Satellite Earth Observation (EO) technology has major potential to inform and facilitate international development work in a globally consistent manner. Since 2008, the European Space Agency has worked closely together with the International Financing Institutions (IFIs) and their client countries to harness the benefits of EO in their operations and resources management.
EO4SD – Earth Observation for Sustainable Development – is a new ESA initiative which aims to achieve a step increase in the uptake of satellite-based environmental information in the IFIs regional and global programs. It will follow a systematic, userdriven approach in order to meet longer-term, strategic geospatial information needs in the individual developing countries, as well as international and regional development organizations.
Although a wide range of issues have been identified where EO can have impact, the EO4SD initiative will begin by addressing three top-priority thematic areas:
- Urban Development
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Water Resources Management
The activities will be implemented in the 2016–2018 timeframe, with Phase I (2016) dedicated to the stakeholders’ engagement and requirements consolidation, and the Phase II (2017–2018) focusing on EO information production, delivery and capacitybuilding with the users to ensure that the information brings benefit to operational activities.