The approval of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 has been a major turning point for global development efforts. The new goals place an emphasis on respecting the long-term economic, social, and environmental requirements of the global community, and space will be a pivotal component in achieving these goals. The ESPI Report 59 “Space for Sustainable Development” elaborates on these highly relevant aspects, and it was produced as a collective effort by Stefano Ferretti, Jörg Feustel-Büechel, Roy Gibson, Peter Hulsroj, Andreas Papp and Elisabeth Veit.
This report discusses how space has been involved with sustainable development projects in the past, as well as where possible space contributions to development solutions have been underutilised, with an eye towards identifying possible pathways forward for bringing the space and development communities into closer cooperation. After giving an overview of the changes precipitated by the SDGs and current and potential future areas of interaction, the report creates a map of stakeholders relevant for bringing the two fields closer together. It emphasises that demand-side actors, including governments, UN organisations, and NGOs, must be given the driving seat in determining requirements for successful projects. Supply-side actors in the space sector must engage in increased dialogue to foster consensus-building for a unified approach. The report critically analyses existing dialogue mechanisms and identifies practical tools for increasing cooperation between space and development actors. The report concludes by encouraging the creation of space programmes targeting sustainable development.
This study aims to inform and provide recommendations to actors within a broad range of fields within the development and space sectors, but is also intended to engage all persons interested in the social impact of space.