CEOS Development Environment

Background & Scope

At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on September 25th, 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality, and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

Since Earth observations can provide critical data for official statistics to monitor SDG Indicators, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has established a dedicated Initiative (EO4SDG) committed to organizing and realizing the potential of those data to advance the 2030 Agenda for the benefit of society.

As the “space arm” of GEO, CEOS supports GEO’s priorities and focuses its coordination efforts around satellite data. CEOS created an “ad-hoc” team in 2016 to coordinate CEOS activities in addressing the SDGs, by improving access to datasets, or providing tools and methods to countries, official statistics and stakeholders willing to monitor the SDG indicators or achieve their sustainable agendas.

The recent Data Supply Analysis and Strategy document described what CEOS could offer, which includes:

  • Reminded that CEOS coordinates civilian Earth observation satellite missions operated by their member agencies, and improves satellite data access and utility for public good world-wide.
  • ensure that suitably identified core satellite datasets are accessible and used for SDG planning, monitoring, assessment and reporting, and continue to be acquired in a consistent and continuous manner, and made easily and openly accessible to national governments and agencies.
  • plays a critical part of the GEO ‘federated approach’ on SDGs, and responds to satellite data requests from GEO or custodian agencies.
  • Since 2020, the team has further analysed satellite data supply and gaps for 4 SDG indicators (3 primary indicators + 1 on coastal pollution):
6.6.1 (Water): Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time 11.3.1 (Urbanization): Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate 14.1.1 (Coastal pollution): Index of coastal eutrophication and floating plastic debris density 15.3.1 (Land degradation): Proportion of land that is degraded over total land area

To summarize, we have identified key areas of CEOS to support SDG:

  • Analysis of satellite data supply from CEOS core missions for the primary SDG indicators, which includes identification of observation gaps and solutions to be proposed and discussed with relevant CEOS Agencies
  • Increased ARD-products provided by Agencies according to CEOS standards
  • CEOS and CEOS Agencies contributions to the GEO SDG EO Toolkits development for the 4 primary SDG indicators:
    • Provision of CEOS-developed ARD standards and coordination
    • methodological guidelines and best practices
    • EO enabling infrastructures (e.g. jupyter notebooks for Open DataCube) and EO Quality Standards


Feature Page: CEOS and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

CEOS has created a feature site to look at these priorities in more detail and to showcase the requirements; stakeholders; relevant missions; and tools, services, and derived products for each of these target SDG Indicators. The page can be accessed here.