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Environment

UK Reveals Over 50 Ways Satellites Can Tackle Global Issues Like Deforestation and Illegal Fishing

Why Global Citizens Should Care 
As climate change intensifies around the world, extreme weather is putting people's lives and livelihoods at risks, while oceans and forests are changing. Data collected from space can help monitor these changes and inform responses to them. The United Nations’ Global Goal 15 for life on land calls on governments to protect forests and develop land sustainably. You can take action on this issue here.  

A group of companies and universities involved in space research have teamed up to produce a list of ways they can help solve global problems.

Satellite imagery and the ability to analyse it can help governments and NGOs better tackle challenges such as responding to natural disasters and detecting illegal deforestation, the UK government said this month. 

In fact, the list the organisations have provided includes more than 50 possible solutions to a wide range of problems, that could all benefit from the UK's space technology and expertise.

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The fascinating possibilities include using satellite data to inform herding communities about changes in the weather to help them become more resilient to climate change, and analysing the oceans to reveal illegal fishing. 

One company proposes using its satellite to provide high-speed internet to rural schools. There are also several groups offering services relating to monitoring forests and land for farming.

The initiative was organised by the UK Space Agency as part of the International Partnership Programme.

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The 5-year programme is funded by UK aid and awards grants to projects using space expertise to benefit developing countries, in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals.

The agency hopes that organisations and governments dotted around the globe will take them up on the ideas and start putting solutions in place. 

Andrew Carrel, a chief technology officer at Rezatec, one of the participating companies, said the proposal was a “great opportunity to demonstrate their geospatial data analytics services”, which could be used to improve crop yields for farmers in Mexico, he said.

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Meanwhile, the chief executive of the UK Space Agency, Dr Graham Turnock, said: "For the first time, this directory provides a global platform to showcase UK expertise in using space to support sustainable development." 

He further described the project as a “one-stop shop offering innovative solutions to some of the major problems faced by developing countries and emerging economies”.

The agency’s International Partnership Programme is already working on similar projects in 30 countries across Africa, Asia, and South America.