CERN has an agreement with United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), under which it has been hosting since 2001 the UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT). This is the sole UN programme dedicated to providing the UN system and sister agencies with operational satellite applications for emergency relief, peacekeeping, vulnerability reduction and post-crisis recovery. The programme supports all UN agencies involved in these activities, and serves as a main interface between the UN system and space community.
CERN hosts UNOSAT map production facilities and provides computing capacity guaranteeing UNOSAT ability to develop, host and deliver sophisticated satellite imagery. Preferential links to some major satellite operators and data providers enable UNOSAT to acquire and quickly process imagery in response to humanitarian emergencies in the shortest turn-around time possible. UNOSAT benefits from the very powerful IT infrastructure deployed by CERN, while consuming a very limited fraction of these very valuable resources and offering a non-high-energy physics test bed for the Grid.
UNOSAT has participated in a number of highly visible events together with CERN, such as the World Summit on the Information Society, and the World Conference on Vulnerability Reduction in Kobe, where special support from CERN to UNOSAT at the occasion of the great Indian Ocean tsunami was widely advertised globally, among others.