Earth Observation for Development
World Bank – European Space Agency Joint Session
SDN Week, 29th February, 2:30-5:30pm
The Sustainable Development Network Forum 2012 provided the opportunity to discuss the future of Earth Observation (EO) within the Bank and to review the strategic directions concerning current and future World Bank approaches toward the coordinated use of EO information technology and applications for development projects.
We look at this collaboration from the perspective of how efficiently we could use this new technology to better inform the dialogue with our clients. ||
Zoubida Allaoua, Director, FEU Department
The afternoon of Friday, February, 29, 2012 was dedicated to the review of the strategic targets concerning the collaboration between the World Bank and the European Space Agency. The session was jointly chaired by Zoubida Allauoa (FEU Director, the World Bank ) and Volker Liebig (Director for Earth Observation Programmes, ESA ) who outlined the lessons learnt and the way for future collaborative activities.
“We’ve been talking about this partnership for quite a while,” said Allaoua, "and ESA gave us a lot of support in terms of technical assistance. Now we have to look at this collaboration from the perspective of how efficiently we could use this new technology to better inform the dialogue with our clients."
In their introductory remarks Abha Joshi Ghani (Sector Manager, Urban Unit, World Bank) and Maurice Borgeaud (Head of Department of Science Applications and Future Technologies, ESA) underscored the relevance of the collaboration to address various challenges of sustainable development. The future prospects in this area will greatly benefit from the advanced satellite capabilities developed in the framework of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program (GMES). "We have a fleet of the 20 satellites in the pipeline to be launched by the end of the decade", said Borgeaud, "and we support free and open data policy."
Results and way forward
Paola Agostini (Senior Environment Specialist, Africa Region, World Bank), Juan Gaviria (Sector Leader, Africa Region, World Bank) and Fook Chuan Eng (Senior water and Sanitation Specialist, Indonesia Country Office, World Bank) presented the results of three out of the twelve joint ESA-WB projects recently completed: forest resource management in Liberia, real-time oil spill detection and polluter identification in the Mozambique Channel, and analysis of land subsidence in Jakarta. They discussed the benefits of using the EO services in their projects and ways to build on their successful outcomes.
"There are changes in behavior that are happening with this application," said Gaviria. "We see the tremendous interest in the uptake of these tools by port operators and local authorities. The national agencies involved in marine protection and pollution control in the Mozambique Channel have changed the perception how they can manage the contamination of the ocean using these new possibilities with satellite technology."
With the support of GEF-funding the new regional center for regional oil spill management will be hosted in Cape Town and led by the the South African Maritime Safety Agency.
Anthony G. Bigio (Sr. Urban Specialist, EO Coordinator, World Bank) and Stephen Coulson (Head of Industry Section, ESA) jointly wrapped up the main outcomes of the collaboration to date. "These pilot projects represent at least 10 years worth of investment on our side" said Coulson emphasizing that ESA has been working with various agencies at the national level in Europe to provide validated, tested and operational information services which are now routinely used for environmental and security policy implementation.
"This is an example of how investments and experiences that we had in Europe can be quickly brought the other parts of the world. The final step to take is to evaluate and quantify the real benefits that the EO has brought to the World Bank project."
Bigio concluded that while EO services were successfully piloted in certain selected sectors at the Bank, there is a clear potential to deepen the collaboration and extend it to other areas. Therefore, next steps will concentrate on the identification of the selected sectors of the Bank's Sustainable Development Network that could benefit from the second phase of the joint World Bank-ESA activities. The initial areas marked for such enhanced collaboration are forestry, oceans, disaster risk management, urban development and fragile states.
Geospatial information at the Bank
The half-day meeting ended with the presentation of the new Bank internal spatial data portal GeoWB intended for mainstreaming the use of geospatial data and information, data sharing and maps visualization, and ultimately serving as a repository of the existing and future World Bank spatial datasets.