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GEO 2017-2019 Work Programme


Data Access for Risk Management (GEO-DARMA)

Activity ID: 110


Increased severity of weather events and rapid urbanization has led to growing economic and human losses from disasters, requiring international organisations to act much more in risk prevention mitigation and preparedness through improved disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies and programmes, in addition to their efforts during the response phase. As part of this effort, space agencies have implemented a series of actions aimed at fostering the use of Earth observation (EO) data to support DRR and at raising the awareness of policy and decision-makers and major stakeholders of the benefits of using satellite EO in all phases of disaster risk management (DRM). GEO-DARMA is one of the major initiatives supported by space agencies as follow-on action to the “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030”.

GEO-DARMA aims to support operational risk reduction activities through the implementation of end user priorities in line with the “Sendai Framework”, on a trial basis in several regions of the developing world (such as Latin America, South Asia and Southern Africa).  One of the main objectives of GEO-DARMA is to address critical issues related to DRR affecting most of the countries in a region through a series of end-to-end projects (initially demonstrators) that rely on the use of multiple source of observation data (space, in-situ, socio-economic, models outputs) in response to needs of the end user communities The methodology followed for defining and implementing has already been experimented and consolidated by CEOS and its partners, during the last four years with the CEOS disasters pilots, previously a GEO component and now a Community Activity (see GEO CA: Earth Observations for Disaster Risk Management). Main outcomes (information products) from each project will be defined and generated with the objective of improving the quality and accuracy of information made available to national and local decision-makers in political and socio-economic sectors, to implement disaster risk reduction and resilience measures, during all DRM phases, whenever those products and services require satellite EO combined with other sources of data (in-situ ground observations, socio-economic, model outputs).

Activities for the period

Three phases are foreseen; the following durations are indicative and will be confirmed at the kick-off (KO). It should be noted that it is foreseen that some demonstrator projects might start earlier than other. That means that the three phases may overlap:

  1. Concept phase: Definition of the regions to be considered in GEO-DARMA;
  2. Prototyping phase: Definition of pilot projects. Each individual pilot project will build on strong elements from existing initiatives and choosing those elements most likely to be scalable at a regional and global level. Once the usefulness of the implemented prototypes has been demonstrated in a few countries, the extension to neighbouring areas could be envisaged whenever applicable;
  3. Operational phase: For each project, around the end of the Prototyping phase, the need to transition from a prototype to a sustainable solution will be assessed depending on the success of the prototype, on the request from the user community and on the availability of the necessary funding (transition and long term operations).

User engagement

The engagement of the main stakeholders at regional level (the Regional Institutions) will be key to the success of GEO-DARMA as they are the ones that will identify the most critical issues to be solved in each selected region. One of the main objectives of GEO-DARMA will be to connect with potential users and identifying use cases around the end of the Concept phase when recommendations from the Regional Institutions will be available.  Each project will involve data providers, and intermediate and end users (data & information practitioners, regional institutions, governmental agencies, local decision makers, and scientists).

Future plans

Long-term outcomes of GEO-DARMA are to foster the use of EO data and EO-based risk information by end users and to increase awareness within donor agencies (e.g. The World Bank, Regional development banks) of the promise of EO solutions. EO-related capacity building is a key challenge in many developing countries. GEO-DARMA includes a capacity building component both at the outset, from the project initiators towards early pilot countries, and throughout the project, as knowledge gained in the early phases is transferred between pilot countries and the GEO-DARMA effort is extended from early adopters to other countries in region.


Each stakeholder engaged in the GEO-DARMA Initiative will be requested to actively contribute to the various phases on a voluntary basis with contributions in-kind.

  • Concept phase:  this initial phase is a study phase that will require each actor to allocate enough time to generate and review documents, participate in monthly teleconferences, and participate in a final GEO-DARMA workshop.  During this workshop, all the recommended projects will be analysed and decisions will be made regarding which of them to start;
  • Prototyping phase: the number and nature of projects to be started will depend on the recommendations made by the Regional Institutions, on their assessment by the GEO-DARMA contributors and on the resources that can be allocated by the potential implementers. The series of projects will be defined at the end of the Concept phase and only at that time will it be possible to evaluate what specific resources will be needed for each project;
  • Operational phase:  International financial institutions and donor agencies will play a critical role to ensure a smooth transition from prototyping to operations, and their support of capacity building activities will be essential to ensure sustainability;
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) will support the Point of Contact, a DRM Expert (via an ESA contract) being hired only for GEO-DARMA for an initial period of two years. One of his/her initial tasks will be to engage with the key Regional Institutions.



Participating Organizations: CEOS.

Linkages across the Work Programme

Initiatives: GEOSS-EVOLVE.

Community Activities: Earth Observations for Disaster Risk Management.

Leadership & Contributors (this list is being populated)




Implementing Entity



Ivan Petiteville