LONDON, UK - Media OutReach - 10 March 2022 - Access Partnership, the leading global public policy firm for the tech sector has released a Whitepaper addressing the need to further utilise satellite technology for disaster management. This seminal paper highlights the crucial role that satellite services and next-generation satellite-enabled connectivity will have in saving millions of lives and reducing government expenditure during and post disaster. Providing unique data, the document forecasts the economic impact and future burden countries will face if disaster communications planning is not taken seriously.
This Whitepaper was released together with following partners, under the umbrella of the Fair Tech Institute:
- CANLA: The Climate Action Network Latin America (CANLA), is a regional network of non-governmental organizations committed to fighting the causes and harmful effects of climate change.
- AlphaBeta: AB provides strategic advice that leads to new, innovative, and practical solutions addressing issues ranging from automation of jobs, biodiversity loss to poverty alleviation.
- TSFI: Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) is the world's first NGO focusing on emergency-response technologies.
- GSOA: The pre-eminent platform for collaboration between satellite operators globally, providing a unified voice for the sector.
As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed in its latest report, released in August 2021, the immediate effects of global climate change are widespread, rapid and accelerating.
This Whitepaper focuses on the undeniably necessary call to action:
Call to Action for Governments and Stakeholders:
- Providing clear strategies to minimise damages.
- Increasing speed of response in critical times.
- Regulating for future technologies that may assist rapid rescue.
- Multiplying resources by partnering with the private sector.
For more information on the Whitepaper and best practice for effective policy planning, download the "The Role of Satellite Communications in Disaster Management".
As natural disasters increase yearly, satellite networks will help save millions of lives
As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed in its latest report, released in August 2021, the immediate effects of global climate change are widespread, rapid and accelerating. For cities in temperate latitudes, this means more heat waves and shorter cold seasons. In subtropical and tropical latitudes, it means wetter rainy seasons and hotter dry seasons. Most coastal cities will be threatened by sea level rise. Although most types of weather-related disasters are likely to become more common across all regions, global heating above 1.5C will be "catastrophic" for island nations and could lead to the loss of entire countries due to sea level rise within the century.
Providing unique data, Access Partnership's newly published paper "The Role of Satellite Communications in Disaster Management" shows that the impact of natural disasters will be concentrated among low- and middle-income countries, which are relatively less prepared to adapt. The paper shows that natural disasters currently cost the agricultural sector of these economies more than USD 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 that climate change adaptation and natural disaster damages would cost developing countries a range of USD 280 to USD 500 billion per year by 2050, a figure four to five times higher than previous estimates.
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.
One of such strategies include the development of emergency telecommunication plans (NETPs) given the crucial role telecoms can play in saving lives and protecting communities when disasters strike. As shown by this study, we need a concerted effort to fix the underlying inefficiencies of our current, existing communication systems. The paper highlights that the availability of communication networks directly related to the ability of responding quickly to emergencies. They are imperative to ensure efficient and accurate information flows during and post disaster management. Many studies have been conducted over the past decade to understand the impact of reducing emergency response times on health and economic outcomes during natural disasters. A reduction in response times during natural disasters has a significant impact on mortality, morbidity, and property damage costs.
Considering the pressing need to ensure communications systems remain operational during inevitably difficult situations such as natural disasters, satellite services and next-generation satellite-enabled connectivity can help addressing the limitations faced by our present terrestrial telecommunication network. The adoption of new strategies and technological solutions – as a crucial component of disaster preparedness – would allow the less connected to communicate during emergency situations, ensuring that emergency communications are more accessible for better rescue responses.
The whitepaper sheds light on the different economic outcomes resulting from increased natural disasters occurring at a global scale. The study shows that though most types of weather-related disasters are likely to affect countries of all income groups, the economic burden in low-income countries is disproportionate. With less resources, know how, policies in place, investment on infrastructure, equipment and in training, low-income jurisdictions are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. For instance, breaking down by regions, Asia Pacific is expected to incur the greatest economic damage at USD 165 billion from 2025-29, or 42% of the total.
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.
The document calls for greater stakeholders' coordination to ensure a robust, effective and harmonized communication plan and strategy to face the increasing number of natural disasters that are likely to impact our countries. The initiative focuses on requesting Government to be more innovative, allowing the introduction of effective and inclusive emergency satellite-based communications services for its adequacy during and post-disasters relief efforts.
By ensuring an enabling regulatory environment that allows for the roll-out of new satellite-based emergency communications solutions, governments can save lives and protect communities.