United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly

[Your Excellency Mr. Mogens Lykketoft,
(MO-INs LICK-IN ..TOFF) President of the General Assembly,
Your Excellency, Mr. Francois Hollande,
(FRAN-SWA AL-LON-d) President of France,
Your Excellency, Mr. Ollanta Humala,
(OY-IN-ta OOHH-mala) President of Peru,]
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It's an honor to address this Interactive Dialogue at the
Sustainable Development Summit after the historic
adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Thank
you to the President of the General Assembly and the cochairs
of the Dialogue for this opportunity.
It is deeply heartening that the United Nations recognizes
the role and the value of the private sector, and companies
such as Planet Labs, and others here today. Our presence
signals our common commitment to addressing critical
global challenges.
As your Excellencies know, we are in the midst of a
communications revolution, much of it driven by the private
sector. Since the adoption of the Millennium Development
Goals, the growth of mobile phone use and wireless Internet
connectivity has been staggering, and they have become
indispensible tools for inclusive sustainable development
Likewise, we are now in the early stages of a new
technology revolution -a global sensing revolution. In the
decade to come, sensors in our pockets, in the oceans, in
the air and in space will help us understand the changing
world as never before.
Our company, Planet Labs, operates the largest constellation of Earth imaging satellites in history. Our goal is to do something truly unprecedented: to image the entire Earth, every day, and to make change on our Planet visible, accessible and actionable.
Satellite imagery online today is typically years old, which
presents a challenge because you can't fix what you can't
see. Having imagery daily shall enable us to see our effects
fast enough to act. It helps us to make the invisible visible.
Relevant here, this data can help us measure progress on
the SDGs, filling in critical gaps in our understanding of our
changing planet in order to help improve peoples lives and
protect biodiversity.
According to our analysis, Planet Labs' imagery can be used to directly or indirectly advance 15 of 17 SDGs, and help measure more than 70 of their related targets. I'm going to mention three examples:
First, Monitoring Deforestation, part of Goal 15. Today, we discover evidence of deforestation only after our forests are gone. Planet Labs' imagery can enable us to monitor forests every day, to see illegal logging and enable proactive
Second, combatting Climate Change, which is Goal 13: Our imagery can monitor climate change with up-to-date data on the state of the world's ice caps and carbon stocks.
Third, ending hunger and establishing food security, which is Goal 2: Our imagery can measure the health of
crops in every farmer's field around the world, and provide
vital information to them to increase crop yield.
I'm pleased to say Planet Labs is committing to make our
data available and accessible to efforts aligned with
meeting the SDGs.
And we're in this for the long-term -to provide scientifically
accurate and repeatable data not just for this important
global moment, but for all the work that follows.
Planet Labs is collaborating with arms of the United Nations, such as the Secretary-General's Global Pulse initiative, to explore innovative ways to harness the global sensing revolution for inclusive sustainable development, while protecting privacy and security.
Your Excellencies, in 1965 the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Adlai Stevenson, evoked a concept of a 'Spaceship Earth' that would motivate thinking on sustainability for decades to come, [and I quote:
"We travel together, passengers on a little space ship,
dependent on its vulnerable reserve of air and soiL ..
preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work,
and I will say, the love we give our fragile craft."]
Planet Labs' data is part of a global sensing revolution that can help us to be better caretakers of Spaceship Earth. We're excited to work with UN member states, NGOs, and other private institutions, and I invite all other stakeholders to join us in making their data available to the societies they serve. In short, we're all here because we're committed to this agenda; Planet Labs data and similar technology can help us to decisively address the Global Goals.
Thank you.