The 2nd CUHK ISEIS-United Nations Internship Programme Concluded with Success
The Institute of Space and Earth Information Science (ISEIS) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) of the United Nations (UN) have jointly launched an internship programme since 2013. CUHK postgraduate students are offered internship opportunities in the Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division (IDD) in the headquarters of ESCAP in Bangkok, to assist in disaster management and prevention work in the Asia-Pacific region. The second batch of students has recently completed their internship: Mr. LIU Houhou, Mr. SHI Jiacheng, Ms. LI Yang, Mr. ZHANG Linxiao, Ms. ZHANG Mengdi, Ms YANG Shujing and Mr. YU Jielin. This internship programme is strongly supported by Hong Kong Shun Lung Yan Chak Foundation.
The officers of IDD deeply appreciated the contributions made by the CUHK students and hoped that more students would join the internship programme in future. Prof. LIN Hui, Director of ISEIS, CUHK remarked, ‘Hong Kong as an international city has the obligation to support international disaster management work. The internship programme between CUHK and UN gives CUHK students a very good opportunity to broaden their perspective and better understand the work of UN. It was also a valuable experience in their lifetime in which they could understand different cultures.’
During the interning period, the interns applied their expertise learnt from CUHK to support their works in ESCAP-IDD, including: 1) Design and development of the website of IDD for introducing the current status of geographic information platform in the Asia-Pacific countries. 2) Information collection of regional technological innovation research, including public policies on economy, trade, information technology and agriculture in different UN divisions in the past decade. 3) Investigation of regional and global development of risk and disaster management. Firstly, the influences of disasters such as Tsunami, tropical cyclone, flooding and earthquake in the Asia-Pacific cities were investigated by sorting the cities according to damage levels, to support further studies on urban planning. Secondly, the socio-economic loss caused by natural disasters in ESCAP member countries in the past three decades was also analysed. 4) Development of risk and disaster management in specific countries. For instance, the precipitation in Sri Lanka was analysed with the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to monitor drought. 5) Review of the applications of remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) in agriculture, forest, land use/land cover, urban planning, environmental conservation, oceanography and natural resources management. 6) Administrative work for various meetings held in ESCAP.
The seven postgraduate students leant a lot from the internship and were able to apply their knowledge in GIS and communication skills in a multi-cultural setting. They had also better understood the vision and mission of UN by discussing global and regional problems with people from different countries, and tried to come up with solutions.