Monday, 7/26/00, 2000

TO: GDIN members

FROM: Larry Roeder, Jr., Executive Director, GDIN

SUBJECT: Invitation to a Discussion on the possibility of creating an Infectious Disease Working Group under the Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN)

This is a reminder memo. You should have received this invitation two weeks ago by email. Some additional information has been added.

Many participants since the first Washington, DC GDIN (Global Disaster Information Network Conference) in 1997 have seen infectious disease as a natural disaster, sometimes as a cause of another disaster, and a factor that can undermine economic and political stability. Some are also of the view that GDIN could help spur better use of report sensing and information sharing in this field. As a result, one of the proposals that came out of the GDIN2000 Conference in Ankara, Turkey was to create an Infectious Disease Working Group.

You are invited to join me in a discussion of this proposal on August 28 at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The main purpose will be to see if GDIN can provide added value.  If you agree that it will, then we need specific products for presentation at GDIN2001 in Canberra, Australia in March 2001. Further details on the room and time will be announced in early August. Please let me know ASAP if you will attend. My email is LROEDER@GDIN.ORG

An early supporter and participant in the GDIN project, USIP's Virtual Diplomacy Initiative will host our August 28th meeting at its Washington, D.C. headquarters as a way of promoting information-sharing in the prevention and management of, and response to humanitarian crises. The Initiative was established in 1996 to explore the impact of information and communications technologies (ICTs) on international conflict management, particularly on the institutional structures and operational effectiveness of entities engaged in crisis and conflict resolution, and to foster cooperation among conflict management practitioners using ICTs.

For more information about the Virtual Diplomacy Initiative, visit For details on what GDIN is doing in general, please go to

The meeting will take place from 10am to 5pm on August 28, 2000 at the United States Institute of Peace, 1200 17th Street, NW, Suite 200. For questions on directions, call Margarita S. Studemeister at 202-429-3850 or send her an email at Her fax number is 202-429-6063. Please also let Margarita know ASAP if you need any audio visual equipment or computers with special applications like power point, word perfect, etc.

The proposal, in its current form, is to do the following:

  1. Develop a Practical Statement on how GDIN could facilitate the sharing of information on infectious diseases as they relate to disasters, accounting for other existing statements. This needs to stress how GDIN might bring added value.
  2. Inventory infectious disease programs as they relate to disasters. This should be international in scope and listed on the GDIN website, which is www.gdin,org.  But it should also be narrow to those programs related to disasters, and contain a brief description of each program, with a contact name, phone, website, fax and email. We also need to see if an effective inventory already exists. If so, we would simply identify it on our web site and make the authors aware of GDIN. This exercise would also require the development of a paper noting if the programs are working well together. If they are not, we would want to see if GDIN be of help. We also might develop an inventory of programs that use remote sensing to deal with infectious diseases.
  3. Identification of information of operational value to disasters not already on the Internet. Some of the invited organizations have such information and are encouraged to share it. One such invited organization has told us that they will bring a CD-Rom of such data. Data we collect would either be placed on GDIN or on another appropriate web site, to be determined the group, i.e. ReliefWeb.
  4. Identify proposals for possible GDIN pilot projects.
  5. Identification of Two Working Group Coordinators, who will agree on a set of deliverables for GDIN2000, and how the effort as a whole will be reported to GDIN2000.
  6. Decide if a permanent Working Group is needed or an ad hoc body that develops a body of information and reports to the GDIN2001 Conference on its results. Regardless, the concept is to post the efforts of the Working Group on the GDIN Web site for consideration and comment by the entire GDIN Community.

The distribution list contains the names of recommended experts; but we would welcome others as well. If you wish to add others, please contact me. In fact, several others from CDC and other organizations have said they will attend.

Some administrative points:

  • The meeting you will attend is being held jointly by GDIN and the United States Institute of Peace.
  • As GDIN has only just started and has very limited funding, no financial support is provided for participation in the working group; however, this will be the only physical meeting, other than perhaps at GDIN 2001 in Canberra, Australia. I encourage the Working Group Coordinators to do all of their work by email and to post their results on the Internet. We can also offer up a Chat Room.