Fostering a deeper partnership with NASA

31 Jul 2013

Director General of ICIMOD David Molden and NASA Administrator Charles Jr. Bolden held talks on 12 July as part of efforts to further boost professional relations between the two organizations.

ICIMOD is SERVIR’s partner organization in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, and SERVIR-Himalaya helps strengthen ICIMOD as an authoritative regional resource center on geospatial information and Earth observation applications tailored to the needs of the HKH people.

Meeting at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC, David Molden thanked NASA for its valuable scientific support for the ongoing strategic progammes of ICIMOD.

ICIMOD DG making a courtesy call with the NASA Administrator

The meeting touched upon various components of SERVIR-Himalaya implementation – the science applications, small grants, capacity building, and outreach programmes as well as international collaboration with the Group on Earth Observation (GEO). ICIMOD’s Strategic Framework was presented at the meet and possible linkages with NASA’s other applied science initiatives were discussed.

The DG of ICIMOD was accompanied by the SERVIR-Himalaya team comprising Basanta Shrestha, Birendra Bajracharya, and MSR Murthy. The ICIMOD team visited NASA SERVIR Coordination Office at the Marshal Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for a series of meetings. The team also visited the NASA Rocket Center and Marshall Space Flight Center and got acquainted with ISERV – the new NASA test-bed camera aboard the International Space Station.

NASA Administrator Charles Jr. Bolden appreciated ICIMOD as a SERVIR regional hub and the efforts it made in promoting earth observation through active regional cooperation.

David Molden said SERVIR is a very active and lively programme within ICIMOD. “They contribute important pieces – satellite data and applications – to the puzzle, and ICIMOD takes it all further along to promote climate change adaptation in the region. This visit has opened my eyes to even more possibilities for SERVIR to help us make a difference for the people of Hindu Kush Himalayas,” he said.

Basanta Shrestha said the meeting allowed them to “think through 2014 and beyond.” For example, discussions led to the realization that a SERVIR Applied Sciences Team (AST) project related to flood forecasting in the HKH region would perfectly complement an existing ICIMOD programme. The AST project can add satellite data to the in situ data ICIMOD is already providing with regards to flood risks in the area, making the analyses and predictions more accurate.

The SERVIR initiative integrates satellite observations, ground-based data and forecast models to monitor and forecast environmental changes and to improve response to natural disasters. It is supported by NASA and the US Agency of International Development (USAID).

Meeting at NASA SERVIR Coordination Office

Visit to Rocket Center, Huntsville