SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities

SDG 11

Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically. With the number of people living within cities projected to rise to 5 billion people by 2030, it’s important that efficient urban planning and management practices are in place to deal with the challenges brought by urbanization.

Many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity without straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing, declining infrastructure and rising air pollution within cities.

Rapid urbanization challenges, such as the safe removal and management of solid waste within cities, can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. One such example is an increase in municipal waste collection. There needs to be a future in which cities provide opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.

Facts and Figures

  •     In 2016, over 64.4% of products exported by the least developed countries to world markets faced zero tariffs, an increase of 20% since 2010.
  •     Evidence from developing countries shows that children in the poorest 20 per cent of the populations are still up to three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than children in the richest quintiles.
  •     Social protection has been significantly extended globally, yet persons with disabilities are up to five times more likely than average to incur catastrophic health expenditures.
  •     Despite overall declines in maternal mortality in most developing countries, women in rural areas are still up to three times more likely to die while giving birth than women living in urban centers.
  •     Up to 30 per cent of income inequality is due to inequality within households, including between women and men. Women are also more likely than men to live below 50 per cent of the median income

Space-based Technologies for SDG 11

Preventing and managing disasters and enhancing inclusive and sustainable urbanisation are fundamental challenges to our communities. Space technologies are essential for reducing disaster risks and managing disasters and for planning sustainable human settlements. UN-SPIDER facilitates cooperation between providers and users of satellite data and helps developing countries use space-based information. Read more here.

Learn more about the SDGs

Related Content

Article

Interview with Dr. Sherine Ahmed El Baradei

The following interview with Dr. Sherine Ahmed El Baradei is focusing on water quality and its relation to space technology. Water is the essence of life. Thus preservation of water quality is of a big concern to human health and to fauna and flora in water bodies. The interview explains what is water quality and what are water quality parameters of water bodies. Furthermore, the importance of using space technologies and applications in contributing to water quality monitoring and determination of hydraulic and hydrologic conditions is thoroughly discussed. For example, temporal resolution of satellites and their role in obtaining accurate imaging and data is clarified and the satellites concerned with water quality monitoring are pointed out. Considering the important role of groundwater in arid regions, the use of GRACE Mission data in Egypt is mentioned. Moreover, key influences on water quality in Egypt are discussed and the relation of water quality to water scarcity in the country and ways to preserve water quality is being discussed. Furthermore, the potential of space-based monitoring used to address water issues from hydrological to water resources issues in the country or region is pointed out. The challenges of the use of space technology for hydrology and water-related topics in the MENA region is also discussed. Light is shed on the project done by NASA to recycle astronauts’ waste into energy and power. Sustainability is of a great importance to or communities, and thus it is discussed how sustainable it is to build cities in the desert, or to divert water to where people are instead of moving people to existing water sources. Finally, a discussion about ways we can employ to improve awareness and capacity building on the use of space technology for water and challenges in this field are discussed.

Interview with Ioana Popescu, Associate Professor of Hydroinformatics at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

Please describe how your professional (and/or personal) experience relates to space technologies and their applications to water resources management.

I am an expert in hydroinformatics, mainly involved in research projects and research supervision of MSc and PhD students. My research focusses on physically based models for inland waters (rivers and lakes). One of the major fields where modelling is used in water resources is flooding. In order to have adequate representation of floods, most models require large amounts of data, both for model building and model usage.

Interview with Dr. Shimrit Maman, Senior Scientsit at the Goldman Sonnenfeldt School of Sustainability and Climate Change

How do you personally and professionally relate to water? 

Growing up in Israel, water scarcity was a constant backdrop to my childhood. The arid climate and frequent droughts shaped my relationship with water from an early age. One vivid memory that remains stamped in my mind is the series of TV campaigns highlighting the importance of water conservation. I recall sitting in front of the television, concerned by the urgency conveyed in those campaigns. The images of dry landscapes and the emphasis on every drop of water as precious left a lasting impression.

Comment l'espace a révolutionné les affaissements?

 Traduit de l'anglais par Mussa Kachunga Stanis

Introduction


L’affaissement de terrain est un phénomène mondial et se définit comme :

    "Un tassement progressif ou un affaissement soudain de la surface de la Terre dû à l'enlèvement ou au déplacement de matériaux terrestres souterrains" - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2021)

Towards new applications of spaceborne technology on flood protection

Recently, in July 2021, destructive and deadly floods occurred in Western Europe. The estimated insured losses only in Germany could approach 5 billion Euros (AIR Worldwide, 2021). However, the total amount of the damage is currently not foreseeable due to the variety and complexity of the damage patterns and the unbelievable extent of the disaster. It seems the socio-economic losses will dramatically increase and break a new record in the insurance industry after evaluating the complete record of damages’ reports (see Figure 1).

Est ce que les Technologies Spatiales Peuvent Améliorer les Provisions WASH dans les Camps et Quartiers Informels

Le droit humain à l'eau et à l'assainissement 

À quoi ressemble votre routine matinale ? Pour la plupart des lecteurs, je suppose que vous utilisez les toilettes, vous vous lavez les mains et peut-être que vous prenez une douche. Cependant, vous arrive-t-il de vous arrêter pour réfléchir à l'eau que vous utilisez sous la douche ou au savon que vous utilisez pour vous laver les mains ?

Urban Water Scarcity: How data from NASA’s GRACE-FO Mission can be used for (near) real time water management

As population becomes larger the demand for water soars, including water needed for domestic, industrial and municipal uses (Mogelgaard 2011). One example of that, is India, where on 20 June 2019 the city of Chennai almost run out of water. Satellite images show the extent of the water shortage in the city (figure 1). While people are queuing up to get water from water trucks that transfer water to the city, the greatest struggle is taking place in the city’s municipal buildings and businesses. Hospitals are facing the threat of not having enough water to treat patients and to clean equipment, and businesses are forced to shut down and wait until the crisis is over.

Escasez urbana de agua: cómo pueden utilizarse los datos de la misión GRACE-FO de la NASA para la gestión del agua (casi) en tiempo real

As population becomes larger the demand for water soars, including water needed for domestic, industrial and municipal uses (Mogelgaard 2011). One example of that, is India, where on 20 June 2019 the city of Chennai almost run out of water. Satellite images show the extent of the water shortage in the city (figure 1). While people are queuing up to get water from water trucks that transfer water to the city, the greatest struggle is taking place in the city’s municipal buildings and businesses. Hospitals are facing the threat of not having enough water to treat patients and to clean equipment, and businesses are forced to shut down and wait until the crisis is over.

Why space gardening should come down to Earth

When you think about agriculture, you probably imagine a few basic things in your mind. Huge stretches of flat land, massive harvesting machines, the heat on your skin from sunlight and, perhaps most importantly, soil. This image in your mind is a common one. Humans have been tilling, seeding, and farming land since the dawn of civilization, and modern industrial farm techniques tend to dominate our conception of agriculture. 

From Jakarta to Nusantara: Land subsidence and other pressing water challenges in a sinking mega city

Jakarta, “the sinking city”, is the current capital city of Indonesia. Located on the Java Sea, this coastal city is home to nearly 30 million people within the greater-Jakarta area. Jakarta has grappled with water management issues for decades, leading to several current day water-related crises. Access to a reliable, potable water supply is extremely limited as there is a significant disparity between those with piped water access and those without. Citizens without piped water access have consequently relied heavily on groundwater and have dug thousands of unregulated wells as a result. This has led to a second water crisis – the chronic overextraction of Jakarta’s underground aquifers. Land subsidence is of the utmost concern as this sinking city is placed at high flood risk from the surrounding ocean. Approximately 40% of Jakarta now lies below sea level as a result and predictive models suggest that the entire city will be underwater by 2050 (Gilmartin, 2019). Compounding these problems, the climate crisis has led to significant sea level rise as glaciers and ice caps continue to melt (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2019; Lindsey, 2022). As the city of Jakarta continues to sink and sea levels rise, millions of citizens within Jakarta are at extremely high risk of flooding, particularly during monsoon season. Thousands of residents have already been forced to abandon their homes in search of improved conditions and higher ground (Garschagen et al., 2018).

Space technologies for drought monitoring and management

The impacts of climate change are ever more apparent. The frequency and scale of devastation and destruction of weather hazards are on an increasing trend. According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report (IPCC, 2021) climate change is intensifying the water cycle. This will cause more intense droughts in many regions. Moreover, water-related extremes impact the quality of life disproportionately strong. Drought accounts for 25% of all losses from weather-related disasters in the United States of America (Hayes et al., 2012).

Pénuries d'Eau en Milieu Urbain : Comment les Données de la Mission GRACE-FO de la NASA Peuvent-Elles Soutenir la Gestion de l'Eau en Temps Quasi-Réel ?

Plus la population augmente, plus la demande en eau augmente, notamment l'eau nécessaire aux usages domestiques, industriels et municipaux (Mogelgaard 2011). L'Inde en est un bon exemple : le 20 juin 2019, la ville de Chennai a failli manquer d'eau. Des images satellites ont montré l'ampleur de la pénurie d'eau dans la ville (schéma 1). Alors que les habitants faisaient la queue pour de l'eau stockée dans des camions-citernes qui la rendaient disponible dans la ville, le véritable défi de gestion concernait les bâtiments municipaux et les entreprises de la ville. La pénurie d´eau a gravement affecté la capacité des hôpitaux à soigner les patients et à nettoyer les équipements, et a contraint les entreprises à fermer leurs portes jusqu'à la fin de la crise.

Pourquoi Devrions-Nous Utiliser le Jardinage de l'Espace sur Terre

Merci à Martin Sarret d'avoir traduit cet article volontairement.

Les caractéristiques élémentaires de l´agriculture nous viennent tous assez facilement à l´esprit. De larges étendues de terrain, d'imposantes machines de récolte, la chaleur du soleil sur la peau et, peut-être le plus important, la terre. Cette image mentale est finalement assez logique. L´humanité laboure, ensemence et cultive la terre depuis la nuit des temps, et les techniques agricoles industrielles modernes ont tendance à s'accaparer notre imaginaire sur l'agriculture.

How has space revolutionised subsidence?

Introduction

Land subsidence is a global phenomenon and is defined as:

“a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth's surface due to removal or displacement of subsurface earth materials”  - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2021)

Can space technologies help improve WASH provision in camps and informal settlements?

The Human Right to water and sanitation

What does your morning routine look like? For most readers I’d assume you use the toilet, wash your hands, and maybe take a shower.  However, do you ever stop to consider the water you use to shower, or the soap you use to wash your hands? Often, especially in developed countries, these things are taken for granted, rightly considering access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) as basic Human Rights (Figure 1).

Interview with Lukas Graf

Lukas Graf used to take clean drinking water for granted. As he grew up, and conversations around climate change and environmental destruction became increasingly intense, he started to become more aware of the importance and scarcity of water resources. Around a similar time, he became increasingly enthusiastic about space, realising that space technologies could be used to explore many of the pressing topics that he was interested in. He has participated in research projects that used remote sensing methods to study the effects of global change on ecosystems and especially on water availability. Lukas is interested in a range of topics from virtual water and water quality to irrigation and agriculture. He believes that interdisciplinary approaches and mutual dialog with societies and stakeholders need to be deepened for sustained resource management.

Interview with Ioana Popescu, Associate Professor of Hydroinformatics at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

Please describe how your professional (and/or personal) experience relates to space technologies and their applications to water resources management.

I am an expert in hydroinformatics, mainly involved in research projects and research supervision of MSc and PhD students. My research focusses on physically based models for inland waters (rivers and lakes). One of the major fields where modelling is used in water resources is flooding. In order to have adequate representation of floods, most models require large amounts of data, both for model building and model usage.

Interview with Padmi Ranasinghe, Doctoral student in Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas (UT) - Arlington

Padmi is currently reading for her Ph.D. focusing on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for climate change risk reduction and resilience cities. She believes NbS can reduce hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods, droughts, and landslides in the long run. It is a strategy to minimize the gaps in decarbonizing and reducing greenhouse gases and a path to Net-zero cities. NbS, are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, benefiting people and nature (IUCN & World Bank, 2022). Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), ecosystem-based mitigation (EbM), and green infrastructure are some branches under the umbrella of NbS. NbS include conserving forests, mangroves, and wetland ecosystems, halting deforestation, increasing reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, and opening green spaces. According to her, space technology is integral to planning, monitoring, and analysis. Space technology today is so advanced that it can capture and predict changes in the water cycle, climate change variables and so forth. Remote sensing data and satellite-derived information are essential in obtaining accurate data on a specific site anywhere on the Earth's surface. Most recently, she has been involved in projects utilizing urban NbS such as the conservation of Ramsar-Colombo to mitigate urban floods and adapt to climate change. To conduct wetland inventories, space-based data and GIS techniques can be utilized to detect the presence of wetlands and/or water in wetlands. Though there can be some challenges encountered such as limited coverage of specific areas within the wetland, clouds often hiding images, and the low resolution of data making it difficult to differentiate floral species. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) can provide enhanced accuracy and consistency in measuring wetlands, as well as the presence of water in wetlands, using space technologies. Data and technologies from space contribute to watershed management, sediment measurements and many other environmental aspects.

Interview with Dr. Shimrit Maman, Senior Scientsit at the Goldman Sonnenfeldt School of Sustainability and Climate Change

How do you personally and professionally relate to water? 

Growing up in Israel, water scarcity was a constant backdrop to my childhood. The arid climate and frequent droughts shaped my relationship with water from an early age. One vivid memory that remains stamped in my mind is the series of TV campaigns highlighting the importance of water conservation. I recall sitting in front of the television, concerned by the urgency conveyed in those campaigns. The images of dry landscapes and the emphasis on every drop of water as precious left a lasting impression.

Interview with Mina Konaka, Satellite engineer at JAXA

Mina Konaka works at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a satellite engineer and is currently working on the satellite ALOS-4, which can detect changes in groundwater on land. She attended the International Space University, participating in the project AWARE (Adapting to Water and Air Realities on Earth), in which participants aimed to provide solutions for flood and air quality risks due to climate change, using earth observation data and ground-based sensors. Mina feels strongly about the need to talk more globally about water management solutions, rather than on an individual country basis. Mina also hopes that in the future there will be more female engineers who pursue dreams of space, and that gender balance is no longer an issue.

Interview with Webster Gumindoga, PhD Student at University of Twente and Lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe

Webster is a PhD student at the University of Twente’s Faculty of Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation. His PhD thesis is entitled: Observing Zambezi Basin from Space: Satellite based bias correction for hydrological modelling: Webster is also lecturer and researcher at the University of Zimbabwe’s Construction and Civil Engineering Department. He is the coordinator of the regional master’s degree programme in Integrated Water Resources Management, a capacity building programme for the water sector in Southern and Eastern Africa. His research interests are in the areas of GIS and Earth Observation applications in water resources management, sanitation, water quality and disaster management. He is also a consultant who has been seconded as a GIS mentor to many government institutions and developmental partners in Southern Africa. Webster has over 60 publications, numerous regional and international conference papers in areas of spatial and quantitative hydrology, water resources management, quantification of water cycle components and feedbacks between climate, land-uses, water cycles and other societal influences. Webster is the Chief Editor of the Journal of Environmental Management in Zimbabwe (JEMZ).

Interview with Farid Farhat, Hydrological Modeling Specialist at UNICITI

Could you describe how your professional and/or personal experience relate to water? Where does your interest in space technology for water come from? 

I have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of hydrologic and hydraulic engineering, which is relevant to water. I studied many courses in my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees where I learned how runoff in a watershed is generated from meteorological parameters including rainfall, evapotranspiration and infiltration. I also applied my theoretical knowledge to various projects.

Interview with Ruvimbo Samanga

Ruvimbo Samanga, despite her age, has vast experience in the law, space, and water sectors. She is presently involved in a regional study on the integration of GIS and statistical information in Zimbabwe, working towards the promulgation of GIS standards and legislation to support a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Ruvimbo is excited by the merging of sustainable development for water management with space technologies because it is scalable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective over the long run. Ruvimbo feels strongly that space technologies have a role to play in policy and legal affairs, and also sees potential especially in the use of emerging technologies such as block chain, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

Interview with Margherita Bruscolini, Geospatial & Earth Scientist, Drone Pilot at RSS-Hydro

Margherita is an interdisciplinary Earth scientist and drone pilot with a background in geologic and environmental sciences. She has international experience working in fields such as Earth Observation (EO), remote sensing, drones & geospatial data analysis applied to the environmental and humanitarian sectors, sustainability and climate change. Margherita is passionate about natural and climate-related technologies that can be used to develop sustainable and long-lasting solutions. She is working for a more inclusive world (Women in Geospatial+), without any sort of geographical or social barriers. Keywords: Science communication, Climate Change, STEM, inclusivity, sustainability, nature, hydrosphere, hydrology, water risks, Earth Observation (EO), satellite data, flood modeling, vulnerability, resilience, lifelong learning  Region/Country mentioned: Temperate climates, Arid climates, Luxembourg, Niger  Relevant SDG targets: 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 17  

Interview with Dr. Sherine Ahmed El Baradei

The following interview with Dr. Sherine Ahmed El Baradei is focusing on water quality and its relation to space technology. Water is the essence of life. Thus preservation of water quality is of a big concern to human health and to fauna and flora in water bodies. The interview explains what is water quality and what are water quality parameters of water bodies. Furthermore, the importance of using space technologies and applications in contributing to water quality monitoring and determination of hydraulic and hydrologic conditions is thoroughly discussed. For example, temporal resolution of satellites and their role in obtaining accurate imaging and data is clarified and the satellites concerned with water quality monitoring are pointed out. Considering the important role of groundwater in arid regions, the use of GRACE Mission data in Egypt is mentioned. Moreover, key influences on water quality in Egypt are discussed and the relation of water quality to water scarcity in the country and ways to preserve water quality is being discussed. Furthermore, the potential of space-based monitoring used to address water issues from hydrological to water resources issues in the country or region is pointed out. The challenges of the use of space technology for hydrology and water-related topics in the MENA region is also discussed. Light is shed on the project done by NASA to recycle astronauts’ waste into energy and power. Sustainability is of a great importance to or communities, and thus it is discussed how sustainable it is to build cities in the desert, or to divert water to where people are instead of moving people to existing water sources. Finally, a discussion about ways we can employ to improve awareness and capacity building on the use of space technology for water and challenges in this field are discussed.

Interview with Joshua Ubah, Geospatial Environmental Engineer

Joshua is a Master’s student in Tropical Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering at Technische Universität of Darmstadt. His interest is focused on hydrogeological processes, groundwater modelling, application of remote sensing and GIS in environmental studies, water management and climate change. He also works as a graduate Intern at AgriWatch BV, a company that applies geospatial solutions for precision Agriculture. As a graduate intern, he applies his interdisciplinary knowledge in developing smart-farming solutions using space-based technologies to farmers in the Twente region of the Netherlands. He deploys satellite imagery, field studies and machine learning algorithms to predict the effect of climate change on arable crops. He also utilizes precipitation data to predict rainfall events to aid farmers in determining planting and harvesting periods. Joshua earned a bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences, his bachelor’s thesis research aimed at carrying out paleoenvironmental reconstruction using paleocurrent indicators of water flow and direction, and application of ArcGIS to produce maps. Currently, he is working on his master’s thesis with emphasis on the impact of the ancient climate on the paleoenvironment particularly on vegetation, where he tries to research plants response to long-term greenhouse periods and short-term warming events on various timescales throughout Earth's history. His research interests revolve around the application of space technologies in providing solutions and tackling climate change.

Interview with Yolanda Lopez-Maldonado

Name of the community

Maya

Short description of community and hydrogeology of the area

Yucatan is located in the southeast portion of Mexico. The total area of Yucatan is 124, 409 km2 and the population (by 2018) was ca. 2.1 million inhabitants. The landscape of the area is defined by a highly permeable karstic soil, a notable absence of rivers or permanent freshwater resources in the surface, and a high number of natural wells or sinkholes (locally called cenotes, from the Maya word t´sonot).  

Interview with Webster Gumindoga, PhD Student at University of Twente and Lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe

Webster is a PhD student at the University of Twente’s Faculty of Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation. His PhD thesis is entitled: Observing Zambezi Basin from Space: Satellite based bias correction for hydrological modelling: Webster is also lecturer and researcher at the University of Zimbabwe’s Construction and Civil Engineering Department. He is the coordinator of the regional master’s degree programme in Integrated Water Resources Management, a capacity building programme for the water sector in Southern and Eastern Africa. His research interests are in the areas of GIS and Earth Observation applications in water resources management, sanitation, water quality and disaster management. He is also a consultant who has been seconded as a GIS mentor to many government institutions and developmental partners in Southern Africa. Webster has over 60 publications, numerous regional and international conference papers in areas of spatial and quantitative hydrology, water resources management, quantification of water cycle components and feedbacks between climate, land-uses, water cycles and other societal influences. Webster is the Chief Editor of the Journal of Environmental Management in Zimbabwe (JEMZ).

Interview with Farid Farhat, Hydrological Modeling Specialist at UNICITI

Could you describe how your professional and/or personal experience relate to water? Where does your interest in space technology for water come from? 

I have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of hydrologic and hydraulic engineering, which is relevant to water. I studied many courses in my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees where I learned how runoff in a watershed is generated from meteorological parameters including rainfall, evapotranspiration and infiltration. I also applied my theoretical knowledge to various projects.

Interview with Ruvimbo Samanga

Ruvimbo Samanga, despite her age, has vast experience in the law, space, and water sectors. She is presently involved in a regional study on the integration of GIS and statistical information in Zimbabwe, working towards the promulgation of GIS standards and legislation to support a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Ruvimbo is excited by the merging of sustainable development for water management with space technologies because it is scalable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective over the long run. Ruvimbo feels strongly that space technologies have a role to play in policy and legal affairs, and also sees potential especially in the use of emerging technologies such as block chain, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

Interview with Margherita Bruscolini, Geospatial & Earth Scientist, Drone Pilot at RSS-Hydro

Margherita is an interdisciplinary Earth scientist and drone pilot with a background in geologic and environmental sciences. She has international experience working in fields such as Earth Observation (EO), remote sensing, drones & geospatial data analysis applied to the environmental and humanitarian sectors, sustainability and climate change. Margherita is passionate about natural and climate-related technologies that can be used to develop sustainable and long-lasting solutions. She is working for a more inclusive world (Women in Geospatial+), without any sort of geographical or social barriers. Keywords: Science communication, Climate Change, STEM, inclusivity, sustainability, nature, hydrosphere, hydrology, water risks, Earth Observation (EO), satellite data, flood modeling, vulnerability, resilience, lifelong learning  Region/Country mentioned: Temperate climates, Arid climates, Luxembourg, Niger  Relevant SDG targets: 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 17  

Interview with Joshua Ubah, Geospatial Environmental Engineer

Joshua is a Master’s student in Tropical Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering at Technische Universität of Darmstadt. His interest is focused on hydrogeological processes, groundwater modelling, application of remote sensing and GIS in environmental studies, water management and climate change. He also works as a graduate Intern at AgriWatch BV, a company that applies geospatial solutions for precision Agriculture. As a graduate intern, he applies his interdisciplinary knowledge in developing smart-farming solutions using space-based technologies to farmers in the Twente region of the Netherlands. He deploys satellite imagery, field studies and machine learning algorithms to predict the effect of climate change on arable crops. He also utilizes precipitation data to predict rainfall events to aid farmers in determining planting and harvesting periods. Joshua earned a bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences, his bachelor’s thesis research aimed at carrying out paleoenvironmental reconstruction using paleocurrent indicators of water flow and direction, and application of ArcGIS to produce maps. Currently, he is working on his master’s thesis with emphasis on the impact of the ancient climate on the paleoenvironment particularly on vegetation, where he tries to research plants response to long-term greenhouse periods and short-term warming events on various timescales throughout Earth's history. His research interests revolve around the application of space technologies in providing solutions and tackling climate change.

Interview with Lukas Graf

Lukas Graf used to take clean drinking water for granted. As he grew up, and conversations around climate change and environmental destruction became increasingly intense, he started to become more aware of the importance and scarcity of water resources. Around a similar time, he became increasingly enthusiastic about space, realising that space technologies could be used to explore many of the pressing topics that he was interested in. He has participated in research projects that used remote sensing methods to study the effects of global change on ecosystems and especially on water availability. Lukas is interested in a range of topics from virtual water and water quality to irrigation and agriculture. He believes that interdisciplinary approaches and mutual dialog with societies and stakeholders need to be deepened for sustained resource management.

Interview with Padmi Ranasinghe, Doctoral student in Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas (UT) - Arlington

Padmi is currently reading for her Ph.D. focusing on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for climate change risk reduction and resilience cities. She believes NbS can reduce hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods, droughts, and landslides in the long run. It is a strategy to minimize the gaps in decarbonizing and reducing greenhouse gases and a path to Net-zero cities. NbS, are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, benefiting people and nature (IUCN & World Bank, 2022). Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), ecosystem-based mitigation (EbM), and green infrastructure are some branches under the umbrella of NbS. NbS include conserving forests, mangroves, and wetland ecosystems, halting deforestation, increasing reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, and opening green spaces. According to her, space technology is integral to planning, monitoring, and analysis. Space technology today is so advanced that it can capture and predict changes in the water cycle, climate change variables and so forth. Remote sensing data and satellite-derived information are essential in obtaining accurate data on a specific site anywhere on the Earth's surface. Most recently, she has been involved in projects utilizing urban NbS such as the conservation of Ramsar-Colombo to mitigate urban floods and adapt to climate change. To conduct wetland inventories, space-based data and GIS techniques can be utilized to detect the presence of wetlands and/or water in wetlands. Though there can be some challenges encountered such as limited coverage of specific areas within the wetland, clouds often hiding images, and the low resolution of data making it difficult to differentiate floral species. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) can provide enhanced accuracy and consistency in measuring wetlands, as well as the presence of water in wetlands, using space technologies. Data and technologies from space contribute to watershed management, sediment measurements and many other environmental aspects.

Interview with Mina Konaka, Satellite engineer at JAXA

Mina Konaka works at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a satellite engineer and is currently working on the satellite ALOS-4, which can detect changes in groundwater on land. She attended the International Space University, participating in the project AWARE (Adapting to Water and Air Realities on Earth), in which participants aimed to provide solutions for flood and air quality risks due to climate change, using earth observation data and ground-based sensors. Mina feels strongly about the need to talk more globally about water management solutions, rather than on an individual country basis. Mina also hopes that in the future there will be more female engineers who pursue dreams of space, and that gender balance is no longer an issue.

Interview with Yolanda Lopez-Maldonado

Name of the community

Maya

Short description of community and hydrogeology of the area

Yucatan is located in the southeast portion of Mexico. The total area of Yucatan is 124, 409 km2 and the population (by 2018) was ca. 2.1 million inhabitants. The landscape of the area is defined by a highly permeable karstic soil, a notable absence of rivers or permanent freshwater resources in the surface, and a high number of natural wells or sinkholes (locally called cenotes, from the Maya word t´sonot).  

Capacity Building and Training Material

Digital Earth Africa: DEA101 - Introduction to the Digital Earth Africa Sandbox

Digital Earth Africa learning platform

This learning platform helps users understand the significance of Earth observations, explore Digital Earth Africa datasets through an interactive map, and get started on the basics of python coding for spatial analysis.

Digital Earth Africa makes Earth observation (EO) data readily available, delivering decision-ready products to the African continent. Data generated by Digital Earth Africa will provide valuable insights for better decision-making across many areas, including resource management, food security and urbanisation.

Event

Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

e-shape

e-shape is a unique initiative that brings together decades of public investment in Earth Observation and in cloud capabilities into services for the decision-makers, the citizens, the industry and the researchers. It allows Europe to position itself as global force in Earth observation through leveraging Copernicus, making use of existing European capacities and improving user uptake of the data from GEO assets.  EuroGEO, as Europe's contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), aims at bringing together Earth Observation resources in Europe.

Space-Enabled Modeling of the Niger River to Enhance Regional Water Resources Management

River and floodplain landscapes are constantly undergoing change due to natural and manmade processes putting pressure on fluvial systems, such as reservoirs, intensive agriculture, high-impact repetitive droughts and floods and the overall effects of climate change. All these bring about considerable changes, some of which irreversibly degrade ecosystem services, local economies and impact lives, particularly in sensitive transitional zones such as the Sahel region in Africa and its Niger River Basin (NRB).

In-Service ICT Training for Environmental Professionals

Decision-makers are faced with the constant challenge of maintaining access to and understanding new technologies and data, as information and communication technologies (ICTs) are constantly evolving and as more and more data is becoming available. Despite continually improving technologies, informed decision-making is being hindered by inadequate attention to enabling conditions, e.g. a lack of in-service education and professional training for decision-makers.

Stakeholder

The United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

The United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) is a research and training institute of the United Nations University. UNU is a global network of institutes and programs engaged in research and capacity development to support the universal goals of the UN. It brings together leading scholars from around the world with a view to generate strong and innovative knowledge on how to tackle pressing global problems. UNU-CRIS focuses on the study of processes of global cooperation and regional integration and their implications.

Geohazard Risk Mapping Initiative

The Geohazards Risk Mapping Initiative is an initiative that deploys volunteer youths, who are skilled at using Geographic Information Systems and satellite imagery analysis to create flood susceptibility and post-disaster maps in Nigeria.

Publication

Software/Tool/(Web-)App

JAXA Climate Rainfall Watch

A need to monitor precipitation extremes from space is widely recognized, especially for regions where ground-based observations are limited or unavailable. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has developed the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) in the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The JAXA participated in the Space-based Weather and Climate Extremes Monitoring (SWCEM) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) by providing the GSMaP Near-real-time Rainfall Product.

ISME-HYDRO

ISME-HYDRO is a platform that helps monitor water resources of dams, thus enabling water resources managers to better execute their duties. It employs linked data infrastructure integrating in-situ measurements, satellite data, GIS data, domain knowledge, deep learning, and provides capabilities of forecasting of water volumes, of alerting for hazardous situations, of interaction with the data through four kinds of search and GIS interactivity. The platform is easily extendable and customizable.