U.S. Center at COP-16: Using Space Technology To Improve Environmental Management

Posted by Sarah G. Thomas
December 2, 2010
NASA Satellite Image Shows Floodwaters Near Khairabad Pakistan

About the Author: Sarah Goldfarb serves as DipNote's Associate Editor. Sarah will be providing information from presentations about key climate programs and scientific research at the U.S. Center at the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-16) in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 through December 10, 2010.

NASA is well-known for space exploration. However, few people know that NASA is also dedicated to advancing our understanding of the earth and meeting societal needs. In the side event, “From Space to Village: Using Space Technology for Improved Environmental Management,” NASA's Daniel Irwin explained how NASA is partnering with USAID to solve society's most pressing development challenges around the world.

The goal of this partnership, the SERVIR Project, is to match the science, geo-spatial applications, and research from NASA, NASA-funded research, and other government agencies, to the people who have the need for this type of information in developing countries. Irwin, the director of the SERVIR Project, works to ensure that the data from the satellites can be used in these countries on issues, such as environmental degradation, disaster response, and adaptation to climate change. He described the relationship between NASA and USAID as one from "Space to Village.”

At the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Irwin and his team of scientists work with regionally-focused NGOs in Panama, Kenya, and Nepal. For example, working with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, Nepal, they are addressing critical issues, including land cover change, air quality, glacial melt, and adaptation to climate change in the Hindi-Kush-Himalaya region.

Irwin said that he SERVIR Project is a successful model, because it is demand-driven with the resources of both a space agency and development agency.

You can learn more about the SERVIR Project by visiting its website.

Become a fan of the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science on Facebook and follow all of the action at COP-16. You can find press releases, program events, transcripts, presentations from the U.S. Center and more on state.gov/cop16.



West Virginia, USA
December 5, 2010

Pam in West Virginia writes:

The use of space technology to help with climate change is limitless and we need to continue space research funding so we do not lose this valuable resource.

West Virginia, USA
December 5, 2010

Dr. G. in West Virginia writes:

Servir is definitely needed PR to keep the space program funded


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