Meetings & Events

High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (July, 2018)

From L to R: Trevor Dhu (Digital Earth Australia), Adam Lewis (acting Chief Scientist at Geoscience Australia), Stephanie Auckens (DFAT), Chris Tinning (Chief Economist, DFAT), Julie Boulton (Assistant Director, Global Development Policy Section, DFAT), Darrell Wade (founder of Intrepid Travel), The Hon Gillian Bird, Duane Fraser (Indigenous community engagement specialist), and Neil Sims (CSIRO L&W).

From L to R: Trevor Dhu (Digital Earth Australia), Adam Lewis (acting Chief Scientist at Geoscience Australia), Stephanie Auckens (DFAT), Chris Tinning (Chief Economist, DFAT), Julie Boulton (Assistant Director, Global Development Policy Section, DFAT), Darrell Wade (founder of Intrepid Travel), The Hon Gillian Bird, Duane Fraser (Indigenous community engagement specialist), and Neil Sims (CSIRO L&W).

The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development took place from 9 to 18 July 2018 in New York City at the United Nations Headquarters. The event included a 3-day Ministerial meeting with the central theme: Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.

The HLPF was also an opportunity to review progress towards the SDGs, with a particular focus on 5 goals:

  • 6 – water sanitation
  • 7- energy; 11-sustainable cities
  • 12- sustainable consumption
  • 15- life on land
  • 17 – partnerships)

This year, Australia was one of several countries that gave the UN a Volunteer National Review Report, which included information on Digital Earth Australia and the Open Data Cube project that both use and promote the use of satellite data.

The Australian Government (DFAT, GA, CSIRO) took this opportunity to organize, together with other international partners such as GPSDD, GEO, space agencies and countries, a special side-event focused on Earth observations and SDGs. This event was structured around a panel discussion (including representatives from Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Greece and Namibia) moderated by Dr. Claire Melamed (Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data) and Greg Scott (United Nations Statistics Division, Global Geospatial Information Management), who both shared their experiences and  knowledge around “how Earth observation data will help them achieve the SDGs, the range of data and tools available, and opportunities to connect and collaborate to put the data to work.”

The panel discussion was then complemented by two hands-on workshops for practitioners, with inputs from CEOS Agencies representatives such as NASA, ESA, and CSIRO, as well as relevant UN Conventions and Bodies. The first workshop focused on “Financing Earth observation – building a business case to invest in EO”.  This focus addresses a key challenge for Earth observation practitioners who have plans to deploy their tools at scale. Experts from CSIRO, NASA, UK Catapult, and countries such as Samoa attended the event. 

The second workshop was about prioritizing Earth observations: “Getting started with Earth observation—identifying priority applications of Earth observation for your country”. This was another chance to hear in detail about the Earth observation needs and ambitions of attendees. 

The HLPF as a whole provided a fantastic opportunity to promote the value of Earth observation in the SDG process. Australia’s VNR and various thematic side-events (e.g. Big space data and the SDGs) helped countries realize the remarkable potential of Earth observations and satellite data for monitoring and achieving specific targets, improving their national policies/frameworks, and enhancing their sustainability.

SIT-33 (April, 2018)



On April 23rd  in Boulder, Colorado, USA at the University of Colorado, we organised a side-meeting just before the CEOS SIT-33 meeting, which was well attended by over 30 people from many CEOS Agencies.

We discussed our team’s latest achievements and activities with a focus on designing our future plans and presenting those plans to CEOS Principals (whether to continue as an AHT, prepare to become a formal CEOS Working Group, continue as the space arm of the EO4SDG initiative, etc.).

On April 25th, Alex Held (CSIRO) presented our latest key achievements since the Plenary, including our contributions to the recently published CEOS Earth Observation Handbook focused on the SDGs. He also presented possible paths forward for our team, the discussion of which will continue until the upcoming 2018 SIT Technical Workshop. 

GEO Week 2017 Side Meeting: Earth Observations in Service of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Our 4-hour side meeting at GEO Plenary, “Earth Observations in Service of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, was held at the Reagan Building in Washington DC. We structured this meeting around concrete updates and discussions for four distinct panel sessions, each one focused on a single Sustainable Development Goal (Goals 6, 11, 14, and 15). CEOS prepared and led the panel discussion for Goal 15, Life on Land, gathering key speakers from countries, space agencies, UN Custodian Agencies, and National Statistics organisations that spoke mostly to SDG Targets/Indicators 15.1.1 (forest cover) and 15.3.1 (land degradation). More side meeting outcomes and details will soon be made available on the EO4SDG websitegeo-group-photo

The 31st CEOS Plenary (October, 2017)

At the CEOS Plenary, CEOS Principals focus on making the key decisions needed to progress and direct priority CEOS initiatives, including those related to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In preparation for this, our Ad Hoc Team on Sustainable Development Goals (AHT SDG) hosted a pre-Plenary Side Meeting, during which we finalized our SDG AHT Implementation Plan and Plenary presentation.

Read more…

SIT-32 (April, 2017)

About 20 people convened for the AHT-SDG Side Meeting at the 32nd Meeting of the CEOS Strategic Implementation Team (SIT-32). During this meeting, we presented on the complexity of the UN SDG process (who is doing what), discussed where we want to go as a group, and our next steps.

Ultimately, as we take stock of the UN processes in place for SDG implementation and of existing participants and stakeholders, we will focus our activities around the unique role that CEOS can play as a coordinating body for the space community’s efforts to support the integration of satellite Earth observation in support of the full realisation of the SDGs.

We will also align our engagement with the UN SDG Agenda in the context of GEO (GEO Programme Board, GEO Engagement Strategy, GEO’s EO4SDGs initiative) and build on established relationships that CEOS Agencies have with the SDG custodian agencies and individual countries. GEO (Barbara Ryan) provided a very informative presentation on the GEO approach to the SDGs. Take a look at our AHT-SDG SIT-32 presentation, as well as our new Terms of Reference, for more information.

AHT-SDG-1 (March, 2017)

The AHT-SDG team 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…

The 30th CEOS Plenary (October, 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. View meeting documents and materials from the 30th CEOS Plenary. 

SIT-31 (April, 2016)

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.