Integrating EO services in ongoing development projects in Latin America


Agriculture is a crucial sector for the future of sustainable development. Some Latin American countries are prioritising agriculture as a key pillar of their development strategy to provide sustainable livelihoods in rural areas. Governments and some Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have been putting in place investment initiatives to accelerate the growth of agricultural output in Latin America to enhance food security and reduce poverty for the rural population. Earth Observation technology has great potential as a standard tool for the implementation, monitoring and assessment of development projects in these regions.

The EO4SD (Earth Observation for Sustainable Development) – Agriculture and Rural Development Cluster, composed by a team of specialist service providers in the remote sensing sector, has been collaborating with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in the framework of the ESA’s EO4SD programme to demonstrate the value of EO-based geo-information products and services to support agricultural monitoring and management tasks. The EO4SD - Agriculture and Rural Cluster is helping them to boost food production and drive sustainable and inclusive growth to the region.

In order to show how EO data can revolutionise the way Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) work EO4SD - Agriculture and Rural Development Cluster, in cooperation with the Environmental and Social Safeguards Unit of the IDB, is organising a workshop composed of two different thematic sessions on 19 and 20 September in La Paz (Bolivia). The purpose of this workshop is to discuss on how current projects implemented in Latin America can benefit from EO, how new satellite-based information can improve ongoing activities and define the geospatial requirements (thematically, spatially and temporally), what factors influence and increase the sustainable use of satellite-based products and services in the day to day operation and the needs for cooperation in the development of a capacity building plan.

During the first day, representatives of the Rural and Agriculture Cluster will present the approach of the EO4SD programme which is developing several monitoring products and services in Latin American countries based on EO data, including: crop type and productivity, irrigated area performance, forest cover and deforestation, biodiversity and other ecosystem values, maps and data products providing statistics, changes and trends over time. In addition, experiences from ongoing projects in Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay will be shared with the audience.

During the second day the focus will be on the needs and opportunities of developing a technical cooperation and capacity building plan for using new technologies that will be based on weekly observations from the optical and radar of optical and radar satellites such as Sentinel-1 and -2. As the final part of the event, a series of upcoming tailored training workshops that will take place in Latin America will be discussed.