The International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" was initiated by the European Space Agency and the Centre national d'études spatiales of France as a result of their proposal during UNISPACE III (1999). Many more space agencies have since joined. The Charter aims to provide a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery of value-added products free of charge, through authorized users, to those affected by major disasters.
In 2003 the Office for Outer Space Affairs was accepted as a cooperating body to the Charter. Beginning on the 1st July 2003, the Office set up a 24/7 hotline through which United Nations agencies can request data through the Charter to respond to emergency situations.
Additional information on the Charter can be found on the Charter website.