Background

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.

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 this Ad Hoc Team to coordinate and drive CEOS activities in support of the UNSDGs, through GEO and other pathways.