EO at the service of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

  • The European Space Agency, in cooperation with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), organised a workshop in September 2017 in La Paz (Bolivia) to integrate EO4SD-Agriculture services within the IDB workflow.  

Earth Observation technology is a powerful instrument for planning, monitoring and assessing projects implemented by Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). EO data and services could revolutionise the way these institutions work if they are integrated as a standard instrument in their workflow by adding an extra dimension, having a considerable impact on the management and the decision-making process for their projects.

The European Space Agency and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have been working together over the last months in the framework of the EO4SD initiative (Earth Observation for Sustainable Development– Agriculture and Rural Development project), exploring the ways in which EO can support IDB in their activities. IDB will specifically be provided with knowledge and tools to make better-informed decisions on the basis of historical and current information relating to habitat quality, deforestation and crop distribution to support the IADB Land Administration project in the country. This in turn can lead to the design of more sustainable policies related to sustainable use of agriculture and forest resources.

In order to consolidate the use of new EO information products and services at large scale by the IDB, both institutions (ESA and IBD), organised a 2-day workshop on 19 and 20 September at the IDB premises in La Paz (Bolivia) to discuss the specific information services to be demonstrated in the project.

Representatives from the EO4SD – Agriculture and Rural Development Cluster delivered presentations on the services and the capacity building activities. Credits: EO4SD Agriculture Cluster.

The IDB is currently providing financing and technical assistance for several key ongoing projects in countries such as Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. Therefore, representatives of the EO4SD-Agriculture cluster presented during the workshop the service portfolio offered by this initiative, and a wide number of satellite products that might match with the needs of the stakeholders during the implementation, monitoring and evaluation phases of the IDB projects. The meeting focused on tackling the topic of the agriculture expansion impact on deforestation which included using EO data for assessment of crop type and productivity, forest cover and deforestation, changes and trends over time.   

Habitat quality model derived with the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Service and Tradeoffs (InVEST) tool. Example from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Credits: EO4SD Agriculture Cluster (Geoville for ESA/IDB, 2017).

Juan Manuel Murguia from the IDB and Jorge Ramirez Ortega from the Ministry National Forestry Institute (INFONA, Instituto Forestal National) shared their experiences in regards to projects that they are handling in Bolivia and Paraguay, which resulted in an animated discussion on needs and opportunities of integrating some EO services offered by the EO4SD-Agriculture Cluster into their workflows. 

The workshop gathered participants from the National Institute for Agrarian Reform (INRA, Bolivia), the General Directorate for Forest Management and Development (DGGDF, Bolivia), the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE), the UE Delegation in Bolivia, the Ministry of Planning and Development (Bolivia) as well as the Ministry National Forestry Institute (INFONA, Paraguay). Alongside these participants, other stakeholders from the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment (MVOTMA, Uruguay) attended the event through WebEx.

Capacity building activities

The second day was dedicated to highlighting and defining the requirements for technical cooperation and capacity building activities. A representative from the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente reviewed the needs and opportunities for using the new technologies (based on weekly observation of optical and radar satellites such as Sentinel 1 and 2).

The EO4SD Capacity Building plan was presented as the starting point for a discussion on different possibilities for technical cooperation and for planning the content of an upcoming training workshop tailored to the stakeholders' needs.