NAIROBI, March 21 (Xinhua) -- An African organization on Thursday launched a program to track achievements of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in five African countries.
Davis Adieno, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) regional director for Africa, said that Kenya has been included as a member of the Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC) to help use satellite data in analyzing the progress of SDGs.
"The program will combine data from the past 17 years from satellites, to capture images while assessing crop performance in the farms with data from agriculture surveys to understand the intricacies of environmental and seasonal changes over time in the countries," Adieno said during the launch of ARDC in Nairobi.
He said the program will drive political change to accept the use of data, catalyze new ideas and innovations and use data for sustainable development.
Adieno said that besides Kenya, the program is also being undertaken in countries including Ghana, Senegal and Tanzania.
He noted the plans are underway to drive a radically different approach to sustainable development across Africa by supporting the expansion of traditional data collection, seeking to prevent data hoarding by business and institutions.
The plan is also encouraging opening up of data that have potential for social impact and engaging in innovative partnerships to make satellite data readily available across the continent.
"The ability to scan almost two decades' worth of changes in Kenya's lands will allow a whole new level of agriculture forecasting that can be used to train farmers while also providing a more powerful type of risk assessment that can be critical in securing affordable credit and crop insurance," said Adieno.
Adieno noted that with the delay in meeting SDGs, governments must use reliable and up to date information from many sources, to inform decisions and to track progress before the deadline in 2020.
He noted that through partnership, the countries are capable of using the data cube to improve agricultural production, strengthen food security, optimize urban planning for better disaster prevention and response, and more..
According to Adieno, findings will be filtered through powerful data analysis tools or algorithms to produce insights and guidance on variety of issues, like how different types of seeds can be expected to perform in different regions throughout the year.
"All of this information can then be used to improve planning, assistance programs and resource distribution to help protect vulnerable citizens," he added.
GPSDD is partnering with over 300 partners drawn from all sectors to ensure that countries achieve the SDGs
Adieno noted that earth observations has the potential to expose harmful human activity like illegal logging, pollution of waterways, mapping deforestation and seeing urban sprawl in real-time.