The UN Sustainable Development Goals: Windows of opportunity for Earth Observation

Worldwide, countries are setting their national targets and determining indicators for monitoring advances towards the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which account for differing national realities, capacities and levels of development. The UN resolution states that goals and targets will be followed-up and reviewed using a set of global indicators, and it recognizes the contribution to be made by Earth Observation (EO) and geo-spatial information in supporting implementation and tracking progress.

This seminar will introduce briefly the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), its targets and indicators with an emphasis on the potential and limitations of the use of EO to support the different phases of implementation. A more general overview on how remote sensing has been used successfully to advance some internationally agreed environmental goals will also be presented including recent products UN agencies are promoting.

Following the seminar there will be a panel discussion on current global environmental initiatives that require scientific EO input (GEO-6, IPBES, IPCC, UNCCD Global Land outlook), and how scientists can engage with these initiatives.


Seminar 12.00 - 1pm

Refreshments 1pm - 2pm

About the speaker

Graciela Metternicht is a Professor of Environmental Geography in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at UNSW. She is Deputy Chair of the Australian Academy of Sciences National Committee of Geographical Sciences; co-chair of the Dryland Ecosystems Specialist Group of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management; and member of the Science Policy Interface of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification; the Assessment Methodology Group of UNEP's 6th Global Environment Outlook, and the Enabling Ecosystem Surveillance WG of Australia's Ecosystem Science Council. Her research interest is primarily in the fields of environmental geography, with a focus on geospatial technologies and their application in environmental management (mapping and monitoring, sustainable land management, land degradation, indicators, ecosystem services) and sustainability. Prior to joining UNSW, Professor Metternicht was Regional Coordinator of Early Warning and Assessment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for Latin America and the Caribbean.