Conservation International in RIC2018: Space Science for Sustainable Development
Conservation International actively took part in both the pre-conference training and the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development International Conference (RIC2018) held at Nairobi between 12th and 17th August 2018. The theme of the conference was “Space Science for Sustainable Development” The Cabinet Secretary for Lands Farida Karoney presided over the opening of the event.
The RIC2018 was the second conference after RIC2017. The main objective of the conference is to spur exchange of ideas on fast tracking application of earth observation and geospatial technologies in developing decision making. The major areas for information sharing were Agriculture & Food Security, Weather & Climate, Water Resources, Land Use Land Cover & Ecosystem, Land Management & Cross-cutting.
During the preconference training events hosted and sponsored by Geo4Africa and RCMRD, Conservation International staff (Monica Noon, Mariano Roglich and Tom Kiptenai) took participants through a hands-on training on the trends.earth tool. Mariano gave a presentation on the link between land degradation and the need for a tool that is easy to use in mapping degraded land. Using Kenya as an example, participants carried out analysis using the three components, land cover, soil carbon and productivity. They were taken through the interpretation of the maps as well as the excel files. This generated a lot of interest particularly from Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology students who wanted more practical sessions.
Indeed, the power of space technology in facilitating attainment of sustainable developments goals such as SDG 15.3.1 about attaining Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030 cannot be ignored. The tool trends.earth developed by Conservation International in partnership with Lund University, Global Environment Facility, NASA and United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification is of its kind with a robust capability of generating results with high level of accuracy at all scales; global, regional, national and local. The maps and tables generated offer useful information with regards to where degradation is taking place, at what rate/scale, the size of land degraded etc. With such information, actors can develop data driven approaches to addressing the problem of land degradation.