No pixel left behind: Toward integrating Earth Observations for agriculture into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals framework
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No pixel left behind: Toward integrating Earth Observations for agriculture into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals framework

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  • Journal Title:
    Remote Sensing of Environment
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    Remotely sensed Earth observations (EO) have their history firmly rooted in agricultural monitoring, and more recently with applications in food production, food security, and sustainable agriculture. Still, after more than 45 years of observing the Earth's land surface, usage of EO data by operational monitoring entities concerned with global agriculture is uneven. One reason for this is a gap in continuous communication and collaboration between those who undertake research and development of methods for cropland assessment and monitoring, and those who have the mandate to report on agricultural indicators at a national, regional, and global scales. The recent international policy focus on the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development via its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is giving increased attention to measurements and indicators for monitoring and measuring progress for meeting these goals. Satellite EO provide a source of measurements beyond traditional census data collection and statistical reporting. In this vein, this overview paper describes the current and potential uses of EO data and tools that can support the SDGs, particularly highlighting the activities of the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) Initiative. GEOGLAM is composed of agricultural ministries, intergovernmental organizations, research entities, universities, space agencies, and members of industry concerned with agricultural monitoring. This GEOGLAM community has a broad portfolio of activities which provide information on the state and changes in agricultural production and land use that can be considered as contributions to both supporting the attainment of several of the 17 SDGs and many of their 169 Targets, as well as monitoring their achievement via the Global Indicator Framework. GEOGLAM contributes in particular to Goal 2: Zero Hunger, but also has less immediately apparent contributions in the realms of water (Goal 6), responsible consumption and production (Goal 12), climate action (Goal 13), life on land (Goal 15), and global partnerships for sustainable development (Goal 17). We further characterize the applicability and use of EO data products and tools as they correspond with the United Nations Interagency Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals (IAEG-SDGs) Global Indicator Framework. This inventory will be complemented by a discussion of the intersection of other policy mandates with the SDGs in the agriculture and food security contexts, and will conclude with a discussion of approaches to improving awareness of EO value and bridging the gap between policy and EO communities, to the societal benefit of all with no one left behind.
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    Rem.Sens. Enviro, 234: 111470
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