ESA title
Enabling & Support

ESA and the Sustainable Development Goals

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Preparing for the Future / Space for Earth

Sustainable development concerns all of us. As an international organisation ESA has a responsibility to use its technology for the further development of humankind. ESA has already developed a wide range of programmes that will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for everyone on Earth.


In 2000, 189 countries of the world came together to face the future. But this future was not very bright. Famine, drought, wars, plagues and poverty were hitting the Earth and its people hard. And these problems of the world were not just in some faraway countries but they plagued our own cities and villages. Still, it did not have to be this way. There is enough food to feed the world, there are medicines for most diseases, most natural disasters can be predicted to avoid high death tolls,...

So a plan was created, called the Millenium Development Goals, to try and achieve a better world by 2015. The progress over those 15 years has been tremendous, the amount of people suffering from extreme hunger or poverty has been cut in half, far more children are attending school than before and far fewer children are dying.

This year, in 2015, the countries have come together again to build on the many successes of the past 15 years, and go further. Their new set of goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to end poverty and hunger by 2030. With the SDGs the connection between people and planet has been recognised and the result is 17 goals for land, oceans, waterways, climate, health, etc. For a full list of the Sustainable Development Goals please visit the UN site.

ESA's role

The table below represents some of ESA's programmes specifically related to the 2015 SDGs. For more information you can click on a programme in the table or use the links on the top right hand side of this page.

SDG topic Keywords ESA programme
SDG 1: No Poverty Supporting banking systems
International development
Sustainable production of food
Supporting development banks

Support to development banks

Earth observation for international development

Herding from space

Satellites for remote banking

SDG 2: Zero Hunger Sustainable agriculture
Monitoring food production and security

Agriculture and food security

Global monitoring for food security

Health of livestock

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being Telemedicine
Space for Health
ISS research

Telemedicine using Satcoms

Space aids Ebola patients

Mapping deadly mosquitos

Satellites helping to assess the risk of epidemics

Space for Health

SDG 4: Quality Education Tele-learning
Tools for educators

Satcoms linking rural schools in South-Africa and Italy

ESA kids

e-Learning in rural areas

ESA educational projects

SDG 5: Gender Equality Attracting more women to science
and technology careers

Space Girls-Space Women

Women choosing STEM careers (video)

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation Recycling water
Closed-loop systems
Monitoring water quality

TIGER project

GEO-Aquifer project (PDF)

Worldwide water quality app


SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy Solar energy
Energy research

Energy research at ESA

Electric propulsion innovation and competitiveness

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Regional development
Job creation

Copernicus opportunities for economic growth and regional development

First ESA facility in UK, catalyst for growth

Job creation and growth with space

Copernicus benefiting society and the environment

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure GPS
Telecom satellites

Broadband for all

Technology transfer and business incubation

Protecting our infrastructure from space weather

Tracking trains

Satellites for remote banking

Galileo-based solutions for transport and infrastructure

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities Supporting developing countries
Providing applications and services
Providing energy, clean water, food, education, ...
(see other SDGs)
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities Living on the ISS/Concordia
Urban areas
Air quality
Transport systems
Cultural heritage

The international space station (ISS)

Concordia, antarctic research station

Mapping urban areas

Monitoring air quality

Mapping of global air pollution

Integrated applications projects - Transport

Satellites in support of world heritage

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production Recycling
Closed-loop systems

The ISS as closed-loop system

Concordia, antarctic research station

MELiSSA, closed-loop ecological system

SDG 13: Climate Action Research in arctic/antarctic
Monitoring ice sheets
Climate change initiative

Looking out for landslides

Supporting the healthcare in emergency areas

Desert watch

SMOS: Monitoring the oceans and surface moisture

ESA's climate change initiative

Monitoring the atmospheric composition and climate

Cryosat: monitoring the arctic/antarctic

Sentinel 1A-radar monitoring of oceans and ice

ESA and the arctic

ESA and the antarctic

SDG 14: Life below Water SAT-AIS
Sustainable fishing
Soil moisture and ocean salinity (SMOS) satellite

Tracking marine animals with satellites

Vessel tracking from space


Maritime security (video)

ESA and oceans

Copernicus - Marine projects

SDG 15: Life on Land Forestry/deforestation
Land use detection

Trees tell their own story

Smart logging

Tracking biodiversity

Burned area land use change detection

Monitoring forest degradation and deforestation

Forest fires

Land cover maps

SDG 16: Peace and Justice - Strong Institutions Support to identify illegal actions
Support of election processes

Detection of ship movements

Maritime surveillance

e-Training via satellite in support of African electoral cycles

SDG 17: Partnerships Partnering with other space agencies
Partnering with other companies
Partnering with institutions
ESA partners

Related Links

Related Links