The recent EXPANDEO conference provided deep insights into how space technologies can be used for assessing progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The moderator of the thematic panel was Betty Charalampopoulou, the CEO of Geosystems Hellas S.A., who also shared her invaluable perspective on the subject with us.
About Betty Charalampopoulou
Betty Charalampopoulou is one of the industry leaders and active contributors to global initiatives. At the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), she works with the GEO Post-2025 Strategy group, representing the European Industries view (EARSC representative). Post-25 focuses on the use of Earth observation data, since, if brought together in services that are easy to access and understand, the data can help decision-makers plan and monitor interventions for multiple interconnected challenges and solutions that aid countries in developing strategies to meet SDGs. Betty reflects, “We work on the Post-25, a map that aids countries worldwide in developing solutions to meet the needs of the Sustainable Development Goals.” Betty Charalampopoulou has also been involved with EARSC for several years now, and for the last two years, she has served as one of the directors of the EARSC board.
The Significance of Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Progress Towards Sustainable Development Goals
Betty believes in the power of interdisciplinary collaboration for achieving SDGs. As she puts it, “Experts from multiple disciplines must come together, recognise the power of collaboration, and understand that progress isn’t only about engineering, Earth observation, ICT, statistics, or social sciences—it’s a seamless line of interconnected specialities”.
There are many experts in these fields; the challenge is to convince them to work together and generate high-quality data and services. These resources should serve communities around the world, helping fight against poverty and disease, ensuring access to essential resources like water, electricity, and heat, and promoting good health and well-being. This collaboration is critical to our sustainable future.
Why It Is Crucial to Raise Awareness about the Potential of Earth Observation Data for Sustainable Development
For Betty, awareness about the potential of Earth observation data is pivotal in sustainable development. She highlights the need to convince those who prefer traditional methods about the benefits of space technologies and Earth observation. “People need to understand that space technologies and Earth observation can provide images that reveal changes, chief among these is the so-called triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, that shall be monitored and those changes to be further evaluated since it is interconnected to the sustainable development and societal challenges.” Betty says. Food insecurity, for example, is increased both by climate change, farmers, fishers and forest-dependent communities, including many indigenous peoples, are among the vulnerable groups most affected by the triple planetary crisis.
At dotSPACE, we’re dedicated to raising awareness about the potential of Earth Observation data for sustainable development. Our platform serves as an educational hub featuring a series of articles that explore the intersection of space technologies and sustainability goals. From climate change monitoring to urban planning, we spotlight the real-world applications of these technologies, showcasing their essential role in building a sustainable future. Check, for example, our article on Space for Zero Hunger.
The Role of Earth Observation in Monitoring the Progress of Sustainable Development
Betty sees Earth Observation as a key tool for monitoring sustainable development. By leveraging visualisation capabilities and change detection, it’s possible to identify changes over time. She asserts, “This method serves as an invaluable tool for identifying hotspots, and it can be used in conjunction with other data sets.”
The Future of Earth Observation in Sustainable Development
Europe currently stands at the precipice of two significant trends. The first is related to Copernicus, which will provide services worldwide in support of the Sustainable Development Goals and the European Green Deal.
The second trend is Europe’s acknowledgement of the critical importance of secure connectivity. Betty asserts, “Secure connectivity signifies that data and information can be quickly and securely transmitted, thereby mitigating any threats. This is a crucial next step that needs to be considered on a global scale.”
Betty Charalampopoulou’s insights at the EXPANDEO conference provide a window into the evolving landscape of Earth observation and its role in achieving sustainable development goals.
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