CEOS Development Environment

Sustainable Development Goals

Since 2016, CEOS has committed efforts to support the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This began in the form of an ad-hoc team, which transitioned to the CEOS SDG Coordination Group in 2021. This smaller group includes representatives from the Systems Engineering Office (SEO), former and current SIT Chair teams, and the CEO. The implementation of this coordination group is being led by the SEO, leveraging existing CEOS expertise to deliver current work, such as technical reports for the four sub-indicators, provide strategic direction, and assess and coordinate any future external requests. This federated approach is outlined in the CEOS SDG Strategic Implementation post-2021.

In collaboration with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), CEOS co-authored the “Earth Observations in Support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” report to underscore the potential role of Earth observations in supporting the global Indicator framework for the SDGs.

A successful sustainable development agenda requires effective and global partnerships for implementation. This report describes how GEO and CEOS Agencies work with governments, academia, scientists, and the private sector to develop such partnerships for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

CEOS has also prepared a document to guide its activity in support of the SDGs: “What CEOS can do to support the U.N. 2030 Agenda and the SDGs”.

CEOS, through its SDG Coordination Group, received one of the 2023 GEO SDG Awards in the ‘GEO Participating Organization’ category at GEO Week 2023. This recognition reflects CEOS’s accomplishments over the past five years, including the promotion of the value of satellite data and the provision of useful materials and technical user guides to enhance data access and uptake.

Dave Borges (SEO, NASA) and Flora Kerblat (CSIRO) accepted the GEO Participating Organisation SDG Award on behalf of the SDG Coordination Group.

Feature Page: CEOS and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

CEOS has created a feature site to look at these priorities in more detail and to showcase the requirements; stakeholders; relevant missions; and tools, services, and derived products for each of these target SDG Indicators.

In addition, we have recently added a new table of EO enabling infrastructures that support SDGs. Check out the summary of those tools and their links.

The page can be accessed here.


CEOS has developed Earth observation ‘Support Sheets’ for four SDG indicators, to help countries utilise EO data for reporting to the SDG Framework. The EO support sheets cover relevant missions, sensors, methodology and tools available for reporting against each specific indicator. The support sheets are reviewed by experts annually, with updates online alongside CEOS Plenary in October or November.

In 2023, the SEO developed an Open Data Cube examples notebook specifically tailored for SDG applications, providing a valuable resource for stakeholders interested in leveraging Earth observation data for sustainable development efforts.

The CEOS SDG Coordination Group is also exploring further initiatives, including:

  • Supporting external requests such as the development of  UNCCD Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Good Practice Guidance (GPG) reports.
  • Foster internal collaborations such as SDG capacity building efforts in collaboration with WGCapD, exploring biodiversity-related activities (new Ecosystem Extent Task Team).
  • Creating additional communications material and expanding outreach activities.
  •  Deepening engagement with UN Agencies, either Custodian (UNEP, FAO, UNCCD) for SDG reporting, or at the strategic level (United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) IAEG-SDGs Working Group Geospatial Information (WGGI), contributing to a paper outlining the use of EO data in the Framework.
  • Identifying additional SDG Targets and/or Indicators for CEOS to support when requests arise, further expanding its contribution to global sustainability efforts.

In 2022, CEOS published a series of articles highlighting CEOS support for the SDGs, which can be found here:

  • CEOS Support to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • CEOS Support to SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation
  • CEOS Support to SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities 
  • CEOS Support to SDG 14: Life Below Water 
  • CEOS Support to SDG 15: Life on Land 
  • CEOS Support to SDG 2: Zero Hunger 

A video was developed to conclude and summarise the series.

CEOS Earth Observation Handbook: 2018 Edition

The 2018 Special Edition of the Earth Observation Handbook – Satellite Earth Observations in Support of the Sustainable Development Goals – is the third thematic EO Handbook (preceded by the EO Handbooks on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate). Coordinated by ESA on behalf of the CEOS Ad Hoc Team on SDGs, with valuable contributions from CEOS Agencies experts including NASA, JAXA, CSIRO, GEO and its Initiative on SDGs (EO4SDG), and the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), this 100-page Handbook promotes and showcases the contribution of Earth observations to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, its goals and targets, and to the SDG Global Indicator Framework.

Digital Earth Africa SDG Notebooks

Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa) provides a routine, reliable and operational service, using Earth observations and the Open Data Cube platform to deliver decision-ready products enabling policy makers, scientists, the private sector and civil society to address social, environmental and economic changes on the continent and develop an ecosystem for innovation across sectors.

DE Africa hosts Jupyter Notebooks that can be used to address real world problems and contribute to the Global Indicator Framework. The notebooks on the page linked below demonstrate how DE Africa data and services can be used to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

Digital Earth Africa Services and Tools for Sustainable Development Goals

Leadership & Contact

The SDG Coordination Group has strategic guidance from the SIT Chair Team, with implementation led by the Systems Engineering Office (SEO), with ongoing support from CSIRO. The group consists of a small number of thematic experts, who aim to coordinate inputs from their thematic areas to contribute to the larger CEOS support for the SDGs. Please contact the SEO and current SIT Chair with any questions, including on how to contribute.