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 (ESA) 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. ESA’s new initiative ‘Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD)’ aims to integrate EO based products and services as ‘best-practice’ information in the planning and implementation of the development projects, programmes and activities of the IFI’s and their respective Client States. The EO4SD programme consists of 3 subprojects addressing the following top-priority areas: 1) Urban Development 2) Agriculture and Rural Development and 3) Water Resources Management.
eLEAF is leading a consortium of 8 European partners to implement the Agriculture and Rural Development cluster of the EO4SD. The overall objective of this project is (i) to clearly demonstrate to IFIs and their Client States that using EO based services can be measurably enhance the effectiveness of their technical and financial investments in developing countries to reduce poverty and increase economic growth; and subsequently (ii) to increase uptake and usage of EO data and information at all stages of the programme cycle.
The central activity of the project is to demonstrate EO based services that relate to priority technical requirements (TR) set by the IFIs. The consortium will develop and demonstrate proof of concept services for the following priority areas:
- Assessment of agricultural production
- Assessment of land degradation
- Impact of agricultural commodities production
- Monitoring of ecosystems
- Planning of rural infrastructure
- Food security
- Social safeguards and irrigation
For each of these demonstrations a cost-benefit analysis is performed taking operational costs, user confidence and a comparison with conventional workflows into account. Finally, the consortium will prepare a roadmap regarding the operational integration of EO services into IFI practices. This includes considerations such as future requirements, scalability and local value adding party engagement.