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Applying GIS to International Ocean Governance and Sustainability

October 9, 2013

Front row, left, PDC Disaster Management Specialist and Exercise Lead Todd Boss, and second from left, Deputy Executive Director Chris Chiesa participate in the International Forum on Sustainable Governance of the Ocean. 

In a continuing effort to increase understanding of ocean hazards and recognize the potential that ocean resources have to sustain humankind, the International Ocean Institute (IOI)-organized the Pacem in Maribus XXXIV (PIM34): International Forum on Sustainable Governance of the Ocean. The conference was held September 3-8, in Bangkok, Thailand. Discussions covered the impacts of climate change, ocean related hazards, water- and flood-management policy, and web-based Geographical Information System (GIS) applications for data sharing.

To provide guidance on developing and hosting a data sharing portal for the world’s oceans and IOI network activities on ocean governance and sustainable development, the IOI sponsored Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) to lead a web-based GIS special session. PDC Deputy Executive Director Chris Chiesa led the special session, with the support of Disaster Management Specialist and Exercise Lead Todd Bosse. Chiesa and Bosse shared their knowledge related to content, technology, and implementation, as well as their experiences related to deployment and operation of the DisasterAWARE decision support platform and the Global Hazards Information Network (GHIN), an exchange for high-quality geospatial data resources.

PDC’s Global Hazards Atlas, part of the DisasterAWARE platform, is a web-based mapping tool that provides worldwide information and functions as a hub for accessing, updating, and sharing information.

The event brought together around 200 international experts. Opening remarks were provided by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Plodprasop Suraswadi, Thailand’s Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Phiraphan Phalusuk, IOI’s President Dr. Awni Behnam, International Oceanographic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Secretary and Assistant Director-General of UNESCO Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright and other distinguished speakers.  PDC was represented as one of approximately 20 partner agencies.

The PIM Conference series is titled from the Latin for “Peace in the Oceans” and is one of the flagship activities of the IOI. PIM Conferences have played a critical role in the formulation and promotion of the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea, and they provide an environment where the challenges of ocean space can be examined.

For more information on this event:
• Visit the PIM 2013 event site,
• Explore the International Ocean Institute's activities, and
• Learn more about PDC's Global Hazards Information Network.

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Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) envisions a safer, more secure world—where populations live in more disaster-resilient communities informed by science and technology, and equipped with sound decision support tools. To help make that vision a reality, PDC is dedicated to supporting evidence-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts by providing actionable information and applications to the public and disaster managers worldwide. PDC, a program managed by the University of Hawaii, was established by the U.S. government in 1996.