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Earth Observation for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO for SDGs)



The international community recently engaged in an ambitious universal agenda on sustainable development with the aim to end poverty, promote prosperity and people’s well-being while protecting the environment. The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development ratified by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, is a new transformative and integrated development agenda that promotes shared economic prosperity, social development and environmental protection. In total 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 Targets have been adopted by the world leaders and will drive the agenda on sustainable development for the next 15 years, for both the United Nations and its Member States. The UN System has established a range of formal processes for achieving the sustainable development goals and monitoring progress towards the SDG Targets, with a particular focus to supporting the least developed economies and leaving no one behind. A robust monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the SDGs requires a solid framework of indicators, and consequently good and reliable statistical data, to measure, monitor and report progress, inform policy and ensure accountability of all stakeholders. The United Nations has adopted a Global Indicator Framework of 232 SDG Indicators that collectively provide a management tool for countries to implement development strategies and report on progress toward the SDG Targets.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development stressed the importance of Geospatial Information and Earth Observations (including satellite observations) to inform the SDG Targets and Indicators. An effective monitoring of the SDG Indicators and reporting of the progresses towards the SDG Targets require the use of multiple types of data that go well beyond the traditional socioeconomical data that countries have been exploiting to assess their development policies. Satellite observations, with their global spatial coverage and high frequency of observations, prove essential in capturing important aspects of sustainable development and in particular the environmental dimension of the SDGs. An effective integration within national statistical systems can also significantly reduce the monitoring costs and consequently enable countries to meet their engagement to monitor and report progress on the Goals and Targets.

The main goal of the project was to support the efforts of the European Space Agency and its partners, essentially the Group on Earth Observations  (GEO) and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) to promote the use and showcase the utility of satellite Observations in the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development and in particular in the Global Indicator Framework.

The project conducted a number of key tasks that helped streamlining the EO community efforts in its collaborative engagement on SDGs. These tasks included a thorough study of the contributions of satellite Observations to the SDG Targets and to the SDG Global Indicator Framework; a review of methodological guidelines for a number of key SDG Indicators; a national showcase of the integration of satellite Observations in country monitoring and reporting on SDG Indicators (in partnership with the National Statistical Office and line ministries of the selected country); and an analysis of the cloud computing infrastructures required to facilitate the uptake of satellite observations by the SDG stakeholders both at global and country levels.


Sustainable Development
Prime contractor
  • GeoVille (AT)