i initiative

Space and Development…Increasing Access to Space in Africa

Case File: MDG 8- Global Partnership

Posted by Simon Adebola on September 14, 2010

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Target 8A: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system
o Includes a commitment to good governance, development, and poverty reduction – both nationally and internationally

Target 8B: Address the Special Needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDC)
o Includes: tariff and quota free access for LDC exports; enhanced programme of debt relief for HIPC and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous ODA (Overseas Development Assistance) for countries committed to poverty reduction

Target 8C: Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing States
o Through the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the outcome of the twenty-second special session of the General Assembly

Target 8D: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term

Specific to least developed countries (LDCs), Africa, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States

Official development assistance (ODA)
o Net ODA, total and to LDCs, as percentage of OECD/DAC donors’ GNI
o Proportion of total sector-allocable ODA of OECD/DAC donors to basic social services (basic education, primary health care, nutrition, safe water and sanitation)
o Proportion of bilateral ODA of OECD/DAC donors that is untied
o ODA received in landlocked countries as proportion of their GNIs
o ODA received in small island developing States as proportion of their GNIs

Market access
o Proportion of total developed country imports (by value and excluding arms) from developing countries and from LDCs, admitted free of duty
o Average tariffs imposed by developed countries on agricultural products and textiles and clothing from developing countries
o Agricultural support estimate for OECD countries as percentage of their GDP
o Proportion of ODA provided to help build trade capacity

Debt sustainability
o Total number of countries that have reached their HIPC decision points and number that have reached their HIPC completion points (cumulative)
o Debt relief committed under HIPC initiative, US$
o Debt service as a percentage of exports of goods and services

Target 8E: In co-operation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries
o Proportion of population with access to affordable essential drugs on a sustainable basis

Target 8F: In co-operation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications
o Telephone lines and cellular subscribers per 100 population
o Personal computers in use per 100 population
o Internet users per 100 Population[13]

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Case File: MDG 4- Child Health

Posted by Simon Adebola on September 14, 2010

Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality Rate

Target 4A: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
o Under-five mortality rate
o Infant (under 1) mortality rate
o Proportion of 1-year-old children immunised against measles

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Case File: MDG 5- Maternal Health

Posted by Simon Adebola on September 14, 2010

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Target 5A: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
o Maternal mortality ratio
o Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel

Target 5B: Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health
o Contraceptive prevalence rate
o Adolescent birth rate
o Antenatal care coverage (at least one visit and at least four visits)
o Unmet need for family planning

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Case File: MDG 6- Combat HIV/AIDS

Posted by Simon Adebola on September 14, 2010

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

Target 6A: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
o HIV prevalence among population aged 15–24 years
o Condom use at last high-risk sex
o Proportion of population aged 15–24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS
o Ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10–14 years

Target 6B: Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
o Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs

Target 6C: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
o Prevalence and death rates associated with malaria
o Proportion of children under 5 sleeping under insecticide-treated bednets
o Proportion of children under 5 with fever who are treated with appropriate anti-malarial drugs
o Prevalence and death rates associated with tuberculosis
o Proportion of tuberculosis cases detected and cured under DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course)

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Case File: MDG 7- Environmental Sustainability

Posted by Simon Adebola on September 14, 2010

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Target 7A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs; reverse loss of environmental resources

Target 7B: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
o Proportion of land area covered by forest
o CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP)
o Consumption of ozone-depleting substances
o Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits
o Proportion of total water resources used
o Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected
o Proportion of species threatened with extinction

Target 7C: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation (for more information see the entry on water supply)
o Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban and rural
o Proportion of urban population with access to improved sanitation

Target 7D: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers
o Proportion of urban population living in slums


“Sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and faeces. Inadequate sanitation is a major cause of disease world-wide and improving sanitation is known to have a significant beneficial impact on health both in households and across communities. The word ‘sanitation’ also refers to the maintenance of hygienic conditions, through services such as garbage collection and wastewater disposal.” World Health Organisation

Fig. 1: Population using improved drinking water sources (%) 2008. Source: WHO Global Health Observatory

Fig. 2: Population using improved sanitation facilities (%) 2008. Source: WHO Global Health Observatory

Integrated Satellite Applications

    Sustainable provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and faeces:

EO can be used in urban planning to help the siting of waste disposal and treatment sites away from where they could constitute a hazard to both surface and ground water sources. Beyond the surface mapping capabilities that applications like Google Maps and Google Earth place at our disposal, there are other satellites that characterize the sub-surface features of water sources. This has been demonstrated by the NSA/DLR Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission. These capabilities are useful in determining the flow of pollutants below the surface.

EO has been used to map population density and the availability and access of these populations to various amenities. The combination of these population estimates with data on the location of sanitation amenities would help to guide the provision and location of additional sanitation facilities where they are needed. This also applies to the planning and routing of garbage collection and wastewater disposal.

    Sustainable access to safe drinking water:

Hydrogeology studies groundwater sources. Earth observation (EO) is used in locating, quantifying and defining the depth from the surface of groundwater sources. Groundwater is the source of 20% of global freshwater. There are also surface water sources of fresh water. EO assesses the geographical distribution, extent, temperature and chemical (including salinity) composition, and proliferation of flora in surface water. Water flows in both directions between groundwater and surface water. This makes pollution a shared challenge between both water sources. EO can detect polluted surface water through indirectly assessing the proliferation of flora (e.g. algal bloom) which can occur following the deposition of waste in surface water.

EO is also a vital resource in the estimation of potential sources of safe drinking water. It estimates, defines the characteristics, and provides visual details on potential options in making decisions on obtaining water. Through using the Geo-navigation capabilities of mobile phones, water sources in communities can be mapped and made available on an easily accessible/downloadable map. This can be combined with laboratory testing of each of these water points to certify their potability. This information layer of safe drinking water sources can then be equally mapped and shared to prevent transmission of water borne diseases like cholera.

    Health Promotion:

The use of the mobile phone as a health promotion tool has been explored especially on behavioral change campaigns in sexual health. This is also a tool that can be harnessed for promoting better sanitary practices among communities. This is also another advantage of the growing penetration and availability of mobile phone services in rural communities in the developing world.
Similarly another useful means of increasing awareness on sanitary practices within communities is the ability to take photographs, tag the photographs with information and geographical coordinates (through geo-navigation satellites like the GPS), and upload this onto the internet directly from a mobile phone. This can be used in surveys to assess the availability of sanitation facilities within populations. It can also be used to document the occurrence of bad sanitary practices and aid the understanding of the frequency, nature and possible causes of poor sanitation.


Integrated satellite applications should be further explored as a way of supporting efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The availability of mapping, communication, and geo-navigation capabilities on mobile phones provides an opportunistic synergy that must be exploited. This would broaden the scope of data collection, and improve access to necessary information on safe water and basic sanitation towards MDG 7 and beyond 2015

Download the UNited Nations 2010 Millennium Development Goal Report here

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Case File: Is Global warming aiding infectious disease spread?

Posted by Simon Adebola on July 1, 2010


The Quarterly Review of Biology March 2010
Scientific American 10th June 2010


Emerging Infectious Diseases January 2000
Science 8th September 2000
Nature 7th February 2002
KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme 20th May 2010
Nature 20th May 2010


Rosemary Drisdelle

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GRACE abounds!

Posted by Simon Adebola on July 1, 2010

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are to continue their collaboration on the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission on till 2015. Full story here

Data from NASA's GRACE satellites helps gauge groundwater fluctuations in northwestern India and elsewhere. (National Geographic Society Website)

Image courtesy Trent Schindler and Matt Rodell, NASA

Results from this mission have proven invaluable in tracking the amount of underground water, ice, and global sea levels. This is of key essence in preparing for hazards related to water shortages, rising sea levels, and ocean currents. It is also important that scienctists and researchers on the African continent take advantage of such data to develop intelligent systems that would help guide the development of climate adaptation, disaster preparedness, and mitigation efforts. The role of international cooperation, capacity building, and financial support is very crucial here. Efforts should also be made to engage communities proactively, and empower them to cope with these foreseeable challenges.

More on GRACE here

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World Cup 2010 in Africa

Posted by Simon Adebola on July 1, 2010

This post is a look at how space assets can be used in the planning of urban centers that are humane, livable, and yet productive and vibrant. It is no news that many parts of the continent are increasingly becoming urbanised and there is a steady demographic shift towards more urban lifestyles with their attendant health effects.

NASA Image of Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg

The planning of urban centers needs to incorporate the presence of many factors, some of which are listed here:

1. Sports and recreational facilities to promote healthy lifestyles.
2. Industrial centers that are reasonably displaced from residential locations.
3. Effective waste treatment and management to avoid pollution of air, water, and food.
4. Transportation networks that are easy to navigate and reduce the stress of commuting.
5. A credible vision of expansion or attrition, as the case may be, to make room for change and embrace the future.

The advantage of having satellite imagery is to help provide a better view of the land, to help guide the planning and integration of requisite features for a worthwhile and enlivening urban experience.

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Landscape Ecology: The Use of Space Imagery Off Namibia’s Coast

Posted by Simon Adebola on April 12, 2010

This article from the NASA Earth Observatory explains how the emission of hydrogen sulphide along the continental shelf off the Namibian coast can be viewed from space. It also shows the interactions between these emissions and other factors in the biosphere. The emissions follow a mix of ocean currents, geophysical dynamics, biological and chemical interplays. These however bear on the marine life in the vicinity of these emissions. Their effects, both positive and negative, are also felt far inland.

Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) captures hydrogen sulphide emissions along the Namibian coast (Source: NASA Earth Observatory)

Africa’s oceans hold huge potential for the continent. Its rich ecosystems with huge stores of biodiversity treasures all count as valuable knowledge resources for the continent. It remains to be seen however how much of the continent’s wide ocean expanse would be conservatively harnessed to bring economic benefits while preserving its unique heritage.

Click here to learn more on the use of earth observation in biodiversity and ecosystems.

More images and articles (click on the images):

NASA Image of Namibian Coast

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Dust Panic

Posted by Simon Adebola on April 12, 2010

Satellite images captured the flow of dust storms that were responsible for hazy conditions across parts of West and Central Africa in Mid March 2010. The image shown below shows the dust storms as they spread from the Red Sea right across the continent, and extend till the Atlantic Ocean.

Dust storm across Africa (Source: NASA Earth Observatory)

News reports across Nigeria, where there were hazy conditions in many parts of the country, attributed the dust storms to climate change. Other countries affected include Cameroon, Chad and Niger. African countries need to invest in advanced meteorological practices to better prepare and inform their citizenry, and to avoid panic and undue speculation when untoward weather events arise. Misinformation can take a toll on the economic livelihood of the nation.

Development of space capabilities and the use of space imagery and its derived value-added products can help enhance the knowledge-based economy that many African nations currently strive for. Indeed the rise of technological advantage as an integral part of economic intelligence lays the responsibility of integrating technology-based knowledge and forecasting into the practice of aspects of human endeavour like health, agriculture, transport, governance etc.

More dust scenes:

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