Disasters cause human suffering, environmental harm, and economic loss; investing in its prevention and reduction will diminish people’s vulnerability, saving lives and reducing economical damage.
The impact of disasters on lives and economy are of prime importance to society, especially for developing countries, where the mortality and economic losses are disproportionately high and where development achievements can be threatened. Many types of natural disasters can affect the humankind worldwide: Geo-hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes; hydro-meteorological hazards like floods, hurricanes, tropical storms and storm surges; climatological events like droughts, heatwaves and wildfires among others. There is the need of addressing the impact of these events not only by reacting after episodes but also by enhancing prevention and preparedness. Earth Observation can contribute to tackling most of these natural hazard types efficiently by providing hazard mapping, supporting services for the assessment of exposure, vulnerability and risk and reconstruction monitoring.
Since 2008 the European Space Agency (ESA) has worked closely with Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and their Client States to harness the benefits of Earth Observation (EO) in global sustainable development. Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) is an ESA´s initiative, which aims at increasing the uptake of EO-based information in regular development operations at national and international level.