Governments and the private sector must urgently leverage satellite technology for more effective disaster management efforts in Africa and globally.
“Putting in place satellite services and next-generation satellite-enabled connectivity can mean the difference between saving millions of lives and losing them,” says Ivan Suarez, senior policy manager at Access Partnership. He says this can also reduce government expenditure during and post-disaster.
“The impact of natural disasters will be concentrated among low- and middle-income countries, which are relatively less prepared to adapt.”
This whitepaper comes after organisations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, Vision of Humanity and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), all agreed that weather-related disasters are likely to become more frequent and widespread in coming years, thanks to climate change.
The paper shows that natural disasters currently cost the agricultural sector of emerging economies more than $108-billion in damaged crop and livestock production. Should the level of financing in climate adaptability remain low, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates, climate change adaptation and natural disaster damages could cost developing countries between $280-billion and $500-billion per year by 2050.
To reduce the socioeconomic impact of climate-related disasters, governments are encouraged to increase investment in physical and social infrastructure and allow for the upscaling and acceleration of far-reaching, transformational adaptation strategies. This includes the effective use of satellite networks and next-generation satellite technology.
“As shown by this study, we need a concerted effort to fix the underlying inefficiencies of our current, existing communication systems,” says Suarez. “The paper highlights that the availability of communication networks is directly related to the ability to respond quickly to emergencies.”
The whitepaper emphasises the need for the development of emergency telecommunication plans (NETPs), given the crucial role telecoms can play in saving lives and protecting communities when disasters strike.
Considering their unpreparedness to bear the financial costs and the need to protect human lives, collaborative efforts between governments and the private sector are urgently needed to maintain adequate NETPs.
For more information on the whitepaper and best practice for effective policy planning, download “The Role of Satellite Communications in Disaster Management”.