Call for Nominations for the GEO SDG Awards

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a universal set of priorities to use as a blueprint of action for people, the planet, and prosperity. Earth observations, geospatial data, and the information they provide play insightful roles in monitoring targets, tracking progress, as well as helping nations and stakeholders make informed decisions toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Group on Earth Observations Sustainable Development Goals (GEO SDG) Awards 2021 recognizes the productivity, innovation, novelty, and exemplary efforts in the use of Earth observations to support sustainable development. Launched in 2019, this annual award is presented to those making an impact on the 17 global goals put forth by the United Nations, as indicated by progress toward achieving a SDG Target and/or reporting on a SDG Indicator.

There will be Sectoral and Special Awards presented in several categories. Sectoral Awards will focus on the type of organization and the nature of their work. Special categories recognize specific key tenets and objectives the Awards are intended to highlight. Nominees will identify one Sectoral category for their nomination, and they will be considered for one Sectoral category award. All nominees will also be considered (as an entire group) for all Special categories. All GEO Members and all organizations within a specific sectoral category are eligible to nominate themselves or others for the GEO SDG Awards.

Link to nomination form

Selection Criteria 

Sectoral Category

Sectoral Categories include: 

The following are the criteria used to evaluate the nominations for the Sectoral Categories:

  • Merit: Quality, effectiveness, and soundness of the Earth observation-based endeavour
  • Relevance: Aligns with objectives of SDGs and GEO’s vision and strategic objectives, and supports the use of Earth observations in countries’ or stakeholders’ activities and processes to meet SDG targets and/or report on SDG indicators.
  • Innovation: Creative and innovative use of Earth observations
  • Achievement: Clear results and distinct accomplishments (i.e., not a work-in-progress or expectations of future results)
  • Impact: Value and level of positive social, economic, and/or environmental benefits
  • Exemplariness: A commendable example and strong representation of the use of Earth observations for the SDGs that is worth showcasing; an endeavour which might motivate others.

Special category 

Special categories recognize key tenets and objectives the Awards are intended to highlight. All nominees will be considered (as an entire group) for all Special categories.

Special Categories include:

  • Innovation
  • Testimonial/ Story
  • Statistical-Geospatial Integration
  • Collaboration

The following are the criteria used to evaluate the nominations for these categories:


  • Exceptional ingenuity and originality in the use of Earth observations to drive progress on, and help track and monitor one or more SDG targets and indicators
  • Soundness of the technique and demonstrated potential for scalability and replicability


  • An inspirational story and concrete example that clearly and accurately describes the impact of Earth observations on beneficiaries or partners, and is delivered in a manner that is authentic, creative, and original.
  • Specificity and clarity regarding the connection between Earth observation uses and SDG target(s)/ indicator(s)

Statistical-Geospatial Integration

  • Soundness of the technique to integrate statistical and geospatial data, including Earth observations, to support the measuring and monitoring of SDG targets and/or indicators
  • Specificity and clarity regarding data sharing efforts between institutions through interoperability of geospatial and statistical information and the development of common tools and applications;


  • Effective and impactful engagement among two or more sectoral categories through sharing of ideas, resources, expertise, Earth observation data, methods, and tools in support of SDG target(s) / indicator(s)
  • Impact and potential for sustainability

Evaluation and Selection

The EO4SDG Initiative Team, in consultation with the GEO Secretariat, will identify a diverse set of representatives to serve on the Evaluation Panel including subject matter experts, SDG specialists, Earth observations and geospatial experts. The Evaluation Panel will review the nominations and select Finalists for each of the Sectoral Categories and Finalists for each of the Special Categories. Subsequently, the Evaluation Panel will select 0-2 Finalists from each Sectoral category and 0-3 from each Special Category to receive an award.

Key Dates

The awards take place once per year, with nominations opening this year on May 3, 2021. Below are some key dates.

  • Nominations Open: May 4, 2021
  • Nominations Close: July 16, 2021.
  • Notifications Sent to Nominees: September 2021
  • Award Announcement: November, 2021 (during GEO Week 2021)