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Director's Message

Over the past decade, a number of natural hazards of great severity have occurred in several countries. The impacts of natural hazards are continuing to increase around the world, and we have noticed that mitigation of the damage caused by natural hazards like floods, droughts, earthquakes and cyclones has been a global challenge.
Some achievements have been scored worldwide in terms of disaster relief, leading to remarkable benefits, in which science and technology have been playing an important role. Earth observation and technology tied to Digital Earth —a global effort to create a virtual representation of the entire planet — have proven to be effective means to mitigate disasters and their effects. Previous catastrophic events have deepened our belief in the significance of space technology for disaster mitigation and urgency of applying science and technology to disaster mitigation. However, while developed countries generally have the space technology and resources to respond to and recover from disasters, the effects such events have on the environments and societies of less developed countries can be devastating and long-lasting. Loss of life and property due to disasters is increasing globally. In this context, Earth observations and information, derived both from space and from in-situ networks, have demonstrated their maturity and critical role in supporting national and local first responders and risk managers by providing effective tools to rapidly monitor damages and impacts during rescue operations.
In 2013, jointly sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation (SDIM) was formally established. The goal of the Centre is to conduct much-needed research on disaster mitigation through advanced space technologies, especially space-borne Earth observation technology and provide knowledge transfer in developing countries through joint research, education, training workshop and advisory services.
Since its establishment, SDIM has launched 11 joint projects with 13 developing countries (e.g. Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Thailand, etc.), concerning major disasters in the Belt and Road, including earthquake, droughts, floods, wildfire, and typhoon. Through collaboration, a series of EO based application systems have been transferred to various developing countries. These systems combined the EO advantages of SDIM, including the abundant data from three ground satellite receiving stations (covering 70% of Asia), high-speed fiber link between station and processing center, and high computing capacities, thereby providing users with space-based information for DRR.
Moreover, SDIM offers associated disaster education and training programs for experts and decision makers from developing countries, which promote a scientific dialogue and collaboration partnership for the exchange of best practices. Since 2013, SDIM has held 6 international training workshops, covering both theoretical and practical aspects on the use of EO for DRR, and over 20 students and scholars from developing countries are studying and working at SDIM through CAS-TWAS scholarships.
SDIM’s EO products and services are providing scientific supports for the decision-making of relevant authorities worldwide. To integrate earth observation and social vulnerability data to promote the implementation of Sendai Framework in the Belt and Road, SDIM is jointly establishing the DBAR Disaster Risk Reduction initiative with IRDR IPO, IRDR CHINA, ISDE, and other international partners.
The SDIM’s schedule of activities can only be done with the strong collaboration of international experts, and I am grateful to colleagues both at the center and other CAS and TWAS network for their insight, counsel, and support.
GUO Huadong