The newly published EUSpace4Ukraine white paper and interactive maps, called StoryMap help interested parties understand how EU space capabilities especially Earth Observation can benefit NGOs in areas of war and crises.
For example, Copernicus-derived insights regarding agricultural parameters such as variations of crop type and cropland extent in time and space in Ukraine can inform short-term operations (e.g., directing remediation efforts) and medium to long-term strategies (e.g., anticipating possible food shortages).
The EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) launched the EUSpace4Ukraine initiative in April 2022 in response to the war in Ukraine. The objective is to support innovation and uptake of EU Space Programme solutions by humanitarian aid actors working in Ukraine, with the new white paper and StoryMap on Copernicus-enabled impact assessment as one of three demonstrators within the initiative.
As part of the EU Space Programme, the Copernicus Programme relies upon the EU Sentinels and third party Earth Observation (EO) satellites, in-situ (non-space based) data, and data-derived products available via the Copernicus Services. EO data in general and Copernicus in particular can be utilised for various use cases across several market segments, including agriculture.
The white paper provides context regarding the importance of the agricultural sector within Ukraine, and then dives into a quantitative assessment of the impacts of war on agriculture derived from Copernicus data. Sentinel data was used to estimate cropland extent before and during the intensification of the war (2022). The total cropland area in 2022 compared to 2017-2021 mean across all crops decreased by ~7% (nearly 2 million ha), while the most affected crops (wheat / barley, sunflower and corn) experienced up to ~13% drop in cropland extent. Regional differences and temporal evolution suggest that war activities directly impact cropland extent for important crops. The data can be explored in more detail in the accompanying interactive online StoryMap.
The decline in cropland extent as assessed via Sentinel data comes with implications for local, regional and global food security as well as people’s economic circumstances and livelihoods. Furthermore, such insights derived from the Copernicus Programme can support operational decision-making for NGOs in areas where remediation is most critical to enable the continuation of agricultural activities that ultimately support lives.
Additional examples of Copernicus capabilities showcase applications beyond agriculture to inspire the uptake of existing solutions and the development of new use cases. The paper also presents key stakeholders within the EUSpace4Ukraine initiative and their relevant capabilities to give a flavour of the variety and depth of technical EO-related expertise available within the EU. In addition, example end-user perspectives validate the usefulness and give an idea of how the Copernicus-enabled insights can be implemented.
Stakeholders interested in learning more about the solutions or being part of the EUSpace4Ukraine network can get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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