Developing an integrated global observing strategy

Creating digital earth environmental information infrastructure
Promoting an integrated earth observation system
Digital earth infrastructure principally involves three key technologies - remote sensing, satellite based positioning systems, and geographical information systems. These will become essential tools for detecting and measuring variables of landuse and land cover, soil, crop and rangeland, forests and trees and fisheries resources, and for monitoring and predicting environmental changes and sustainability.

By "implanting" smart sensors in strategically selected vulnerable locations/objects, and collecting and communicating data through various platforms from large satellite systems to mini-, micro- or nano-satellites operating at an altitude from a few dozens kilometers to 36,000 kilometers, it will enable a real-time detection for early warning of natural disasters such as land slides and forest fires, monitoring spreads of hazardous materials, and reporting the loss of those critical biodiversities which have been put under close surveillance. The information can be disseminated through a worldwide digital earth network ready for on-line processing, analysis and utilization.

The concept of an Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) has been developed by the international community and will contribute to the implementation of the digital earth concept. The objective of IGOS is to unite the major satellite and surface-based systems for global environmental observations of the atmosphere, oceans and land. As a strategic planning process, IGOS links research, long-term monitoring and operational programmes, as well as data producers and users, in a framework that delivers maximum benefit and effectiveness in addressing information needs in decision making for sustainable development.
IGOS represents the convergence of several processes and inter-governmental mechanisms that recognize the importance of systematic observation of the Earth environment and the value of synergizing various space observation and in-situ programmes. The major partners of IGOS include: the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO-IOC) and UNESCO itself, the International Council for Science (ICSU), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which jointly sponsor the development and implementation of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) to organise global-scale operational observations of the climate, oceans and terrestrial surface.

FAO is a founder member of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), which plays a pivotal role in IGOS. The central mission of GTOS is to provide policy makers, resource managers and researchers with a decision support tool and access to the data needed to detect, quantify, locate, understand and warn of changes, especially reductions, in the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to support sustainable development. GTOS focuses on five issues of global concern: changes in land quality; availability of freshwater resources; loss of biodiversity; pollution, toxicity and climate change. This programme aims to provide guidance in data analysis and to promote integration of bio-physical and socio-economic geo-referenced data; interaction between monitoring networks, research programmes and policy makers; data exchange and application; and quality assurance and harmonization of measurement methods.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal