From the migrant crisis in Europe, to the earthquake in Nepal, the ability to communicate is essential to humanitarian emergency operations.
World-leading satellite operators and integrators: Arabsat, EMC, Eutelsat, Hispasat, Inmarsat, Intelsat, SES, Thuraya and Yahsat are conducting technical training for humanitarian personnel starting in Dubai this week, to support the provision of communications to all those responding to emergencies including affected populations.
This course is the first activity emanating from the Crisis Connectivity Charter, a set of commitments to enhance communications in times of crises, signed by the satellite operators and integrator community and the United Nations in October of 2015. The Charter was established by the EMEA Satellite Operators’ Association (ESOA) and the Global VSAT Forum (GVF) with the support of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP)-led Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The training seeks to provide ETC responders with the skills and experience to deploy, manage and support satellite solutions, facilitated through the Crisis Connectivity Charter, during humanitarian emergency operations. Twelve attendees from the Fast IT and Telecommunications Emergency and Support Team (FITTEST), (the IT emergency response capacity of WFP) and ETC member Ericsson Response will participate in the course, along with twelve trainers. The training course will be held at the WFP warehouses in International Humanitarian City.
Simon Gray, Vice President of Humanitarian Affairs at Eutelsat and Group Coordinator for the Crisis Connectivity Charter for ESOA and GVF, said, “The Charter aims to offer coordinated, end-to-end and fully redundant satellite communication solutions for the humanitarian community. However, to ensure it is effective, first responders must know how to set-up and operate the different types of equipment available. Satellite operators regularly carry out free-of-charge training, both first-hand and via online tools, as part of our commitment to improving emergency communications.”
“Humanitarian emergency response is more effective when communities have the information and communications capacity they need to make informed decisions,” said Enrica Porcari, Chair of the ETC and WFP Chief Information Officer and Director of IT. “This training course is another step forward by the international satellite operator and integrator community to support the provision of communications in emergencies, helping affected communities to stay safe and protected, and supporting their leadership in a more accountable humanitarian response environment.”
The principle commitments of the Charter include:
- Pre-planned, predictable and scalable satellite-based solutions, deployable within 24 hours of a disaster and adaptable to the unique nature of each operation
- Satellite equipment prepositioned in Dubai at the UN Humanitarian Response Depot for deployment within 24 hours to disaster areas; transport within disaster areas; and importation and licensing
- Reserved bandwidth on interlinking satellite coverages, ensuring prioritization of humanitarian internet traffic
- In-country capacity-building by charter signatories for the response community, including humanitarians, governments and national civil society
- All provided at no cost to the humanitarian operation
Mazen Nassar, Installation Training Lead for the Middle East, GVF, said, “The Charter Signatories' delivery of ETC training is an important step toward improved disaster preparedness, and it sets the stage for broader support from the satellite communications community. This has already become evident through the sponsorship of GVF training by Ultisat, a satellite solution provider that also seeks to help address humanitarian needs during and after disasters.”
EMEA Satellite Operators’ Association (ESOA) is the world’s only CEO-driven satellite trade association whose membership brings together all European, Middle-East and African satellite operators and supporting members including service providers, manufacturers and launch service providers. Establishedf in 2002, the association’s mission is to provide a unified voice and a platform for collaboration for satellite operators to ensure the continued success of the sector and to broaden the opportunities for policymakers to leverage satellite services to fulfill their objectives. www.esoa.net
Global VSAT Forum (GVF) is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit organization with 200+ members from every major region of the world. The broad-based membership represents every sector of the satellite industry, including fixed and mobile satellite operators, satellite network operators, teleports, satellite earth station manufacturers, system integrators, value added and enhanced service providers, telecom carriers, consultants, law firms, and users. gvf.org
Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) is a global network of humanitarian, private sector and governmental organisations that work together in disasters to provide vital communications services. The ETC is one of the 11 clusters designated by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). The ETC seeks to ensure that by 2020, all those responding to humanitarian emergencies – including affected communities – have access to vital communications services. www.ETCluster.org