Dr Jörg Szarzynski is Education Programme Director and Head of the EduSphere section, United Nations University
Dr Jörg Szarzynski holds a Diploma in Geography from the University of Bonn and a PhD in Physical Geography and Atmospheric Sciences from the Universities in Mannheim and Göttingen. He has broad expertise in climatology and remote sensing, global environmental change and sustainable development research, capacity-building and web-based data and information management.
His work experience also encompasses curriculum development, organisation of international seminars and workshops and lecturing within international training courses on remote sensing applications for Risk and Disaster Management in several African countries, especially in West, Eastern and Southern Africa. His research interests focus on intercultural training and innovative education concepts, the use of geospatial information technology for disaster risk reduction and emergency response preparedness, early warning systems, and disaster assessment and co-ordination within the United Nations System.
At UNU-EHS, Dr Szarzynski serves as Education Programme Director and Head of the EduSphere section. In this function he oversees all educational programmes at UNU-EHS, such as the Joint Master (MSc) on Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security with the University of Bonn, an intensive summer course on Advancing Disaster Risk Reduction to Enhance Sustainable Development in a Changing World and a comparable block course on Vulnerability and Disaster Risk Reduction in close co-operation with the University of the Free State (UFS) Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa (DiMTEC) in South Africa.
In addition, he supports two training modules on Disaster Risk Reduction in West Africa within the framework of the WASCAL Project (West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) in direct support of the Master programme on Climate Change and Human Security in Togo and the MSc on Climate Change and Education at the University of The Gambia. New training activity in Bogor, Indonesia took place in 2015 for the first time.
As Educational Officer he is also responsible for the development of training materials and e-learning modules as well as for the supervision of MSc and PhD students. In addition, the internship and the visiting scientist programme at UNU-EHS are co-ordinated within his section.
Dr Szarzynski is an official member of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team (http://www.unocha.org/what-we-do/coordination-tools/undac/overview). UNDAC is part of the international emergency response system for sudden onset emergencies and is administrated by the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). It is designed to help the United Nations and governments of disaster-affected countries during the first phase of a sudden-onset emergency.
Within the UNDAC system Dr Szarzynski supports the development of various functional training courses and takes in response co-ordination exercises and other related training events, as well as in national disaster response preparedness missions as part of a wider preparedness process by OCHA and partners.
Prior to joining UNU-EHS, Dr Szarzynski was a Senior Researcher at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn, Germany, where he also served as co-ordinator and lecturer at the Bonn International Graduate School for Development Research (BIGS-DR). Subsequent to ZEF, he joined the German Aerospace Center (DLR) where he was in charge of the co-ordination of capacity development activities within the German Indonesian-Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS). Later on, DLR seconded him as Senior Expert to the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). Within the team, he was principal desk officer for Africa responsible for relief activities after natural disasters, technical consultation, information management, collaborative network development and the cluster on health and climate change adaptation. He also contributed to the design and development of the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal, outreach activities, awareness-raising, and the conduction of Technical Advisory Missions officially requested at governmental level.