2017, I was seconded as a ‘Senior Expert’ to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and its UN Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) in Vienna/Austria.
The cafeteria in the centre of the UN building provided me always the feeling of being on Star Trek. Not only because of its 70s interior design, but by the multitude of various people from different nations roaming around peacefully. Displayed in the central area of the UN building in Vienna, the Nobel Peace Prize Award of 2001 for the United Nations mentions “[…] that the only negotiable route to global peace and cooperation goes by the way of the United Nations.”
I hope that I was able to contribute to this – as a tiny molecule – in my one year secondment. I saw my contribution especially in bridging the domains of science and policy.
In the past, I supported several times the work of UN-SPIDER in the frame of Technical Advisory Missions (TAMs) and supported during my secondment the office on different matters, such as
- the implementation of the activities of the UN-SPIDER programme,
- contribute to knowledge management activities,
- contribute to the provision of advisory support to Member States,
- contribute to increasing synergies between the Office and agencies involved in the provision of data, products or services of Earth observation or other space-based tools and applications and – finally –
- contribute to increasing synergies between the Office and agencies providing support for disaster risk reduction and/or emergency response or representing end-users of data, services and products for disaster management and emergency response.
My secondment was funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit) and supported by the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS.