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.
More is available on our Data Supply Analysis and Strategy document, but we consider that CEOS has the following roles and activities in support of the UN SDG process:
- CEOS coordinates civilian Earth observation satellite missions operated by their member agencies, and improves satellite data access and utility for public good world-wide.
- CEOS needs to ensure that suitably identified core satellite datasets are accessible and used for SDG planning, monitoring, assessment and reporting, and continue to be acquired in a consistent and continuous manner, and made easily and openly accessible to national governments and agencies.
- CEOS is a critical part of the GEO federated approach on SDGs. CEOS responds to satellite data requests from GEO EO4SDG and other GEO flaships, initiatives and communities active on SDGs.
- CEOS has decided to focus on satellite data supply for 4 (3 primary indicators + 1 on coastal pollution) SDG indicators:
- 6.6.1 (Water): Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time
- 11.3.1 (Urbanization): Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate
- 14.1.1 (Coastal pollution): Index of coastal eutrophication and floating plastic debris density [newly added to the list due to its progress with GEO]
- 15.3.1 (Land): Proportion of land that is degraded over total land area
To better streamline our activities, the SDG AHT has decided to create 4 sub-teams in relation to these indicators (3 under the AHT, and the one on 14.1.1 will be overseen by COAST as a pilot project).
To summarize, we have identified some key areas of CEOS to support SDG:
- Analysis of satellite data supply from CEOS core missions for the primary SDG indicators, which includes identification of observation gaps and solutions to be proposed and discussed with relevant CEOS Agencies
- Increased ARD-products provided by Agencies according to CEOS standards
- CEOS and CEOS Agencies contributions to the GEO SDG EO Toolkits development for the 4 primary SDG indicators:
- Provision of CEOS-developed ARD standards and coordination,
- methodological guidelines and best practices,
- EO enabling infrastructures (e.g. jupyter notebooks for Open DataCube) and EO Quality Standards