Sustainable Development Goals

The Ad Hoc Team on Sustainable Development Goals (AHT-SDG)

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At the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Summit on September 25th, 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality, and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

Because Earth observations provide critical data for official statistics that help address many of the SDGs, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is committed to organizing and realizing the potential of those data to advance the 2030 Agenda for the benefit of society through its Earth Observation for Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG) Initiative

As the “space arm” of GEO, we (CEOS) focus our coordination efforts around satellite Earth observations, which also contribute to the SDGs in specific ways.

To highlight the potential role for Earth observations for supporting the global Indicator framework for the SDGs, CEOS & GEO put together the “Earth Observations in Support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” report. A successful sustainable development agenda will require effective partnerships for implementation. This report describes how GEO, CEOS Agencies will work with governments, academia, scientists, and the private sector to develop such partnerships for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Prior to co-producing this booklet, GEO also produced a compelling 4-page leaflet, entitled: Earth Observations and Geospatial Information: Supporting Official Statistics in Monitoring the SDGs*.

Examples from the leaflet include how Earth observations contribute to:

  • SDG-2 (Zero Hunger) via crop monitoring
  • SDG-6 (Clean Water & Sanitation) via population density and wastewater leakage data,
  • SDG-11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities) via air quality data
  • SDG-15 (Life on Land) via forest cover data from satellites 

Click the images below for details on those examples, or take a look at the flyer itself.

















*The GEO leaflet was produced for a dedicated side-meeting at the 47th Session of the UN Statistical Commission (Statistical-Geospatial Integration Forum) at the Geospatial Information and Earth Observations: Supporting Official Statistics in Monitoring the SDGs Session on March 7th, 2016 in New York City. 

Recent Meetings & Events

AHT-SDG-1: The AHT-SDG team recently met in Washington DC from March 8-9, 2017 to plan the way forward for the main activities and strategic directions for the AHT-SDG.

Learn more…


At the 31st Meeting of the CEOS Strategic Implementation Team (SIT-31), CEOS emphasized its role in supporting the UNSDG process:

Decision 3: The CEOS way forward on the UNSDGs will be undertaken in conjunction with GEO & the UN Initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), supplemented by a top-down dialogue with relevant UN Agencies and with individual CEOS Agencies making connections within their governments.

A number of programs implemented by CEOS Agencies, at various scales, are already showing the high value and contribution of Earth observation to help monitor some key goals and indicators.

At the 30th CEOS Plenary in 2016, CEOS agreed to the establishment of an Ad Hoc Team to coordinate and drive CEOS activities in support of the UNSDGs, through GEO and other pathways. The AHT SDG will submit Terms of Reference for approval at SIT-32. 

This beautiful animation shows what the world could look like if we achieve some the Global Goals by 2030.

Contact Us

Please contact our AHT-SDG Co-Leads with comments/questions: