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TWAS Newsletter
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Managing risk in developing countries

Managing risk in developing countries

Earth and space science researchers from developing countries are invited to Malaysia for a special session on advanced technologies for disaster-risk management, co-organized by the CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation and the Group on Earth Observations. The deadline for abstract submission is 26 July.

Managing risk in developing countriesThe session aims to bring together experts in the natural disaster field to exchange new ideas. It will be held in Kuching, Malaysia, from 26 to 29 August, in concert with the 8th International Symposium on Digital Earth 2013.

While developed countries have the technological resources needed to respond and recover from major disasters, the effect natural disasters can have on the environment and society of less developed countries can be devastating and long-lasting. High population density in risk-prone areas, poor infrastructure and unstable landforms make developing countries especially vulnerable to natural disasters. Earth observation and technology tied to Digital Earth – a global effort to create a virtual representation of the entire planet – can reduce costs and efforts needed to monitor and mitigate natural disasters and their effects.

Topics of the special session include:

  • Earth observation and Digital Earth as tools for disaster management;
  • Information systems for hydro-meteorological extremes, including floods and droughts;
  • Geohazards monitoring, alert, and risk assessment;
  • Wildfire risk assessment and forecasting;
  • Desertification and land degradation;
  • Agricultural disasters; and
  • Tsunami and typhoon monitoring and early warning systems.

All researchers are welcome to submit abstracts using the downloadale for below to be considered for oral presentations, and those selected will receive travel grants. Female applicants will receive priority. All abstracts must be submitted electronically and should be in English, from 250-500 words in length. Submissions are due by 26 July 2013, and scientists will be notified of their acceptance on 31 July. For more details, please contact Fang Chen (email: fangchen[at] of the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth in Beijing, China, or Francesco Gaetani (email: fgaetani[at] of the Group on Earth Observations Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

The goal of the Centre of Excellence on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation is to provide joint research, education, training, workshop and advisory opportunities in developing countries. It also seeks to enhance scientific research for disaster mitigation in developing countries through advanced space technologies.

The Centre is one of five targeted for new funding this year under a new investment by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The centres' common goal is to build scientific strength and drive innovation in the developing world.

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is coordinating efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System. Through its 150 partners, GEO is working to expand the use of satellite imagery and maps for managing the risks posed by fires, floods, earthquakes and other hazards.