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Topics covered:

  1. Disaster and disaster management.




What to study?

For prelims and mains: key features, need for and significance of the charter.


Context: India, by virtue of being a member of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ has received a satellite data related to the Assam floods from other member nations including France, Russia and China.


About International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’:

  1. It is a non-binding charter.
  2. It provides for the charitable and humanitarian related acquisition of and transmission of space satellite data to relief organizations in the event of major disasters.
  3. Initiated by the European Space Agency and the French space agency CNESafter the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999.
  4. It officially came into operation on November 1, 2000 after the Canadian Space Agency signed onto the charter on October 20, 2000.
  5. Only agencies that possess and are able to provide satellite-based Earth Observation data can be members of the International Charter. The members cooperate on a voluntary basis.


How it works?

  1. The Charter is a worldwide collaboration, through which satellite data are made available for the benefit of disaster management. By combining Earth observation assets from different space agencies, the Charter allows resources and expertise to be coordinated for rapid response to major disaster situations; thereby helping civil protection authorities and the international humanitarian community.
  2. This unique initiative is able to mobilise agencies around the world and benefit from their know-how and their satellites through a single access point that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and at no cost to the user.


Faced with a major emergency, rescue and relief organisations that are armed quickly with reliable and accurate information are better equipped to save lives and limit damage to property, infrastructure and the environment.

Satellites routinely monitoring Earth from space and delivering data to support rapid damage mapping offer an objective tool to aid disaster management.


Sources: the Hindu.