GEO SDG 2021 Award for collaboration on SDG toolkit

On Friday 26 November 2021, the Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (University of Twente) together with UN-Habitat, NASA, and UAE Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre received the GEO SDG 2021 Award for the category Collaboration. The award honours a large group of experts who collaborated when building the EO toolkit on SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. 

This international awards program recognizes organizations who take action to increase progress on Sustainable Development Goals monitoring and implementation through the use of Earth observations. “These awards honour productivity, ingenuity, proficiency, novelty, and exemplary communications of results and experiences in the use of Earth observations to advance sustainable development in alignment with the SDGs” says Argyro Kavvada, Executive Director for the GEO EO4SDG Initiative.


Toolkit supports local SDG 11 reporting

The Earth Observations Toolkit for Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements centralizes Earth observation data, tools, and use cases, and serves as a first step for cities and countries interested in using Earth observations for SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda. Dr. Monika Kuffer elaborates: “The main idea of this toolkit is to make Earth observation data more accessible for local stakeholders, supporting local SDG 11 reporting, and to form a large network of users. We support exchange between users that are not familiar with EO data and provide support on capacity development of users. For example, the toolkit focuses on user stories and the role of EO for urban-related indicators, guide policies, and support sustainable urban development.”

Dr. Monika Kuffer
“Since the World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, we formed a team coordinated by UN-Habitat and NASA to create this toolkit together with a constantly growing group of contributors and users. ITC had a key role in developing the toolkit with its strong network in the Global South and the competence on capacity development.”
Dr. Monika Kuffer


Three examples of tools that can be found on

Wide range of user groups

A large network of EO experts (e.g., from the European Commission, CIESIN, ESA, SANSA ITC, and other universities), practitioners (ranging from NSOs, ministries to local governments), and end-users have actively contributed to the writing and review of the toolkit. The process has reached a wide range of user groups that require data for local SDG 11 reporting. Presently, four working groups exist: the Impact Working Group, the Awareness Building Working Group, the Bench-learning Working Group, and the FAIR Data Working Group. “The primary purpose of these groups is to further improve the usefulness and sharing of this continuously updated resource. For example, we are presently working on a series of capacity building webinars to support users to access data and tools part of the toolkit”, says Monika Kuffer.  

More information

The Group on Earth Observations Sustainable Development Goals (GEO SDG) Awards 2021 recognizes the productivity, innovation, novelty, and exemplary efforts in the use of Earth observations to support sustainable development. Launched in 2019, this annual award is presented to those making an impact on the 17 global goals put forth by the United Nations. Visit this website for more information on the GEO SDG Awards Program. Please visit this website for more information on the toolkit.

R. Kwakman MSc (Robin)
Communication Advisor (Faculty ITC)