2022 Award Winners Saluted
Addressing poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation is a goal of the United Nations’ adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). NASA supports the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). Its yearly awards celebrate organizations and initiatives that use Earth observations and geospatial information to monitor progress and drive action towards achieving these 17 SDGs.
The 2023 GEO SDG Awards Program is accepting nominations from May 16th to July 2nd, 2023. The program welcomes applications from diverse sectors, including civil society, the commercial sphere, academia, not-for-profit organizations, inter-governmental bodies, SDG "custodian agencies," and countries and programs associated with GEO. For more information and to submit nominations, please visit eo4sdg.org/awards/.
In 2015, the United Nations' member countries adopted the (SDGs). As of 2023, progress has varied toward achieving these goals. Thus it is more important than ever to acknowledge the efforts of organizations that are dedicated to realizing the SDGs.
The EO4SDG Initiative under GEO manages the GEO SDG Awards. Lawrence Friedl, director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program, is the co-chair of EO4SDG, and represents the United States. The awards program supports NASA Applied Sciences' aim to demonstrate how Earth observations can be used to strengthen societies and ecosystems in the face of environmental change and bridge the gap between scientific research and practical applications.
Celebrating 2022 Award Winners
Since its inception in 2019, the GEO SDG Awards Program has honored 30 exceptional winners. For instance, in 2022, Reforestamos México received the "GEO Member Country" award for their use of Landsat 8 satellite images to provide updated information about eight forest connectivity corridors across 16 Mexican states. Their project aided local decision-makers in land management, nature conservation, biodiversity preservation, and ecosystem services.
Another notable winner in 2022 was the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. They received the "Academia" award for developing the Google Earth Engine App for Interactive City Definition and Automatic SDG Indicator 11.3.1 Calculation. This tool enables cities worldwide to compare their performance and track SDG 11.3.1 (Land Use Efficiency), contributing to sustainable urban development and empowering city planners.
The awards program also acknowledges the private sector's contributions to sustainable development. In 2022, EOS Data Analytics (EOSDA), a part of the Noosphere space group, received the "Commercial Sector" award for their use of satellite data to provide insights on 10 out of the 17 SDGs. Their products, including EOSDA Crop Monitoring and EOSDA Forest Monitoring, support sustainable agriculture practices, efficient resource utilization, and forest management. These align with SDGs 2.4, 12.4, and 13.1. Through collaborations with government, commercial, and scientific organizations, EOSDA empowers stakeholders to make informed decisions and enhance adaptability in the face of climate-related risks and natural disasters.
In previous years, NASA Applied Sciences program teams received GEO SDG Awards. In 2021, the SDGs project team won for developing the Earth Observations Toolkit for Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements. This online platform promotes open science and tools while working toward SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda.
Two Ecological Conservation programs at NASA also won 2022 awards. One team collaborated with Costa Rica's Ministry of Environment, and their combined efforts integrated Earth observations into biodiversity and ecosystem service modeling. The "Life on Land" project, led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), involved university partners and scientists from 37 institutions. By addressing gaps in forest quality monitoring, this project supports policy development and reporting on SDG 15. Read more about the 2022 GEO SDG Award winners here.
Julie Chamberlain is the program manager of the Applied Sciences Sustainable Development Goals initiative. “These projects set a promising precedent for the GEO SDG Awards. As we look ahead to the 2023 awards, take the opportunity to nominate your organization or initiative for a 2023 GEO SDG Award, or help spread the word to other deserving candidates.” She adds, “To learn more and submit your application, please visit eo4sdg.org/awards/”
Julie Chamberlain also serves as the executive director of EO4SDG and administers the GEO SDG Awards Program. For any further inquiries, feel free to contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org.