Earth Observations data in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - a booklet of GEO

Effective reporting of progress toward these UN Indicators require the use of multiple types of data, notably Earth observations (EO) and geospatial information (GI), and modern data processing techniques that are more appropriate to large volumes of EO data.

The Mexico City Ministerial Declaration (November 2015) recognizes that full and open access to Earth observation data, information and knowledge, is crucial for humanity as it faces unprecedented social, economic and environmental challenges. .

Earth observation and geospatial information include satellite, airborne, land- and marine based data, as well as model outputs. For several reasons, the integration of all these data can produce a quantum leap in how we monitor and track development and advance the well-being of our societies: 

  • It will expand monitoring capabilities at local, national, regional, and global levels.
  • It can significantly reduce the costs of monitoring the aspirations reflected in the Goals and Targets, and make SDG monitoring and reporting viable within the limited resources available to governments. 

The GEO booklet was developed to highlight the potential role earth observations can please to this purpose. 

Section 3 contains notably a number of case studies supplied by governments and agencies to demonstrate specific applications of Earth observations in relation to the SDGs and national ambitions, all connected to present GMES and Africa Regional Supported Projects. 

  • Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM);
  • Algal Bloom Early Warning Alert System;  
  • Flood Prediction System Using the Global Satellite Map of Precipitation (GSMaP);  
  • Global Mangrove Watch – Mapping Extent and Annual Changes in the Global Mangrove Cover;  
  • Earth Observation for Water-related Ecosystem Monitoring;  
  • Using Remote Sensing for Water Quality Monitoring of the Great Barrier Reef;  
  • Mapping Forest Cover Extent and Change, and Progressing Sustainable Forest Management;  
  • The Global Forest Observations Initiative and Space Agency Support to Forest Monitoring;  
  • Efforts Targeting Land Degradation to Achieve Neutrality.  

Section 4 is about Opportunities and Challenges:

  • Complement traditional sources (like ground or socio-economic data) when there is a lack of data;
  • Provide spatially and temporally denser information (on multiple scales, up to global);
  • improve frequency or richness of data;
  • Save money on traditional methods (survey methods can be time-consuming and expensive);
  • Provide the only viable option in relation to global Indicators (such as those currently tracked within the GEO global forests and agricultural monitoring initiatives);
  • Allow consistent and comparable measurements across different countries and regions.


About GEO: 
  • The Group on Earth Observations is a partnership of more than 100 national governments and in excess of 100 Participating Organizations that envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations.  
  • The intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations was established on 31 July 2003 in Washington, DC, US, by high-level representatives of 34 governments. GEO is co-chaired by the European Commission, Japan, South Africa and the US.