Emergency Comms | ICT4SDG | SDG13
September 11, 2019

Why radiocommunications are so crucial for natural disaster management: Mario Maniewicz

By Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU’s Radiocommunications Bureau

*The text below is adapted from remarks I delivered today at a signing ceremony for ITU joining the Crisis Connectivity Charter.

As the Director of ITU’s Radiocommunications Bureau, I could not highlight enough the relevance of radiocommunications, and more specifically the relevance of satellite communications in the management and mitigation of eventual crises.

Radiocommunication services have driven substantial transformation in many development-related sectors including environment, health and education – making them a key accelerator towards the achievement of the SDGs.

If we look into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 13 on Climate Action, its first target is to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

Allow me to illustrate the key role satellite communications play towards achieving this SDG target by providing vital connectivity before, during and after a disaster occurs.

  • In order to be well-prepared for an event, accurate climate prediction and the detection of climate-related hazards are key. And both rely heavily on data obtained from space sensing and earth observation satellite systems.
  • In the unlikely detection of a natural disturbance in the state of the atmosphere, timely awareness and early warning of the population allows them to be better prepared and less impacted by a natural or environmental adversity.
  • Moreover, satellite communications are often used for rescue and relief operations as well as in vital life-saving responses, since they remain as a resilient solution even when terrestrial communications have been severely damaged.
  • Finally, satellite communications continue to provide valuable services until other telecommunication and basic services have been restored.

Taking into account the relevance of connectivity, especially for regions and countries affected by disasters, the ITU is striving to ensure that all the world’s people have access to affordable communications.

Therefore, it is a pleasure for me to be here today at the signing ceremony of ITU joining the Crisis Connectivity Charter.

This initiative will surely facilitate the use of satellite communications in times of crisis by bringing together our colleagues from satellite operators, associations, the UN Office, regional and national governments, as well as the local population.

PHOTO: STR/AFP/Getty Images
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Why radiocommunications are so crucial for natural disaster management: Mario Maniewicz

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