On January 24, 2023, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Robert F. Godec, Hans Guttman, Executive Director of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), and Dr. Karen M. St. Germain, Earth Science Division Director, NASA launched SERVIR-Southeast Asia (SERVIR-SEA), an $11.2 million ADPC-USAID-NASA initiative to help communities across Southeast Asia adapt to regional and transboundary climate issues and mitigate the impacts of climate change and disasters.
SERVIR-SEA builds on the success of SERVIR-Mekong, implemented by ADPC. From 2014 to 2022, SERVIR-Mekong developed 21 decision support tools, trained over 1,500 people, mobilized $500,000 of additional investment, and influenced the adoption of four policies to ensure that the 250 million residents of the Lower Mekong Region are better prepared to respond to the impacts of climate change.
Photo: Hans Guttman, Executive Director of ADPC speaking at the SERVIR-SEA Launch Event
"To sustain and institutionalize this capacity that has been carefully built since 2014, ADPC will integrate SERVIR-SEA into a suitable existing regional platforms such as the Regional Consultative Committee for Disaster Risk Management (RCC) - an official organ of ADPC," said Hans Guttman, Executive director of ADPC. "This will enable SERVIR-SEA to become the go-to satellite data and geospatial information provider in the region."
Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Robert F. Godec speaking at the SERVIR-SEA Launch Event
"This new program expands the geographic focus of SERVIR in Southeast Asia and deepens our engagement with regional institutions to accelerate climate resilience," said Ambassador Godec, speaking at the launch event. "SERVIR-Southeast Asia will go a long way to ensure that communities and businesses throughout Thailand and across ASEAN are not only resilient to the impacts of climate change, but prosper in spite of these challenges."
Photo: Dr. Karen M. St. Germain, Director, NASA Earth Sciences Division speaking at the SERVIR-SEA Launch Event
"This effort builds on eight years of NASA and USAID investment, working with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (APDC) and their network of partners, to bring the latest NASA Earth science information to benefit people in this region," said NASA Earth Science Division Director Dr. Karen M. St. Germain at the launch event.
ADPC implemented SERVIR-Mekong in close collaboration with the Mekong River Commission. "The cooperation between the Mekong River Commission and SERVIR Mekong has resulted in many positive outcomes. Our collaboration has enhanced the accuracy and lead time of the MRC’s flood forecasting," said Mekong River Commission Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Anoulak Kittikhoun. "As climate change intensifies and development accelerates, we will work together to get better and better information into the hands of farmers and communities in order to make them more resilient and adaptable."
Photo: Group Photo of High School students with Hans Guttman, Executive Director of ADPC, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Robert F. Godec, Dr. Pakorn Apaphant, Executive Director of GISTDA and Dr. Karen M. St. Germain, Director, NASA Earth Sciences Division during the SERVIR-SEA Launch Event
At the launch event, Ambassador Godec, Hans Guttman, and Dr. St. Germain also engaged with highschool students from nearby communities to raise awareness about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities and the use of space technologies among youth and other underrepresented groups. The event, held at the Space Inspirium–Thailand’s first space museum and part of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA)–included a demonstration of SERVIR-Mekong’s decision support tools.
SERVIR-Southeast Asia is one of five global hubs under SERVIR - a collaboration between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that helps regional institutions, governments and citizens use publicly-available satellite technologies to address climate-related challenges - implemented by ADPC.