Beyond Borders: Satellite Applications for Humanitarian Emergencies

Beyond Borders: Satellite Applications for Humanitarian Emergencies [Mar/2023]

In August 2022, Caribou Space published the report “Beyond Borders: Satellite Applications for Humanitarian Emergencies” commissioned by the UK’s Humanitarian Innovation Hub, which is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The report provides an overview of satellite applications being used in humanitarian emergencies. A wide range of use cases have been identified for the understanding of hazards, assessment of vulnerabilities, and deployment of capabilities. However, the report also outlines shortcomings in the implementation of satellite technology for areas of emergency and availability of frameworks and regulations in the fast-changing environment of the sector to support users to their full potential.

The report provides a detailed breakdown of:

  • A categorisation of supply- and demand-side stakeholders of satellite technology for the humanitarian sector with examples;
  • A consolidated overview of examples where satellite technologies have been used effectively for humanitarian domains;
  • A landscape of over 500 humanitarian satellite applications;
  • Identification of key barriers to the adoption of satellite applications and potential interventions from the development community to overcome them;
  • A summary of two case studies from Asia-Pacific and East Africa to provide real-world insight from specific regions.

The report identifies satellite applications as a valuable source to address all major areas of humanitarian data gaps but puts unique emphasize on space’s ability to predict slow-developing crises, such as food insecurity due to weak crop yields. Therefore, Caribou Space recommends improving the awareness and acceptance of satellite applications among humanitarian actors to allow for a wider range of use cases.

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