How satellite technology is pushing digital frontiers in development

James Cemmell, Inmarsat’s vice president of government engagement, talks to Devex about the impact of satellite technology on global development and humanitarian aid efforts.

In the current era of globalization and interconnectedness, the need for connectivity is growing around the world and development actors frequently depend on reliable communications to do their work. Satellite communications and space technology, in particular, are increasingly relevant to global challenges, and the benefits cut across development sectors, including disaster response, fisheries, agriculture, and health, aligning directly with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

See more stories from the Satellites for Sustainability series:

Opinion: Data for a changing world — satellites for sustainability
To manage resources sustainably in a changing world, you need information. Former Chief Scientist at NASA Ellen R. Stofan explains how Earth observation and satellites can provide just that and help better inform decision-makers when it comes to water and agriculture issues.

Making satellite technologies work for sustainable development
Space technologies play a key role in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, even though major barriers to data usability and accessibility remain. Here's what the global development community can do to make satellite communications work for everyone.

In practice, satellite applications contribute to sustainable development in emerging economies, improving and protecting people’s lives in areas by helping relief agencies and first responders get information in and out of disaster zones much more effectively; reducing illegal fishing and improving safety and livelihood security; and increasing connectivity to better inform health care providers and patients in remote and rural areas.  

Inmarsat, the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, was founded 40 years ago to deliver solutions within maritime safety and distress. James Cemmell, the company’s vice president of government engagement, explains how it’s now going beyond that to address other challenges.

“The idea of satellites to address global challenges isn't a new one, it’s 40 years old,” he said. “However, now we’ve seen the world take a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, which puts more of a robust agenda behind a whole set of activities — and satellite has a role to play in many of them.”

In the video above, Cemmell explains how satellite technology is already helping to solve real-world problems in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Nigeria, and outlines how this work at the intersection of innovation can both save and improve lives.

What’s the link between satellites and development? Devex takes a look in Satellites for Sustainability. We explore the role of space programs and satellite technology in facilitating mission-critical connectivity and ask if it can provide sustainable economic or societal benefits in developing countries. Join us by tagging #Sats4SDGs and @Devex as we make it our mission to discover the link between connectivity and solving global challenges.

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