GEF guest lecture: Earth Observation for sustainable development

January 23, 2023
GEF guest lecture

Last Friday, students from the OSUN's Online Course on Earth Observations in Monitoring SDGs, led by Viktor Lagutov, were fortunate enough to have a lecture by guest speaker Anupam Anand from the Global Environmental Fund (GEF). 

The GEF is the largest funding mechanism for projects concerning the environment, sustainability, and climate change mitigation. Anupam Anand is a Senior Evaluation Officer at the organization, with rich knowledge of earth observation tools and the possibilities of such technologies.

The session introduced the organization by outlining its commitments to five UN conventions and by introducing a portfolio of around 5000 projects which were successfully funded. Then was presented the concept of the Project Cycle which exists in international development. It includes four core elements: design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The latter two are especially important to guarantee accountability and ensure that all mistakes are learned from. Geospatial and Earth Observation technologies are frequently used in these steps of the Project Cycle. 

A few ventures directly related to the implementation of Earth Observation were introduced, from measuring emissions of food production to tracking the growth of bamboo forests or deforestation incidents in SAPO National Park in Liberia. The use of ex-situ imagery in these cases allowed data triangulation with on-site data collection, increased efficiency, and the flexibility to work on a range of scales. 

Overall, Anupam Anand’s talk was very motivational and encouraging for the attending students, showing them which valuable practical skills they could bring to their future careers if they continue to pursue GIS.