Submitted by Markus Enenkel and Karen Dall
24 Aug 2022

Monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning in anticipatory action: Earth observation as a game changer

The Earth Observation for Anticipatory Action working group was founded to collate knowledge on the benefits and opportunities that Earth observation data can provide for anticipatory action, and to brainstorm and develop solutions for real-world humanitarian challenges. One of its work packages focused on the needs of the anticipatory humanitarian action community with regards to data and Earth observation applications.

One need that we identified addresses data and processes with regards to monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) for anticipatory action. To address this, Markus Enenkel, Karen Dall, Shanna N. McClain, Ph.D., Charles Huyck and Veronica Bell explored the role that satellite data could play in the context of MEAL for anticipatory action. Their findings are published in a new article in the journal Frontiers In Climate.

The article doesn’t focus on developing new indices, or using satellite data for predictions (e.g., predicting vegetation health based on soil moisture conditions). Instead, we looked at how satellite data could be used to strengthen the much-needed evidence base for anticipatory action. Monitoring and evaluation are crucial activities, but usually also time-consuming and costly. What if Earth observation could complement MEAL with standardized, low-cost approaches to provide additional evidence about what works and what doesn't? In the paper, we also discuss uncertainties regarding where, when, how and under which conditions satellite data could support MEAL.

Our objective was to initiate a discussion around the use of Earth observation data in MEAL for anticipatory action – so please reach out if you have ideas, concerns or a use case to share!

You can read or download the article here (open access).

This article was written by Markus Enenkel and Karen Dall.

Photo: © NASA Johnson, CC BY-NC 2.0