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On October 24-25, the Association of American Geographers (AAG) hosted a stakeholder workshop in Washington, D.C., as a key component of the FALCON project. The project, which has received seed funding from the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as part of the Eye on Earth Disaster Management Special Initiative (SI), is focused on supporting spatial data infrastructures for disaster management and risk reduction in the MENA (Middle East-North Africa) region.

The workshop brought together 25 experts and leaders from government agencies, NGOs, international organizations, universities, and the private sector. Featured speakers and panelists represented the Federal Geographic Data Committee; the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security; the U.S. Geological Survey; World Resources Institute; the United Nations Environment Programme; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Clarion University; Deloitte; Esri; the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs; Ushahidi; and the World Bank.

Douglas Richardson, Executive Director of the AAG, and Huda Petra Shamayleh of AGEDI delivered opening remarks at the workshop and both played a lead role throughout the event. Costis Toregas of George Washington University and John Wertman of the AAG, Facilitator and Chair respectively of the Disaster Management SI, also helped guide the proceedings.

Presentations and panels at the workshop focused on the Eye on Earth program and the FALCON project; U.S. spatial data infrastructure resources; U.S. and international support for global disaster management and risk reduction efforts; emerging trends in geographic technologies used for disaster management; and the role of a global geospatial health network for disaster relief.

Participants also contributed ideas for the FALCON Roadmap of recommendations for SDI implementation in the region as well as discussed opportunities related to the 2015 Eye on Earth Summit, which will be held in Abu Dhabi in October of next year. Presentation materials are posted on the AAG’s Eye on Earth website: http://eoe.aag.org/. For information on the upcoming 2015 Eye on Earth Summit: Informed Decisions to Sustain our World, see http://www.eoesummit.org/. For more information on the EOE AAG FALCON project, contact John Wertman at jwertman [at] aag [dot] org or Candice Luebbering at cluebbering [at] aag [dot] org.