Group on Earth Observations – GEO Week 2022

Statement of The Netherlands

The Netherlands has had a prominent open data policy since 2015. Open data stimulates cooperation and innovation. Open and free data and derived information should preferably be provided as a public good on a sustainable provision, not on a temporary project basis. Internationally, the Netherlands government supports several data initiatives advocated by amongst others GEO (earth observations), GODAN (agriculture), and WMO (meteorology).

The Netherlands actively stimulates the development and use of services based on satellite data, with the goal of bringing the benefits of space to society. For the Netherlands, the Netherlands Space Office operates an open portal that provides imagery with a resolution up to 50 centimetres for free for the public and businesses in The Netherlands.

Dutch organizations are contributing to GEO’s objectives especially in the following benefit areas: SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG  6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 14 (Life below Water), SDG 15 (Life on Land) and SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). The Netherlands Space Office promotes the use of Earth observation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as follow-up on the exploratory study and discussion and consultation sessions with Dutch stakeholders on this subject. Furthermore, the ITC faculty of the University of Twente is contributing to the coordination of the capacity building activities associated with the acquisition, processing and use of Earth Observation data and information for policy and decision-making, educating students from around the world.

Contributing to SDGs 3, 11 and 13, the Dutch co-funded satellite instrument TROPOMI delivers image of air quality and atmospheric trace gases of every place on the world, every day. TROPOMI was launched on ESA satellite Sentinel 5P in 2017. Dutch organizations have been strongly involved in the instrument and application development and are currently making use of the data originating from the mission. The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, KNMI, is the principal investor institute of TROPOMI.

A major Dutch contribution to a.o. SDG 2, 6 and 15 is the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) program: Space for Food Security. Through the G4AW program, commissioned by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and carried out by NSO, millions of smallholder food producers have been provided with advisory and/or financial services based on (a.o.) satellite information. Whereas GEO GEOGLAM informs governmental and institutional agencies on food security, G4AW services use Copernicus satellites and meteorological data to provide B2C solutions for smallholder food production. G4AW aims to support widespread adoption of climate smart agriculture solutions for achieving food security. Fulfilling this ambition requires value-chain actors to open new markets and enable scalable solutions around G4AW-like services. In G4AW, 25 partnerships 15 countries are contributing to improved food security with a total investment from public and private partners of over € 100 million. The target is to reach 4,5 million food producers by summer of 2023, and by end 2021 4 million food producers were reached.

In relation to SDG6, the Dutch government is funding the Water Productivity Open-Access Portal (WaPOR), implemented and operated by FAO. The database provides information about water and land productivity that is openly available and for free. The data is made available for Africa and the MENA region at three different scales (at 250, 100 and 30 meter). In 2022 it was decided to expand WaPOR to global scale. These data may be used in national reporting on SDGs for the “water efficiency in agriculture” SDG indicator.

In support of SDG6 and SDG16, the Dutch initiated Water, Peace and Security initiative, coordinated by IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, is designing innovative tools and services that can identify developing water-related security risks. These innovative tools and services are able to mobilize stakeholders and build capacity, facilitating action with developed comprehensive solutions through inclusive partnerships. This leads to evidence-based actions that allow risks to be addressed, and human insecurity prevented or mitigated.

The Netherlands is involved in many GEO activities and is committed to continue its support to GEO.

Harm van de Wetering

GEO Principal for the Netherlands 

Netherlands Space Office (NSO)