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New Report from SDSN TReNDS

Addressing the Challenges of Using Earth Observation Data for SDG Attainment: Evidence from the Global South
and West Africa Region 

This report was prepared by Paul Bartel, an economist and geographer, and Grant Cameron, Director of the SDSN Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (SDSN TReNDS) with editorial support from Alyson Marks and Castelline Tilus and financial support and oversight from Partners for Review (P4R).

The growth of Earth Observation (EO) data has skyrocketed over the past few years with technological advancements and a surge in new technologies, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), image processing, satellite imagery, and PNT services. With these technologies, users can add more granularity, temporal, and localized information to their data.

According to a recent analysis by Morgan Stanley, space-borne EO’s value is expected to exceed $25 billion USD by 2040. Additionally, a recent assessment highlights that existing EO systems could generate data for 33 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators across 14 goals. Consequently, governments are increasingly using this data for evidence-based decision-making on sustainable development challenges. Yet, countries in the Global South, particularly in Africa, continue to face challenges with harnessing the breadth and complexity of EO data for decision-making on sustainable development issues. 

SDSN TReNDS’ latest research paper explores the bottlenecks to use and the types of partnerships that may prove beneficial to overcoming these challenges, drawing from interviews with West African institutions and the grey literature.

Read the Report
SDSN TReNDS is a global research network composed of experts from across the global scientific, development, public, and private sector data communities who contribute to better evidence-based decisions for policy making. TReNDS produces timely, multi-sectoral, and meaningful research and resources to inform the production and use of data for sustainable development, pilots these cutting-edge approaches to countries worldwide, with a focus on the Global South, supports countries with technical expertise with an aim towards fostering replicable solutions, and facilitates connections between local and global data actors, governments, and academics to empower and capacitate them to navigate new data sources and methods to improve development outcomes.
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