Thursday, 15 October 2015

USAID/NASA joint initiative SERVIR-Mekong: a needs assessment of geospatial data and technologies in the Lower Mekong Region

A Special Seminar

By David J. Ganz
Chief of Party, SERVIR-Mekong, a USAID- NASA Partnership
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)

​​20 October 2015
1:15-2:15 p.m.
SSD Conference Room, Drilon Hall


​Rapid economic and population growth in the Lower Mekong Region (LMR; composed of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) continue to drive changes in the region’s water regimes and the loss and degradation of natural vegetation and soils. These changes, in turn, are affecting, often negatively, ecosystem services, food and water security, and biodiversity. All of these impacts are exacerbated by climate change, further highlighting the need for improved governance and decision making in virtually all sectors.

Geospatial data and technology can contribute significantly to more timely and informed decision making. For example, satellite radar-estimated rainfall can extend the early warning period for serious floods. However, in order to be useful in a given planning, policy, or other decision-making context, information must reach the right people and institutions at the right time and in the right form.

SERVIR-Mekong, the latest addition to a USAID and NASA-initiated global network of hubs supporting the application of geospatial data and technologies for decision making, carried out a needs assessment in late 2014 and early 2015 to inform of the program’s strategic focus, as well as provide a resource for other stakeholders seeking to improve the effective application of geospatial data and technologies in the LMR. In this presentation, we review the needs expressed by a full range of country and regional stakeholders. Stakeholder-identified priorities for developing custom tools and applications included: mapping and monitoring land use and land cover, especially natural forests, plantation forests, and crops; monitoring and forecasting floods and droughts; measuring ecosystem services; forecasting crop yields; and facilitating basin-wide planning.

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