My research project
Translation of remote sensing data into sustainable development indicators
The purpose of this study is to critically analyze the potential of Earth Observation (EO) to populate the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators and how satellites data can have considerable impact, for instance, delivering measurements and evaluation of progress towards SDGs.
In 2015, member countries of the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York with a main key feature in their post- agenda: ‘Leave no one behind’. These goals have 169 targets and 232 indicators which are based on the three pylons of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.
Data plays an important role in achieving the goals by 2030; to create new indicators and targets, and monitor the state of the countries. However, there are still gaps and challenges in obtaining data, especially in developing countries. One innovative way to fill the gaps is to use, earth observation.
The benefits of using satellites imagery are immense offering a wide variety of applications including measuring the land use change, managing the impact of natural disasters, monitoring the atmosphere and climate change.
Earth observation (from satellite, airborne, and in-situ sensors) provides accurate and reliable information on the state of the ecosystems and their changes over the time; significantly reduce the traditional monitoring cost, great accessibility (e.g. Sentinels), spatial coverage of measurements, availability (spatially, temporally and thematically), useful in places with poor data. But there are also challenges involved with using earth observation to populate indicators, especially with the more social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. Selected indicators and targets for several of the goals such as SDG-2, SDG-3, SDG-11, SDG-13, SDG-14, SDG-15 can be directly helped in part by using satellite remote sensing. To coordinate provision key earth observation variables to countries and the UN for monitoring the progress towards achieving the goals, agencies of the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS) are working closely with the Group on Earth Observation (GEO).