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20 in 2020 – Anniversary of the Disasters Charter


20 January 2020

20 in 2020 – Anniversary of the Disasters Charter

charter logoOctober 20, 2020, will mark the 20th anniversary of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters.

Following the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria, in July 1999, the European Space Agency (ESA), France's space agency (CNES) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) founded the Disasters Charter on October 20, 2000. Their goal was to provide data from their satellites free of charge to aid disaster monitoring and response activities.

The International Charter was formally declared operational on November 1, 2000.

Today, the Disasters Charter is a worldwide collaboration of 17 members – most of which are space agencies – and 67 countries have direct access to the Charter through Universal Access.

The International Charter cooperates with a broad range of disaster risk management organizations and the international humanitarian community. In addition, the Charter has strong links with the Earth Observation sector globally and welcomes collaborations with other organizations around the world that wish to use their space-based capabilities to support disaster response.

The Charter is user driven and assists relief teams everywhere in the world on a 24/7 basis. As of January 2020, the Charter has been activated 639 times for major disasters in 127 countries.

member logos

The Disasters Charter continuously increases its efforts to support disaster response worldwide – while we started off with one to three activations per month 20 years ago, now it is not unusual for there to be up to eight activations per month, depending on the season, e.g. the monsoon season in the northern hemisphere or the hurricane and typhoon seasons.

To mark the 20th anniversary, we will publish monthly features this year that will offer insight into the different aspects of the Disasters Charter, including:

  • Our history
  • Our member agencies
  • The types of disasters we monitor
  • The partners we work with
  • Our future

Join us as we commemorate this milestone.