December 2011, Rome, Italy – UNOSAT and the Emergency Preparedness and Response Branch of the World Food Programme have decided to increase their cooperation in the area of geospatial information for crisis preparedness and response. WFP, the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger and bringing relief to millions of people during crisis and emergencies, makes use of geographic information systems and solutions to optimise its work and efficiency. The work of UNOSAT in satellite derived analysis and advanced applied research in GIS solutions is a natural match for WFP geo-information requirements.
Since 2003 WFP operational staff in the field have access to the mapping products released by UNOSAT’s Humanitarian Rapid Mapping service. The implementation of UNOSAT new strategy dubbed “data in hand” has been the opportunity to review and strengthen the working relationship between UNOSAT and WFP. In this framework, UNOSAT extended to WFP free access to FirstLook, a commercial on-line service giving access to very high-resolution satellite imagery over crisis areas. This was done in a move to provide WFP for a few months with a free trial of this technology that UNOSAT analysts use daily to produce humanitarian and human security information products.
Furthermore, WFP and UNOSAT have agreed to work together to expand their cooperation in information exchange, data sharing, and joint geospatial products. The Chief of WFP Emergency Preparedness and Response Branch and the Manager of UNOSAT agreed to develop these areas of collaboration further in 2012 with the view of establishing a formal agreement during the same year.