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 EO4SD initiative ‘Earth Observation for Sustainable Development’ aims to achieve progressive uptake of satellite based environmental 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 7 European partners to implement the Agriculture and Rural Development cluster of the EO4SD (To visit project website click logo on the right). 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 consortium recently concluded Phase I (2016-2017) which was dedicated to the stakeholders’ engagement and requirements consolidation. In phase II (2017-2019) the focus is on EO information production, delivery and capacity building with the users to ensure that the information brings benefit to operational activities.
The phase II Service Cluster offers exemplary demonstration services in the fields of Agriculture and Rural Development, deployed to a large local and regional stakeholder community. Demonstrations will focus on the following priority themes: agricultural production, land degradation, agricultural commodities, ecosystem services, rural infrastructure, food security, safeguards and irrigation. Brochures of all EO4SD activities in the focus countries can be downloaded here.
To support IFI and Client State staff capabilities to use EO data and services, the EO4SD consortium is planning capacity building activities in Africa, Latin America and Asia. 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 is preparing a roadmap for the long term use and sustainable service capacity serving the demands of IFI organisations in the Client states. This includes considerations such as future requirements, scalability, and local value adding party engagement.