UN Steering Group on Earth Observation Toolkit

IFC Executive Director, Richard Bellingham, has joined a UN Steering Group to build an “Earth Observation Toolkit for Sustainable Cities and Communities”, working with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and UN-Habitat.

This UN programme is designed to support UN Member States, including cities, in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” and to implement the New Urban Agenda (NUA) through sustained utilisation of Earth observation (EO) data and applications.

Following their first meetings, Richard says:

“The Institute for Future Cities, University of Strathclyde, sees satellite generated Earth Observation data and geospatial information as having a vital role in the development of high quality effective strategies to deliver on SDG targets and monitor progress. Earth Observation data could have huge impact in supporting informed and effective decision making, and monitoring progress – particularly in developing world countries.”

The programme aims to develop a customizable and continually updated toolkit to support integration of Earth observation and geospatial information for urban monitoring, reporting, and strategy development in relation to SDG targets and indicators. The programme will also facilitate knowledge sharing, connect national, sub-national, and city experiences, and foster relationships and understanding between technical analysts and decision makers to support the contribution of Earth Observation data in delivering SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda.

The toolkit, developed through a consultative process with countries and cities, will be produced in conjunction with UN-Habitat and a selected number of regionally representative countries and cities. It will define needs, data requirements, and provide practical guidance on the integration of remotely sensed and ground-based EO data with national statistics, socioeconomic data, and other information to assist countries to monitor and drive progress on SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda.