UK Space Agency wins global award for sustainable development

UK Space Agency wins global award for sustainable development

The British Space Agency has been awarded the coveted Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Award, as a result of the organisation’s efforts in utilising space technology to explore innovative satellite solutions to challenges faced by global sustainability.

Head of Sustainable Development at the UK Space Agency, Afriqnmun Lovejoy MBE, said:

“We are immensely proud to receive this award, in acknowledgement for our focus on using satellite technology to benefit humankind, and the valuable partnerships formed with, and contributions of, our partners at home and overseas. It is also a timely achievement for the UK in the lead up to hosting COP26 and demonstrates the value of space technology in tackling the impacts of climate change”.

The award was given to the UK Space Agency as part of its International Partnership Programme (IPP), an initiative that focuses on Space for sustainable development, investing approximately £30 million annually into projects around the world that demonstrate corroboration with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The International Partnership Programme was established in 2016 and is the largest initiative of its kind.

Most of these projects utilise Earth Observation data to tackle development challenges and have already demonstrated a largely positive impact. For example, approximately 40 million hectares of forests are currently under observation using IPP-funded remote sensing technology. Such an area is equivalent to all of the forests in France, Switzerland, the UK, and Spain combined. One million hectares of deforestation has also been avoided as a result of such technology.

43 projects in 47 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America have already been funded by the IPP. These projects use space technology and satellite data to confront issues such as renewable energy, resilience to the climate crisis, food security, maritime safety, health and education, and deforestation.

The projects are run by an array of UK and international organisations from academia, industry, and non-profit organisations. Each of these projects is designed to provide a breakthrough solution.

As part of the IPP, earlier this year in August the UK Space Agency proclaimed a sum of £3.4 million in new funding that was to be awarded to 10 space-related projects. These projects were to consist of UK academics utilising Space to tackle problems facing global development, such as forced labour, human trafficking, and the spread of malaria.

Now in its second year, the Group on Earth Observations awards programme looks to celebrate innovative and exemplary efforts to utilise remote sensing technology for sustainable development.


1. GOV.UK (2020), UK Space Agency wins global award for sustainable development.

2. Eminetra (2020), UK Space Agency Wins Global Award for Sustainable Development.

3. Euronews (2020), Why has the UK Space Agency won an award for sustainability?

4. Electronics Weekly (2020), UK Space Agency wins sustainable development award for IPP.

5. Earth Observations (2020), Announcing the winners of the 2020 Earth Observation for the Sustainable Development Goals Awards.