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international responses to global societal challenges


→ supporting the uptake of satellite-based environmental information in IFIs programs

ESA has been collaborating with the main International Financing Institutions (IFIs – World Bank, IFAD, Asian Development Bank, European Investment Bank) since 2008. These activities have sought to demonstrate the benefits (both quantitative & qualitative) that EO can deliver in wide range of individual development aid projects implemented by the IFIs, initially through limited, small-scale demonstrations of EO-based information. These initial experiences have raised interest within the IFIs to explore a longer-term, more strategic approach to the integration of EO in their activities, which is now being implemented through the EO4SD (EO for Sustainable Development) initiative. For example, both the WB and ADB have signed strategic Memorandums of Intent (MoI) with ESA to collaborate more closely in 10 priority thematic areas: Urban Development, Marine Resources & Coastal Environment, Agriculture & Rural Development, Disaster Risk Reduction, Energy & Extractives, Water Resources Management, Forest Management, Ecosystems Services, Fragile & Conflict States, and Climate Resilience & Proofing.The longer-term objective is to ‘mainstream’ or ‘operationalise’ the use satellite-based information for International Development projects and activities in partnership with the key stakeholders (International Financing Institutions and Environmental Conventions), with the goal of achieving sustainable transfer of EO; planned and provisioned in the financial resources and working practices for all phases of international development projects.


→ promoting use of EO for monitoring and reporting on Agenda 2030 SDGs

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly stresses the importance of Geo-spatial Information and Earth Observations (including satellite observations) to inform the SDG Targets and Indicators. EO together with modern data processing and big data analytics, offer unprecedented opportunities to modernise the national statistical systems and consequently to make a quantum leap in the capacities of countries to efficiently track all facets of sustainable development. In this context, ESA is conducting initial activities to promote the use and showcase the utility of satellite EO (including but not limited to the Sentinels of the European Copernicus Program) in particular in the Global Indicator Framework adopted by the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) at its 48th session in March 2017.


→ starting dialogue and coordination with national development aid activities

Following interest expressed in 2017 by the overseas aid agencies of France and Germany (AFD, GIZ), an initial workshop was held in ESA/ESRIN in January 2018 to explore current status and experiences of using EO-based information with several EU national aid agencies and ministries (further details on the participants and outcome here). Building on this interesting event, it is now planned to hold a more extensive consultation with the EU development aid sector from across Europe, together with representatives from the national space agencies/government departments, the OECD and DG-DEVCO. This important consultation will take place 11th & 12th September 2018 at ESA’s centre for Earth Observation, ESRIN located in Frascati, Rome, (Italy) and will focus more on the future actions & planning required to grow the use of EO in the development aid sector.