Skip to content

World Bank and European Space Agency to Use Earth Observation Systems for Sustainable Development

(Friday, 04 December) The FINANCIAL — The World Bank and the European Space Agency (ESA) announced on December 3 that they will collaborate in using space-based Earth Observation – data and images provided by satellites – to reduce poverty, monitor environmental changes, and stimulate economic growth in developing countries. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) during the climate talks, COP21, taking place in Paris.

“Earth Observation is key to meeting our goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner,” emphasized Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “New innovations of Earth Observation Technology will provide an invaluable source of data to monitoring the newly-approved Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in areas such as disaster risk resilience, urbanization, food security, greenhouse gases emissions, and forest inventories, among many others.”

The World Bank and ESA have been successfully collaborating since 2008, jointly implementing over 35 technical assistance projects that have been provided specialized mapping and monitoring tools in over 20 different countries. The projects have focused on areas such as forestry management, combating illegal fishing, monitoring coastlines for changing climate, and managing urban development.

The MOI signed on December 3 takes these initial experiences and expands the partnership to explore on a larger scale how satellite information can be integrated and mainstreamed into the projects and research of the World Bank. This expanded collaboration will focus on ten areas: water, agriculture, urban growth, oceans, disaster risk management, energy and extractives, forests, fragile states, and climate, according to the World Bank.

Recognizing this expanded scope, Tuck stressed that “The World Bank supports client countries in creating open databases and monitoring systems that include geospatial dimensions for better, more transparent evidence and data-driven decision-making. This partnership will enable the Bank and ESA to use data collected from the newer generation of satellites to find innovative solutions to country-specific and global challenges.”

“This collaboration with the World Bank opens a new user community for the geo-spatial information our satellites are delivering from space,” says ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Volker Liebig. “It will also support the development of investment projects to boost prosperity and inclusive growth. This is an excellent initiative for ESA and the World Bank, but especially for ensuring sustainable growth in the future.”

WB page

For more information, please see the “ESA – World Bank “Earth Observation for Sustainable Development” Partnership Report2: