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GDIN 1998 Report

Report of the 1998 Washington Conference on The Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN)

This page contains the formal international report of the July 16/17, 1998 Meeting of Disaster Experts at the US Department of State, Washington, DC., as drafted and voted on July 17. For background on the meeting, as well as documents used to prepare participants, go to Background.

Another related conference will be held in May 1999 per a decision of the 1998 meeting. Look for material in " Preparations for 1999 Meeting of Disaster Experts." Mexico was chosen for this conference. Turkey and Australia have also volunteered to host conferences in 2000.

We have published a list of participants and others interested in the global phase of GDIN. 222 Disaster Experts and other officials attended the July 16/17 Meeting of Disaster Experts. In addition, we have developed a list server and other products to both help participants communicate with each other and to prepare for the 1999 meeting. We are also publishing papers submitted by participants.

On the last day of the conference, a quorum of participants agreed to the following conclusions, by voice vote.

Conclusions of the July 1998 Washington GDIN Conference:

  1. Participants welcomed the US Initiative, noted there is a clear and demonstrable need for a Global Disaster Information Network and agreed that the concepts and approaches should be further refined and developed, on a priority basis, with a view to taking concrete steps on beginning to implement such a network within the next year.
  2. GDIN should operate as a broad global partnership involving governments, international organizations, NGO's, academic and research institutions, the media and other entities, to include businesses and citizen groups, engaged in disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation at all levels. This partnership should be as inclusive as possible.
  3. As a next step towards refining the concept, conference participants agree to prepare a series of discussion papers exploring in detail specific aspects of a possible GDIN.
  4. They will be posted on the Conference web site and list server, open for comment and suggested changes.
  5. The experts will meet again early in 1999 to review the papers formally and decide on concrete implementing measures.
  6. Responsibility for preparation of these discussion papers has been assigned to specific participants in the Conference. They are encouraged, to the extent possible, to form working groups of experts to examine the assigned issue-areas, and otherwise to consult widely among Conference participants.
  7. The United States Government, as the convening authority of the Conferences, indicated preparedness to act as the overall coordinator of these next steps. This will include the posting of papers and comments on the Conference web site and list server. US Department of State. Managing the process will be Larry Winter Roeder, Jr, MS, Policy Adviser on Disaster Managment.
  8. Papers are to be prepared on the following topics:

    • A potential framework for GDIN defining its purpose, priorities, and major elements. This would lead to formulation of what would be, in essence, a draft strategic plan for GDIN.
      Canada and the US Department of State
    • Developing and improving Internet linkages among existing disaster databases, to ensure rapid and comprehensive connectivity among sources and consumers of disaster information.
      US GDIN Team

    • Measures to be taken to help ensure the quality, reliability and usability of information on GDIN.
      UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance/ReliefWeb OCHA
    • Fostering better communication between providers and users and improving understanding of each others' needs in the field of disaster information.
      US Department of State
    • Steps to integrate information from a variety of sources so as to facilitate prompt and sound decision-making.
      US GDIN Team
    • How to make available to appropriate users critical information from all possible sources. Lead responsibility.
      US GDIN Team
    • Measures to improve the flow of critical information to and from disaster-prone regions with poor or disrupted communications capabilities.
      OCHA, Geneva and Pacific Grove Fire Department, Pacific Grove, California
    • Definition and description of regional pilot projects to demonstrate the potential added value of GDIN in different parts of the world, and to identify problems to be overcome.
      US GDIN Team and US Department of State.
    • Measures to standardize and harmonize disaster information on GDIN.
      UNHCR

    • The provision of disaster information to the general public and the media.
      University of Pittsburgh

For comments on this document, email Larry Roeder, Policy Advisor on Disaster Management, IO/PPC, US Department of State, www.gdin.org , email lroeder@gdin.org