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CEOS and the Sustainable Development Goals

To highlight the potential role for Earth observations in supporting the global Indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), CEOS has established an Ad Hoc Team on Sustainable Development Goals (AHT-SDG). This group has aligned its engagement with the SDG agenda through the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO), and sometimes deal directly with the custodian UN agencies as well as with individual countries through their National Statistical Offices (NSOs) and relevant ministries.

The Team has taken stock of the UN processes in place for the SDG implementation and of the existing participants and stakeholders, and now focuses its activities around the unique role that CEOS should play as a coordination body of satellite EO efforts in support of the realisation of the SDGs. This includes a focus not only on the SDG Indicators that have been defined to monitor progress towards the SDG Targets, but also ways to explore how EO can complement traditional statistics and help define other indicators with innovative methodologies using EO satellite data.

The objectives of the group have been defined in a Terms of Reference document (available online at

− Actively support the GEO Initiative on SDGs (EO4SDG).

− Coordinate the efforts of CEOS agencies and communicate CEOS support to other SDG stakeholders.

− Provide a forum for sharing and communicating EO best practices in support of the SDGs, providing easy access to methodological developments, tools and platforms, and discoverability of global/regional data sets.

− Analyse new opportunities for satellite-based EO to support SDGs Targets and Indicators (new methods, data, indicators).

− Engage with other relevant authoritative stakeholders outside the UN system, who provide support to the SDGs.

− Use CEOS assets and bodies to build user capacity at all levels of the SDG implementation.

Further reading and contacts can be found on the CEOS website:

EO Handbook Online

The full text of this report is available on the Earth Observation Handbook’s website at

A supporting database of satellite missions, instruments and measurements is available at and contains powerful search and presentation tools, with the ability to export customised tables and timelines in support of analyses of current and planned provision of observations in support of different applications and measurements.

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