With the support of

Josef Aschbacher, Director General

Interview

All our space assets are deployed in monitoring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Thanks to our satellites, we provide crucial indicators and information about targets and the achievement of goals. For those goals related to poverty, food security or water quality, for example, we use Earth observation satellites combined with telecommunications and navigation services to monitor agriculture, evaluate crop yields and ensure that people have access to food.

From Space, we measure the pulse of our planet and collect essential climate data: the rise in sea level, sea surface temperature, concentrations of greenhouse gases, and rates of deforestation. Without satellites, scientists would not be able to make predictions about climate change.

Because these are global data often harvested from remote areas, such as melting glaciers, more than 50% of essential climate variables can be exclusively, or best, monitored from Space.

We also need to keep the Earth’s orbit sustainable and clean. With so many more satellites in activity, space debris has become a major issue. There are 100 million particles of sizes ranging from 1mm to 1cm flying in the same orbit as our satellites. This presents a huge technological challenge and poses problems for space traffic management.

We have also applied the principles of the 17 SDGs to our own ESA practices implementing energy-saving policies, fitting solar panels, and improving our carbon footprint.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia are Associate Members. Canada takes part in certain programmes under a cooperation agreement. ESA has signed European Cooperating States Agreements with Bulgaria, Cyprus and Slovakia, and cooperation agreements with Croatia and Malta.

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