Use space technologies to achieve SDG 12


The United Nations embraced a global call to action in 2015 to protect the environment with a comprehensive framework for global sustainable development. This motion gave birth to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 meticulously interwoven global goals designed to balance sustainable social, economic and environmental development across the world by 2030.

The SDGs aim to be relevant to all nations – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the environment and fighting climate change. They place a strong emphasis on ending hunger, poverty, HIV / AIDS and discrimination against women and disadvantaged populations in particular so that no one is left behind.

SDG – 12

The UN defines sustainable consumption and production as the promotion of resource efficiency and sustainable energy and infrastructure. It also includes access to essential services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Its implementation contributes to the achievement of global development plans. In addition, it will reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, enhance economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.

SDG 12 calls for a comprehensive set of actions by businesses, policymakers, researchers and consumers to adapt to sustainable practices. It envisions sustainable production and consumption based on advanced technological capabilities, resource efficiency and global waste reduction. Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires rapidly reducing our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the largest user of water in the world, and irrigation now claims nearly 70% of all fresh water for human use.

The management of shared natural resources and the disposal of toxic waste are essential objectives to achieve this objective. There is also a need to encourage industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste, and to help developing countries adopt more sustainable consumption patterns by 2030. A large portion of the world’s population still consumes far too little to meet its basic needs. Halving global food waste per capita at the retail and consumer level is essential for creating more efficient production and supply chains. This can contribute to food security and steer us towards a more efficient economy in the use of resources.

Here are the 11 targets of the 12th Sustainable Development Goal

  1. Implement the 10-year framework of programs on sustainable consumption and production, with all countries taking action, developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capacities of developing countries
  2. By 2030, achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  3. By 2030, halve global food waste per capita at retail and consumer level and reduce food loss along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
  4. Achieve environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and land in order to minimize their effects harmful to human health and the environment by 2030
  5. By 2030, significantly reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
  6. Encourage companies, especially large transnational corporations, to adopt sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  7. Promote sustainable public procurement practices, in line with national policies and priorities
  8. By 2030, ensure that people everywhere are informed and aware of sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
  9. Help developing countries build their scientific and technological capacities to move towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns
  10. Develop and implement tools to monitor the impacts of sustainable development for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and enhances local culture and products
  11. Streamline inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage waste by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including restructuring taxation and phasing out such harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking into account fully take into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimize possible negative effects on their development in a way that protects the poor and affected communities

How space technologies can help achieve SDG-12

According to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Activities, space can help achieve SDG 12 through

  • Management of natural resources
  • Food and dangerous goods traceability
  • Monitoring the trafficking of endangered species and the products of human slavery
  • Smart Agriculture by Combining Earth Observation, Satellite Telecommunications and Global Navigation Satellite Systems
  • The fallout from the use of in situ resources (ISRU), such as 3D printing technologies to create structures in orbit, could have applications on Earth

In The Gambia, farmers suffer from crop losses due to erratic rainfall, soil erosion, degradation and seawater intrusion from the Atlantic Ocean. To cope with these crop losses, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Swiss Earth observation service provider Sarmap are using radars on several satellites to map the entire country. The projects include observations from the Japanese ALOS satellite, the Cosmo-SkyMed mission and historical Envisat data from ESA.

In collaboration with Sarmap, ESA is supporting the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) by mapping the entire country using radar on several satellites. These include observations from the Japanese ALOS satellite, the Cosmo-SkyMed mission and historical Envisat data from ESA. Under these projects, IFAD and the Gambian government are focusing on poor rural communities and their participation in local government. It also includes improving agricultural production while preserving the environment.

These activities can bring Africa closer to sustainable consumption and production through satellite technology. In addition, ESA, Sarmap and IFAD are also working with the local population to build capacity. This involves educating field technicians on collecting crop information to validate spatial maps to ensure their accuracy. This ensures that the inhabitants can ensure a sustainable production of food.

XY Analytics South Africa has also developed a technology-based app that is transforming the country’s food system. They created a herd management tool that leverages geospatial data to monitor the health, movements, breeding status and location of livestock. This ensures effective surveillance of the livestock to prevent their easily preventable death. Measures like this ensure the sustainability of African livestock and, therefore, consumption.

In addition, Kenya uses satellite data for natural resource management and monitoring of its endangered wildlife. For example, the black rhino is now an endangered species in Kenya, with only 650 out of 20,000. This is due to climate change, poaching and illegal hunting. For example, Kenya uses satellite data to monitor weather and seasonal cycles and detect suitable pastures for rhinos. The effort team uses the Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC) to examine more than 20 years of satellite data. They use it to identify changes in precipitation and the state of pasture vegetation.

By leveraging the data cube, the team can observe and forecast trends in growing conditions. This will help them identify suitable plots for rhinos and develop grazing plans to prevent land decimation.

Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) has also set up a project – CROPMON – to develop and provide an affordable information service. The information provides farmers with information that helps them make better farm management decisions during the growing season. This improves farmers’ crop productivity by ensuring that the right decisions are made. The project provides information on:

  • The real state of culture;
  • The most likely factor limiting crop growth (climate, soil fertility, water supply, etc.) when crop development decreases;
  • And advice on how to remedy or reduce the limiting factor by adjusting the management of the operation.

Koolboks also intends to leverage geospatial applications to solve food waste issues in Africa. According to the company, more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity and refrigeration. Also, when they have refrigeration, the cost of owning one is usually a difficult task. To solve this problem, Koolboks created an off-grid solar refrigerator that can generate refrigeration for up to four days. The solar generator can generate refrigeration in the absence of electricity, and even in limited sunlight. The initiative uses IoT (Internet of Things) technology for a GIS system. This makes it possible to monitor the temperature of a refrigerator from anywhere in the world. It also helps them determine the location of refrigerators all over the world.

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