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4 March 2015


The Role of Earth Observations in Developing Indicators for the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Starting a Dialogue

Friday February 27 2015,
1:15 – 2:30 pm
Venue: Conference Room 1 (CB)
United Nations, New York

Economic, social and environmental sustainability are the three pillars underpinning sustainable development. This is at the heart of all post-2015 development agenda initiatives, be it in the Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals and targets, the Hyogo Framework for Action for Disaster Risk Reduction, Universal Health Coverage, or the post-Kyoto protocol on Climate Change. As called for in the Secretary General’s Synthesis Report “The road to dignity by 2030”, one of the significant challenges to attaining the world we want is to identify and integrate innovative data and information sources into traditional, national environmental monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Understanding the Earth system is crucial to addressing the challenges of economic and social development and environmental sustainability. Comprehensive, coordinated and sustained observations improves monitoring the state of the planet, increases our understanding of Earth processes, and enhances the predictive evidence of the behavior of the Earth System. Data from Earth observations from space, airborne, land or marine-based systems, collected consistently over time, should be considered as critical as traditional survey, administrative, regulatory and other data sources to creating an integrated measuring and monitoring framework within the post-2015 era. Such transformation in monitoring also requires unprecedented coordination and collaboration of data producers and users to reap the benefit of the data revolution the world has witnessed since the Millennium Declaration in 2000.

With a number of global experts providing practical examples, this Side Event aims to begin a dialogue between the Earth observation community and the national and international statistical community on how to tackle the challenge of developing a solid framework of indicators and monitoring for the post-2015 development period. The event will explain the field of Earth observations, provide examples of successful integration of Earth observation data into national accounts for monitoring and evaluation, and explore how such data could be part of a comprehensive and coordinated national statistical system to monitor the state of the Earth, and to deliver timely information necessary to citizens, organizations and governments to build accountability, make good evidenced-based decisions and, ultimately, improve the lives of citizens around the world.

Switzerland (FOEN), Group on Earth Observations (GEO), UN-GGIM Secretariat,
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Provisional Programme Agenda

Moderator: Dr. Robert S. Chen, Director, CIESIN, Columbia University

1. Introduction & Context (15 minutes)
Welcome - Switzerland
Earth Observations and GEO –
Ms. Barbara Ryan, GEO Secretariat Director
Integrating geospatial and statistical information with Earth Observations –
Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Director UNSD and UN-GGIM Secretariat
Context: The role of Earth observations in developing indicators –
Dr. Robert S. Chen, Director, CIESIN, Columbia University, presentation
2. Case Studies (30 minutes)
Use of Earth observations in national statistical systems –
Mr. Enrique Ordaz, Director General, Integration, Analysis and Research, INEGI, Mexico, presentation
Integrating traditional data with data from Earth observations for monitoring water SDGs –
Mr. Rifat Hossain, World Health Organization, presentation
Earth observations from satellites: A powerful tool for SDG monitoring –
Dr. Chu Ishida, Senior Chief Officer of International Affairs, Space Applications Mission Directorate, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), presentation
3. Discussion (30 minutes)
Moderated interactive discussion with side event participants and audience
- Background Document