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GDA contributes to ISEPEI’s 2023 Workshop on EO for building resilience

The 2023 In-Service ICT Training for Environmental Professionals (ISEPEI) workshop on Geospatial Technologies, hosted at Budapest’s Central European University (CEU), has drawn to a triumphant close, marking its 10th anniversary. Operating under the umbrella of the GeoHub project, this event centred on the theme of “Geospatial Technologies for Advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Empowering Resilience,” and showcased the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Global Development Assistance (GDA) programme.

The workshop fostered knowledge exchange by combining presentations, live demonstrations, and interactive exercises. It served as a bridge between technology developers and practitioners, showcasing success stories like ESA’s GDA programme. Additionally, collaborative efforts with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) like ESA’s GDA precursor initiatives EO4SD and EO clinic were highlighted, underlining the capacity of Earth Observation (EO) to enhance resilience across various sectors.

These sectors encompassed the protection of essential resources like water and crops, the fortification of economic resilience within pastoral livelihoods and investments, and the enhancement of preparedness against the ever-looming spectre of disasters. The workshop demonstrated how EO data can wield transformative power for positive change.

A diverse array of participants representing various nations and backgrounds found these real-world examples to be directly applicable to their own pursuits. They identified use cases that resonated with their specific interests, swiftly recognising the relevance of EO data in their respective homelands. For instance, attendees from Kyrgyzstan were particularly eager to disseminate knowledge about EO products developed within the framework of ESA’s EO4SD, addressing the challenges facing pastoral communities. Meanwhile, a dedicated practitioner from Pakistan was enthralled by the possibilities of crafting and implementing sustainable urban development scenarios using EO data.

The workshop sparked an interest in narrowing the knowledge gap surrounding the many potential applications of EO. The introduction of ESA’s GDA ABC (Advancing and Building EO Knowledge and Capacity) knowledge hub’s scope and objectives was met with enthusiasm, reinforcing the commitment to advancing EO solutions for resilience-building. Overall, this knowledge-sharing event highlighted the potential of EO and sowed the seeds for future collaborations and innovative applications, aligning with the agenda of GDA and its associated projects.

In the company of ESA’s GDA, the workshop featured experts from United Nations organisations, research institutions, the private sector, and academia. They emphasised the pivotal role of geospatial technologies in fortifying urban and rural resilience against disasters and climate change, in harmony with the objectives of SDG 11. The event included representatives from UN agencies such as FAO, UNDRR, UNIDO, and UNOOSA, as well as experts from GDA partners such as the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).