Iran: The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) approved Iran’s Disaster Center Proposal. However, some experts believe that it may boost its ballistic capabilities. First time in 2006, Iran proposed the disaster centre but the US successfully blocked it until now.
The ESCAP is a self-described “regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region.” Its membership includes 62 nations like China, India, Pakistan, Russia and North Korea. Its mandate covers a huge swath of territory, from Turkey across the Pacific. There are a sprinkling of western nations and their commonwealth allies on the ESCAP roster, including France, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the US.
Establishment of the centre was not mentioned in the ESCAP press release. It said that the commission “adopted a set of resolutions on issues ranging from bridging wide development and infrastructure gaps within the region, to cooperation for energy security and disaster preparedness.”
The controversial facility is described in ESCAP records as a “regional centre for information, communication and space technology-enabled disaster management In the Islamic Republic of Iran,” to be installed as a “subsidiary body” of ESCAP. Its aim, according to a detailed Iranian proposal supporting their plan, is to enhance early warning of impending calamities and provide data collection and analysis for disaster recovery, among other things.
The Iranian document cites the country’s relatively low capability in sending and receiving satellite observation data, especially in disaster recovery situations, as a reason to support the institution, in order to fill “gaps” in regional coverage. According to ESCAP’s Executive Secretary, Noeleen Heyzer, despite the references to space-satellite technology in the Commission’s documents, “the focus of the centre is on disaster related information sharing and does not have a role with regard to space or satellite technology.”
Meanwhile, a US statement argued that the Iranian proposal “did not clearly articulate a vision for the centre, define existing gaps the centre would fill, identify the geographic focus of the centre, explain how the centre would work with existing bodies to avoid overlap and duplication of effort, or set out the human and technological resources needed to operate the centre to fulfil its mission.”
Source: Fox News