From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : About the charter
Mains level : Disaster management
Sharing space data for flood control
- With Assam inundated by floods, several countries including China, Russia and France collaborated with India on sharing satellite images of the scale of inundation.
- As signatories to the The International Charter Space and Major Disasters, any of the 32 member countries can send a ‘request’ to activate the Charter.
- This would immediately trigger a request by the coordinators to space agencies of other countries whose satellites have the best eyes on the site of the disaster.
About the charter
- The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” is a non-binding charter which provides for the charitable and humanitarian retasked acquisition of and transmission of space satellite data to relief organizations in the event of major disasters.
- It was initiated by the European Space Agency and the French space agency CNES after the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999.
- Since 2000, when the Charter came into operation there have been about 600 activations and data from 61 satellites have helped with disaster operations in 125 countries.
- Charter addresses both natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, forest fires, landslides, tsunamis, ocean storms, volcanic eruptions and man made disasters like oil spills and industrial accidents.
- India has signed the charter in 2001.
India too raises its helping hand
- This is a standard practice under the charter and in the past ISRO too had provided information to other space agencies in response to similar requests.
- In August 2014, for instance, ISRO’s CARTOSAT shared images after an activation request from China after an earthquake struck Yunan province and killed 398.