A toolbox for sustainability
With the recent launch of the catalogue of "Activities supporting the Sustainable Development Goals" ESA is showing its ongoing commitment to supporting sustainable development on Earth.
This is the first comprehensive database listing activities undertaken by the space agency and service providers to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality. The online tool includes hundreds of examples in which space applications, satellite programmes, data and services are helping to make Earth a better place.
In 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved in each country by 2030. To accomplish this, policy and decision makers in each country have had to devise novel ways of addressing energy needs, reducing pollution, increasing access to health and education for all citizens, and providing clean water for all, to name but a few.
"Sustainable development is an issue that concerns us all, and towards which we can all contribute," says Jan-Dietrich Wörner, Director General of the European Space Agency. He elaborates: "ESA has been fostering sustainable development on Earth for years, and we strongly intend to further support this via our programmes, data and services."
The first of its kind, this catalogue intends to support all user entities aiming for sustainable development worldwide – such as humanitarian organisations, local authorities and policy makers – by providing them with the necessary information on relevant activities. Since the launch of the previous version in November 2016 , the initiative has received wide attention from ESA's Member States, and has been highly acknowledged by international organisations and relief agencies alike.
The online tool identifies ongoing or planned activities organised directly by ESA or via one of its many project partners. Users can search the database for projects related to a specific Sustainable Development Goal, or can filter by keyword or target to be achieved. The catalogue can also function as an online platform where service providers can join forces and users' needs can comprehensively be analysed and met.
Each activity is described with a short text and tagged with one or more keywords according to relevance, facilitating the search for specific activities related to a specific goal, for example, clean water or affordable energy. A link to additional information is also provided, and all activities related to a search can be downloaded. The catalogue will be regularly updated with the latest ESA projects and activities.
"We hope that this database will be the seed for a global platform, one which will be used by all space agencies and service providers to showcase their efforts towards a more sustainable world. We are also in discusison with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), so that this catalogue will also be useful for their own projects concerning States Space Development Profile and Solutions Compendium," mentions Isabelle Duvaux-Béchon, Head of the Member States Relations and Partnerships Office at ESA.