IGF 2021 – Day 3 – Main Session: The impact of environment data on sustainability and internet governance

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> MODERATOR: Welcome, everyone, my name is Michael Oghia.  It's an honour to be here and incredibly encouraging to witness the IGF community, recognize the importance of this topic, especially given that this main session immediately follows the IGF Policy Network for environment in digital, P and E for short, presenting their draft report.

The urgency surrounding it has never been greater.  Internet dependent technologies are an integral part of daily lives even more so considering the pandemic.  Even though we still need more work and more evidence, the digital world has a strong influence on the environment and vice versa.

I just very briefly want to show a slide, just a second.  Just to illustrate this point more clearly.  I just shared my screen.  Thank you.  So as you can see, major ICT sustainability issues include but are not limited to multiple things including energy consumed and climate impact, things like the resiliency of infrastructure, rising sea levels, the extensiveness or the extensive and complex supply chains that exist, the resource use, water, land, et cetera, and then obviously the impact on bio diversity and communities.

So these, again, these are just some of the ways that the environment and digital intersect.  Having said that, at the same time, digital technologies can be of paramount importance in effectively tackling environmental issues.  Therefore despite the need to make ICTs sustainable themselves, the impact that they have on our efforts to valve environmental crisis can note be understated.

For instance, collecting and analyzing data can help predict the weather or the most advantageous crop time while satellites are helping to map deforestation around the world as we speak.  Using open access data, small and decentralized projects can bring attention to localized environmental issues such as bio diversity and weather that might otherwise be overlooked up might help, say, a local farmer develop their capacity and resilience to develop their farm and their livelihood.

Despite these positive benefits it is important to recognize specifically that environmental data shouldn't just be seen as a panacea generating more for the sake of generating more will exacerbate other problems such as further contributing to the amount of data stored on a server and the need to produce greater numbers of ICTs which can ultimately lead to a greater amount of electronic waste, E‑waste for short.

Within this scope, the session will discuss the meaning of environmental data, how it could take advantage of data governance, and the role to disseminate the negative impact on the environment that environmental data has in order to mitigate that.  As data also has an impact on multiple sectors and stakeholder groups including policy makers, we also discuss how data can contribute to better and more informed policy decisions, collection of data needs good governance, therefore policy makers need to increase capacities in grasping the use of data in their decisions.

A very quick housekeeping note for all of my colleagues here in the audience is that please do follow the chat in the Zoom room as well, as I'm sure it will be lively.  Now, with that said, I would like to move to the first sequence.  With that I would like to give the floor to my colleague.  Who will rediscuss for anybody who didn't attend before the P and E and how this session connects to it.  Flurina, the floor is yours.

>> FLURINA WASPI:  Thank you so much, I'm connecting to the Zoom room at the same time to make sure I can share with you as well in the chat, because just before we had the P and E sessions or the net, the session on Policy Network on environment where we have been working with eye wider community of interested people on a report about different topics of relevance to this next environment and digitalization, so we have had different chapters and feel free to check out our website if you are interested in the report, it will be published soon.  If you are also interested in closer collaborating with us or reviewing a document, you can also directly reach out to me.  I will share my contact, but basically with regard to the session here, so obviously we are focusing today on environmental data, so just to say that for environmental data, we have had a whole chapter on that and our recommendations circle around, so we had like three major policy recommendations that we formulated and one is that there is a need to focus more on the fostering of global standardization and the harmonization of environmental data, then we have also postulated that we need to ensure that kind of the access to environmental data goes from the policy making so we consider the whole data lifecycle and make sure we have access, we generate access to all interested stakeholders in all parts of the lifecycle.  Third through, we are kind of striving towards or we are making an effort to increase the cooperation is maximize the impact of digitalizing environmental information.

So these are three recommendations that we have been discussing or we are discussing in our report, and we will be really happy if you take a look at that if you are further interested.  Other chapters include, we have a chapter in food and water security and we have one on the supply chain transparency which are all very important topics I'm sure, but today we are here to discuss our dive deeper into the topic of environmental data which is certainly very interesting and we have a lot to talk about, I think.

We edge courage our participation as I'm sure Michael will repeat, but in these empty rooms with a lot of people on Zoom, it can feel quite nice for us here on the panel if there is also active participation from the people sitting in front of us.  So thank you.

>> MICHAEL OGHIA: Wonderful, Flurina, and thank you so much.  With that said, let's open a bit of the interactive bit of this and for my colleagues in the back, the tech team, I will be sharing a Mentimeter at the moment which hopefully should come up on this screen.  So just quickly for anybody, for all of the people joining online as well as people in the audience, we are just going to go through a few quick questions just to help establish a bit of a framework for this, some grounds for this.

I'm going to give just like a few seconds just for everybody to get online to sign into the session.  Can everybody let me know in the room when everyone is online.  Which country are you joining from just to have an idea of where everybody is in the world.  It's working.  Fantastic, we have many people coming from Poland, Singapore, whoever is in Singapore, thank you for being up very late.

Wonderful, we are spread around the world.  This is wonderful.  I appreciate everyone tuning in, and with that, let's go ahead and go to the second question.  So, of course, which stakeholder group do you represent.  I think the answers may give us a good indication of where we should apply efforts in the coming year to perhaps reach out to new audiences.  It is good to see that we have a pretty broad mix of people joining from across the sector.  Good to see so much participation from across the sectors.  Obviously civil society is represented well.  Of course, we will always strive to increase the amount of people interested in this work and from their sectors.

So onto the next question.  Of the PNE report's chapters, which section is the most relevant to you?  Which one resonates most with the work you are doing?  Very convenient that everyone is interested in environmental data, you are in the right session.  An the opportunities go hand‑in‑hand with the environmental data.  So this is wonderful.

I certainly hope we won't disappoint.  What does the term environmental data mean to you?  This is one that you can submit as much as you want and all of your responses should be coming up as a wall.  So data related to the environment, care, fair, excellent.  Data on waste, we will cover that.  There is so much opportunity for intersessional cricks here, so I'm really, really glad that somebody mentions that.

Planetary information, wonderful.  You are certainly in the right session then.

I don't what Jacek is.  Apparently that's Polish name.

Let's go to the next question, there is just a few more.  So this is good question, how do you employ environmental, now that we have some idea of what environmental data is, how do you employ environmental data in your day‑to‑day life such as with the weather, air pollution, farming information, policy creation, et cetera?  Again, an open‑ended question.

I also check weather and air pollution.  Framework to draft policy recommendations, absolutely, policy creation, weather.  Good.  It seems like most people are integrating environmental data to their day‑to‑day lives which as you can see is clearly important.  I too like pierogi, but I don't think pierogi has anything to do with environmental data, things like deforestation, et cetera.  Well done.  Good to see.

Thank you very much.  Just for the interest of time, let's go to the next question.  This is a good one, this is one for everyone that's here.  How could access to environmental data help you and your community more?  Again, an open‑ended question.  We are really curious to know how do you think more of it would help you or potentially less?  Policy advocacy, excellent choice, excellent input rather, accountability, absolutely, better choices in general.

I agree with that one.  I would say for consumers and for production, awareness, education, demanding change, more fair.  I don't know if fair is an acronym.  Feel free to write it in the chat.  Climate change impact at the local level, absolutely.  That's a very, very good one.  Understanding how climate change is actually impacting communities.

Accountability, change, I love this.  This is very much, this is wonderful.  Please mute yourselves.  And we will get the questions soon enough.  We just got Zoom bombed.

Okay.  Apologies to everyone.  We seem to be getting Zoom bombed.  Can someone take care of that.

  If anybody is not familiar with Zoom bombing it's an awful and disruptive tactic that's happened to me personally in the past.  It's happening at the moment on Zoom.  I apologize to everyone attending.

So sorry about this.  It's very awful.  We are going to pause at the moment to sort that out.  As soon as we can move on, I will let you know.

  Very sorry everyone about that.  For anybody in the room, physically, there was just an attack online, but we are going to readapt.  So, I'm sorry, I was not expecting that.  In the interest of time, there was, I just wanted to note to everybody that's attending both in person and in the Zoom room that on the 2nd of November, the Multi‑stakeholder Advisory Group, the MAG if anybody is not familiar which is the IGF's steering and program Committee, they convened a 90 minute introductory and preparatory session to frame the challenges.  The key takeaways from those discussions based on the feedback received were divided into three parts, the negative impacts of digital technology for the environment, what technologies can do for the environment, and, of course, what next, the future impact and policy recommendations.

I just want to highlight a few of those just in the interest of time.  For instance, for part one, high on the list of challenges was the impact of E‑waste, along with the energy and resource consumption of data centers.  Both of those issues specifically required multi‑stakeholder solutions to address effectively and given the scale and complexity of the digital sector combined with the gravity of the problem means that we need to act quickly and collaboratively.

In terms of what technology can do for the environment, the participants highlighted three critical areas, the first was capacity building especially within the Global South to minimize climate change impact as and accelerate adaptation.  It's important that environmental data is collected and then shared openly across communities, and particularly impactful when modern technology is coupled with indigenous knowledge and methodologies.  Lastly while global responses are necessary, it's important that those who are most impacted by the depletion of resources, pollution and the destruction of ecosystems be considered and included.

And then part three of the introductory session, it focused on the future impact and suggestions for policy makers.  It was made clear that the struggle for environmental justice is multidimensional, multi‑ disciplinary and strongly connected to social justice.  It is vital to take local experiences and knowledge particularly from the Global South since it will only be possible to realize the SDGs and the UN23 agenda as well as foster environmental accessibility by bringing the diverse local experiences and knowledge to the forefront.

There are also many opportunities for collaboration across the IGF ecosystem including with other Policy Networks such as the one on meaningful access and the work of the Dynamic Coalitions such as the DC on community connectivity.  The IGF can contribute to building the understanding of the co‑shared responsibility of the diverse stakeholders to mitigate the crisis, monitor and assess the environmental impact of digitalization, foster transparent accountability as everyone pointed out and shape policy responses.

Other recommendations included a serious focus on environmental Impact Assessment, fostering new digital literacy initiatives related to environmental data, minimizing the duplication of our efforts given the time and resources and, of course, committing to building sustainable digital infrastructure.  Very lastly, it was recommended that the IGF embrace human rights environmental justice, both at the local and global level since there are multiple intersections between these two movements and technology governance.

So with that, and all of the disruptions hopefully now aside, we are going to move to the first set of speakers who we have who are going to elaborate on what the environmental data is, and why it's important.  They will high light key issues related to environmental data governance.

Joining us today are Julian Casabuenas, the Executive Director at Colnodo, Lily Edinam Botsyoe, the IT community engagement lead add Hacklab Foundation and Dave Rejeski, visiting color at the environmental law institute.  I hope I did not butcher your names.  Julian Casabuenas, we will start with you.

>> JULIAN CASSABUENAS: Thank you, Michael, very much.  Now you can hear me?  It seems that Carlos confirmed that he can hear me.  I'm going to speak in Spanish taking advantage of the translation system for these main sessions okay.  As I was saying I'm going to speak in Spanish taking advantage of the translation system.

Thank you very much for inviting me to participate in this session.  This is a session that is dedicated to environmental issues to climate change and sustainable development, in my presentation, I would like to focus primarily on the experience of my company as well as other organisations representing civic society.

We started our operation in 1994 and we centre our activities around sustainable development as well as all sorts of solutions aimed at protecting the natural environment.  We have been focusing on how digital solutions may be applied in order to foster sustainable development.  It was an initiative that was initiated by the United Nations, and it was aimed at the promotion of new technologies and enhanced access to information, and so in my presentation I would like to go back to those times and I would like to dwell on our experience, and I would like to emphasize which aspects of the process are important for us, especially from the point of view of the civic society and all of the different stakeholders interested in the protection of the natural environment.

In 1993 in Colombia, the ministry for natural environment was established in Colombia and that ministry was tasked with the support of pro-environmental policies.  Thanks to that, we have managed to accomplish a number of goals previously envisaged in Colombia.  So as I have said, we have come up with a number of new technology systems which made it possible for us to have access to information targeted at the broadly understood public.  And then we were part of a new system of environmental data collection and that system was to facilitate the operation of different public entities.

So back then we wished to establish a system that would help us manage environmental issues at the level of public administration.  So what we had in mind were different levels of public administration, and that stimulator became a fundamental instrument of support for the public administration units.

The system involved a list of the so called basic indicators.  Those basic indicators made it possible for us to manage environmental issues more efficiently online.  So the system was aimed at facilitating access to fundamental information, especially for the different levels of public administration entities.

So what it meant was that different public institutions had easy access to information that facilitated their day‑to‑day operation and the accomplishment of their targets.  So that system made it possible for many environmental organisations to have access to significant data and based on the indicators, meaningful policies could be adopted.

It was also important to implement indicators that were clear and sustainable, and so thanks to the institution for environmental protection those indicators were elaborated that were easy to refer back to when assessing data.

And so it was all about identifying the basic indicators in order to monitor environment protection actions.  It is very much linked with the standardization and globalization of environmental data.  We would like to have a set of basic indicators which could be easily applied and which would be sustainable.

So we gained access to significant environmental data and the institute for environmental protection in Bugata also established a system of environmental protection including an observatory of environmental protection and the then mayor also established an important institution for environmental protection in order to counteract climate change in Bugata.  All of that stemmed from our obligations as a city, and as representatives of public institutions.

We wanted to have greater expertise and knowledge on the available resources and on the use of emerging technologies for environmental protection.  Based on the software that I discusses at the beginning of my speech, so thanks to that new platform, we could monitor environment protection initiatives, and then we continued developing that software as an open source software and the entire monitoring system, a simple enabling easy access to information turned out to be highly meaningful and it helped us gain better insight into how we manage the natural environment.

And so that system of observatories became an important instrument of managing environmental policies.  And then in cooperation with the local communities, we could gain access to more data at different levels across the country.  And based on the data, we could involve other sectors including the private sector and the industry and we could develop further instruments that made it possible to measure the issues that we were confronted with.  That way we could adopt the best possible policies in order to solve the problems at issue.

This was also important for us to promote environmental protection culture with the use of different information campaigns and promotion campaigns held across the country.  And as of today, our observatory includes over a thousand different indicators pertaining to the analysis of climate change, ecosystem change, that set of indicators also involves indicators on mobility, on environment protection management and so on so forth.  And all of those indicators were fundamental for the analysis of our progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

The local communities finally had access to sufficient data that made it possible for them to participate in the significant debates on climate change and environment protection.

The observatory was awarded in 2015, awarded by the Colombian Government and it was an award granted for the implementation of an innovative technology.  I would like to give you an example of a report for CIS world.  It's a report for the global Information Society and in 2020 that report was focused on the sustainable development of the global world.

In the report, we analyzed how growing access to the Internet is also linked to better access to electricity and how the individual activities that now take place online impact the natural environment.

We also analyzed the positive impact of new technologies such as, for instance, the reduced consumption of fuel because of the fact that people no longer had to commute to work, and the consumption of electricity as we noted was reduced significantly in 2020 as compared to 2019.  So 20,000 tons of CO2, that was the difference in the level of CO2 emissions, and so by 65%, that was a reduction by 65% in terms of CO2 emissions.

So what it goes to show is that when people stop commuting to work, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is really significant, and, there is a significant reduction irrespective of the fact that the greenhouse gas emissions also go up due to the more intensive use of technology and the Internet.

So in 2020 the air quality was improved significantly.  We are quite aware of the fact that E‑waste is also an important issue for the natural environment, but having said that, none of this would have been possible without the access to information that is collected and published by our observatory.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Julian Casabuenas, and with that said, I think let's go ahead and move now to Lily Edinam Botsyoe.  Please come in as soon as you are ready.

>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: Hi, everyone.  Good morning, good afternoon, good evening depending on where in the world you are listening.  So I would have liked to also here what Mr. Julian Casabuenas had to say, but I picked bits and pieces from the screen as it went on.  I'm going to quickly run through some of the things that has come up as learnings for me, especially because we have youth engagement and initiatives around the impact of technology and the use of the data systems currently on the environment.  Essentially looking in the long term at climate change.

And I will be running through slides quickly, but I am also going to read from my screen because it's so far.  I wish I could Zoom in, but I will make this as interact of a and as informative as possible.  I'll run through sustainability and then environmental data and some of the learnings in the initiatives that were youth based and really global, especially because we had representation from all over the world.

So my name is Lily Edinam Botsyoe and I coordinate also the Ghana youth IGF aside from the Hacklab Foundation to introduce IT to young people in Ghana.  We are going to run quickly through what sustainability has come to us in our work, and also what, why we need informational data and just a bit on data governance and data protection and human rights.

I saw this online somewhere, and to me as somebody who has exploring sustainability and the impact of technologies on the environment who initially had the thought of the sustainability to IT on one hand and also valving sustainability issues with IT such like greening IT and greening through IT.  So you are looking at essentially the impact that the usage of tools in ICTs and in technology have on the environment and how also you can tackle environmental issues with IT, especially because there is availability of data and what the data presents to us.

And it calls you to want to look for the next action to take.  So the quote said humanity today is interconnected and dependent on both digital and natural worlds.  As a result tackling climate crisis and working through a digital future are increasingly intertwined agendas.

And most of us might have already taken because we play in the data world and maybe over the years we have explored so much how to maximize the use of technology and have really looked at the importance this has on us.  But the ills or the disadvantages which are most times not very obvious until there is data presented.

That is the complexity of the issue when it comes to sustainability in the data space and also looking at the impact of technology on the environment we are in, and essentially the climate in future.  So sustainability in terms in basic terms would be how we can use technologies essentially to attain SDGs and find ways to preserve the future for generations to come.

You will see in subsequent slides some of the work we did with informatics around 2019 around sustainability where you had recommendations for what we envision for data sustainability and what we envision for the environment as we try to connect the next billion.

So in landing or coming to find out what impact the technology has on the environment and one time in one of the sessions with will Polish sessions, one of the preparatory sessions there was something, a panel member said that really struck me.  He mentioned that you usually find sustainability in three facets, the first to be the economic viability, and then you go also to environmental protection, and then social equity.  He mentioned that over the years we have seen initiatives come up that have more, more than often times sought to look at how technologies can be very beneficial to Government organisations, to communities, by maybe presenting opportunities for employment or partnerships and what not, especially to drive some economic activity.

That is happening and so far getting access.  And he mentioned also that the advocacy now is at the intersection of social equity and also environment protection.  We have found that in our quest to make some good or improvement with technology when it comes to the economic part, we let the issues of social equity and environmental protection to not so much attention and now because data is available to tell us how bad the situation is, some effort is not rallied around these two areas.

So we talk about the social part, we are looking at the inclusion aspect when it comes to connecting people and also how sustainable we are doing this.  We want to explore what alternatives there are to connecting people so that we don't have so much impact on the environment and we can look at mining of resources that probably are used to build hardware or the effect of the consumption of electricity by data centers or you working out of your room.  If you were in the session before this in the PNE recommendations you will have heard one of the panel members say that it's moved from the very technical part of solving issues of data sustainability to even changes to how you put off your lights when you are leaving your homes to everything that comes together to in the long run impact climate and the environment.

So those areas are what over the years probably have had attention but we want to come into the dispensation of where we are, and we are seeing the data that is presented and it's telling us how the environment is doing and how if we do not rally conscious effort, we may probably in the long run not do our self any good when it comes to Connecting the Next Billion.

We are going to look at environmental data.  My fonts a bit small, so I will try to make a small summary of what is written here.  So environmental data would incapsulate virus parameters such as pollution level, land use change, water quality, vegetation, public health, habitat fragmentation, and many others.  Michael was kind to show us the different areas where there is impact when it comes to the technology, environment, and how things are probably intersecting.  So he mentioned the different areas to us, but we talk about the data present, we are looking at different areas of the environment and what is happening, and how we are able to make insights into it and essentially what the efforts are currently to be able to tackle them.

And these are not, this is not an exhaustive list I have shared but different things, we talk about environmental detail, and the PNE recommendations is just one part of that essentially talks about how to even communicate, gather and communicate this data and how to make it understandable for people who are lay persons and to make the digital space very widespread and not left only to stakeholders or a select few.

So environmental data remains one of the top areas it can help opt news system processes and catalyze meeting of some SDGs, and we know at a focal point, SDGs are things around sustainability, technology plays a role.

We are going to look at where exactly the intersection is when it comes to technology and environment, and this year for my research in school, because I'm doing a master's program, I just chose to look into essentially what companies are doing, what it is like, with strategies across the world but narrow it down to best practices.  One of the books I was looking at was a book by Bill Tomlinson, and he lists out the complexities that exist when it comes to describing issues of the environment.

And he takes us through time, takes us through space and lists the variables that sometimes beats the understanding of our human minds and that is why we need detail to be able to understand.  So there is the broad range of time, space and complexity around information concerns narrows the horizons of human understanding.

So if somebody was to talk about some projections for global climatic disruptions or things happening with melting ice scapes, it would be too hard for you to envision, it would be very, very deep, and you may want to see how exactly it affects us.  What IT does for us is to bridge the gap between our understanding and the environmental scales, things that are happening and make us appreciate it better.

For everyone who knows about what data, data will give you insight into what is happening, the current state, or even a projection so you are able to understand better.  So environmental data, this is what environmental data does for us and we are going to go on to look at the intersection of moving from just the data that is available to its governance and the fact cull attributes or the data that are collected.  So where you come to data governance, we talk about how to manage in its entirety, the availability, the usability and integrity and security of data.

Now, we are focusing on enterprises like industries and everything, but we can bring this to country level.  We can bring it down to even the granularities to talk about even communities.  So this is what we can really gather from the whole governance part.  And data governance ensures that data is consistent and trustworthy and doesn't get misused.

Yesterday I was talking to somebody who works in the space around the technology and environmental intersection and she is from Southern Africa.  I mentioned this panel, and the first thing she said is how do people gather data and how do they essentially share it or in fact the last question she asked is how do you monetize the data especially for communities that are growing and probably have people that interface with them, and have certain information that are helpful for decision making?

Her point of view was around the gathering, how it is maybe worked on and how it is presented.  She was given examples of how communities would readily make information available, but nothing comes out of it, and we start and probably no other action is taken and then we are back to square one.

I'm going to go on to talk about environmental data and what is essential when it comes to gathering data and making it work for us.  What I put on here is models for interventions in industries, but I'm picking the parts that would relate to environmental data, that is when we look at the pressures, the states and the impact.  Usually you find a D before all of these, the D is for drivers.  In industry, as part of the intervention is to see which drivers are available, and then move onto the pressures that are absent to talk about things happening with what the drivers are looking at and then the state and the impact.

For environmental data, we are going to look at the pressures, and what attribute pressure means and this whole attribute slide, pollution destruction of resources, these are the ones that exert pressure on the environment, and ultimately have an impact.  So what is it that can in the long run have impact?  We want to look at it under the pressure attribute.

When it comes to the state, you want to see the active situation of the various natural resources such as visitation, bio diversity, water quality, air quality, habitat and whatnot.

The impact was not popular envisioning, but the work that is happening is gathering the research part, trying to show where pressures on states are currently to make us appreciate where the impact will be.  So the impact will look at human activity on the environment, how can it better be understood and under better aspects also.  And I cite where I picked this from.

I want to look at how the conversation is changing and evolving and what is changing currently, how this centre is evolving.  Usually you find that environment IT systems already exist.  That's probably tackling the issue of not sustainability and probably making things more sustainable.  You move from smart energy grids to systems that optimize hybrid car engines and I cite where I pick it from, but this is what is currently happening, but there is more to it.

And some things that are happening currently that are going to be set out to say environmentally inclined or focus on environmental impact and some are GPS systems and mapping systems.  If you were to get an optimal route to drive to point A and B, because of COT emissions you are invariably contributing to some impact on the environment.

So this goes to show us that your inactions or actions are essentially go going to contribute to something toward sustainability especially if you are using digital means or even technology for your business, for yourself, for the communities that you work in.  And we are going to move ‑‑

>> MODERATOR: Lily, I'm sorry, I have to cut you off.  Everything you were saying is fantastic, but in the interest of time, we need to move on.  Keep anything you have for later in case we can come back to it.  I just have to say personally all of the work that you do, the advocacy, it's inspiring frankly, so keep it up.


>> MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone.  We will move to our next speaker before we come to a round of questions.  Our next speaker is Dave, Dave, are you online?

>> DAVE REGESKI: I am here.

>> MODERATOR: I should have mentioned this in the beginning, try to keep your intervention to ten minutes.  I appreciate it.  The floor is yours.

>> DAVE REGESKI: I'm going to share my screen.  Hopefully it works.  So I'm here representing the network for the digital economy and environment.  Our group is about five years old, and it includes the environmental law institutes which is an independent think tank in Washington DC, Yale University school for the environment and people the University of California at Berkeley, funded by the Internet society foundation and the Sloan foundation.

Our main mission is to fund research.  We think there has to be much more research and we have to build a research community around the issue of what are the impacts of the digital economy.  So we focus on AI, on Blockchain technologies, the Internet of Things and sharing and E‑commerce platforms.  We are doing work on cross‑cutting issues like indirect and rebound effects of digital interventions.

So I'm going to talk to you a little bit from the perspective of policy maker where I spent time policy making environments and talk a bit about how the research we have been doing can address some of those sort of common, let's say, data or information dilemmas faced by policy makers.  Here is the first one.  I'm sure you are confused by this.  I have been.  Just how much energy is bitcoin using depends on the week.  It could be as much as Denmark, Finland, Argentina, it will be different next week and there are 7 to 8,000 cryptocurrencies.

And a lot of the data is coming from The New York Times so it looks credible.  One of the first projects we kicked off we decided to do research on the research.  We were very interested in finding out where do the numbers come from?  How are they produced and basically whether they are valid or not?

Basically what we found is there are massive variations in data, in methods and results.  We looked at both point estimates and longitudinal studies and they are all over the place.  It's not just data.  The data doesn't make sense unless we run it through models.

Here you can see the difference.  There are three different ways estimating the energy use of built coin or cryptocurrencies, some people use top down economic models bottom up technology models, hybrids.  The thing that is worrisome is you would hope that the lines would start to converge, and they don't really.

What's going on here?  It goes back to the point made at the beginning, there is no standardization.  There is no harmonization across countries and no best practices whatsoever.  So we looked at these studies and tried to come up with best practices, if you wanted to do this in a way that's empirically valid that we could share that we could make policy on this you need sensitivity analysis, look at parameter uncertainly, run scenarios, you have to have accurate documentation.

Some of these studies have no real documentation.  The biggest flaw tends to be the session boundaries change.  So I can produce almost any answer that you want regarding environmental impacts by changing the system boundaries.  So there is no agreement about what's in and what's out.

I change the system boundaries on this system, I could change the answers you are asking me for.  This is an enormous opportunity to get us back to the idea no standardization, no harmonization, no agreement about data validation, what models to use, how to share models, how to improve them over time.  Basically very little valid research, but enormous amounts of media hype.

So here is another one, no data.  So you can see the kind of warring narratives around ride sharing, around Uber and Lyft, it hasn't worked, it could work, why did we let it happen?  The good news is in Europe, 100 cities have committed to carbon neutrality by 2030.  There are a lot of cities in the U.S., other countries, but they need data.  So here is the greenhouse inventory for San Francisco.  There is no ride sharing in there.  You have no idea if you are trying to think about what do you do with the ride sharing, micro mobility systems, a lot of this has changed from the pandemic.

So this project decided to figure out, how much does ride hailing take up of this entire greenhouse gas emissions.  It's about 6%.  It's not a lot, but it's not a trivial amount and also developed a methodology that used data that's available to cities in will California to figure out this particular portion of the greenhouse gas emissions inventory for cities.

You don't have enough data, you have partial data, you are not overwhelmed by data, but you don't see the whole system.  You have warring narratives about the validity and usefulness of Artificial Intelligence.  This was a paper we put together on how to apply AI to climate change mitigation.  So the goal was to look at the entire system again, the compute related impact, intermediate impacts from applications, and also the systems level impacts.

I will point to two that I think were missing and usually most of the discussions.  One of the things that's striking is it takes a lot of energy to train machine learning algorithms.  These are trained for speed and efficiency if you are doing work on visual recognition.  There is little emphasis on how to make these energy efficient.

So we spent time talking to researchers how you incentivize data scientists to think about the environment and sustainability when they are creating machine learning algorithms.  What is the facile fool industry doing with AI?  There is a lot of talk about using AI in terms of predictive forecasting, methane control, but an awful lot is being used to increase the extraction from existing well systems.

So it's upstream, it looks at exploration, facile fool extraction so somehow when you start looking at the whole system, you will have to put those things into the equation.  So, again, we are trying to think about what you have in, what's out, how do you get the research in there that allows people and policy makers to think about this.

This leads me to a bunch of guidelines for policy makers as date consumers.  Question your system boundaries.  Somebody gives you numbers, ask them what's in and what's been left out, what methodologies.  Trace data back to its sources.  One of the things that happens is the data becomes disconnected from the research.  You have this data, these numbers just floating out there in the media sphere and they get locked onto and reproduced, and nobody actually goes back and checks them.

Rely on independent peer reviewed research.  Dig into the footnotes.  It's boring or have your staff do it, but see what's in the footnotes, the caveats.  Follow the money.  Who is funding the research.  A lot of time who is funding the research has been disconnected from the results.  Ask some experts.  These are I think basic guidelines.

If you happen to be people who are funding, we need order of magnitude increases strategic increases in investments in independent research in this area.  We are just scratching the surface.  We need to focus on interdisciplinary research, the interface between science, the data centers, networks, mobile phones, it's what happens when we put those in the hands of human beings.

It's our digital lives that will have impact.  We have gotten to the point in most developed country where we made human consumption frictionless, where anyone can buy anything any time of day from anywhere.  We have to think about what the implications of that are.  We need to leverage more funding between countries, across agencies and philanthropies.  We need a lot more money.

I will share one more thing, a prediction of the future, I think you are going to see a change in the narrative.  You go back five years, everything was wonderful, digitalization was going to save the world.  Here is one Harvard business review, sharing economy is going to give people the benefits of ownership without the impacts on the environment.  Happy faces everywhere.  None of this was based on research.

What's happened now is the research is catching up with rhetoric.  We funded a major analysis or state of the knowledge analysis, two researchers in Israel took a thousand journal Articles on the impacts of sharing platforms, and boiled those down to 67 that we thought were very good.  They were peer reviewed, quantitative empirical studies.  Take a look at this.  On the mobility side, most say that there is more negative than positive impacts.  Housing, same thing.

Food sharing, sharing garden output, sharing tools seems to be a leaning positive.  So this is a very different narrative than what we saw or heard about the sharing economy a number of years ago.  The interesting thing is I call the zone of it depends.  So what's going to happen as we move forward is an awful lot of whether this is positive or negative it will depend on public policy, corporate behavior, individual behavior, subsidies, incentives, behavioral nudges, a huge opportunity to go into this zone and begin to move more things from the red side to the green side.

That's it.  This is our network website.  We have a very extensive curated bibliography you can access.  We have an inventory of Blockchain applications for the environment beyond bitcoin, and we would love to have you subscribe to a newsletter that we put out probably every few weeks now.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, David, not only was that perfectly on time.  That was such a wonderful contribution and addition to this.  So think you very much for that.  Now, going to our next segment, I want to ask anyone in the audience here or anyone online if you have any questions for Dave, lily or Julian.

I see no hands either in the Zoom room or here in Katowice, I will go ahead and move onto the next segment.  And then we will come back again to Q and A and some more discussion between the panelists.

Now, we are going to move to the second set of speakers.  We have who are going to discuss the impact of environmental data governance.  Joining us now are Jeremy Rollison, the Senior Director of EU Government affairs at Microsoft, and Goodness Odey, the representative from the youth Nigeria IGF.  Jeremy, over to you, please try to keep comments to ten minutes.

>> JEREMY ROLLISON: Absolutely.  Thank you, and I actually already have learned a lot from several of the interventions, so happy to be here today.  I do have a few slides that I'm going to share, and I promise I will stay on time.  Can everyone see my screen?

This is a topic that I think I'm very excited about because I spend most of my time in the data governance space.  I manage a team in Brussels that is responsible for a lot of our contact with policy makers and public policy in this space, particularly around the reuse and access to data, and we think about this in a sustainability context, we are seeing more and more activity, not just for the decision making that can power some of the public policies that emerge from EU institutions and national Governments but also the business decisions of our customers.

So at Microsoft we have made a number of announcements over the years demonstrating our commitment to the space, and that takes a number of forms.  It's not limited to sustainability, but there certainly is a lot of opportunity there when we think about this in the context of cross‑border challenges, societal challenges, these are not unique to cities or countries but these are very much global challenges when we are talking about climate change and the impact of human activity in that space.

So learnings from one spay could be extrapolated to the other.  When we talk about multi‑stakeholderism, that point becomes clearer than ever.  So with as much focus as policy makers in Europe and around the world, many of our customers have taken when it comes to AI and developing machine learning, I think it goes without saying and many people here are aware that, listen, AI requires vast sums of data.  It also requires significant computing power.  Many of the opportunities that we are talking about are really there because of what technology can do when you have access to the right type of data and you put the right questions to that data.

It can't be done without talent as well.  So it needs to have the set of researchers and the skills that are asking the right questions.  So it requires an ecosystem of players really, those providing the technologies, those asking the questions, those with the goals for all of this to come together and really start to extract and put value into the insights that can be grabbed.

At Microsoft we have recognized this because we have seen the way that customers around the world in different sectors are increasingly innovating on top of the data they already have or data they are getting access to that can take the form of proprietary data, public data, data exchanges and more and more we are providing building blocks for that space.  I want to drill down on one of the main messages here that the value in this data is not really in the data itself, but it's what we learn from the data.

And, again, we can only learn from it if we are using the right tools, asking the right questions and talking to the right people.  Data governance has been addressed.  I like the way the speaker mentioned, people ask how do I do this.  You say how can I do this in a secure fashion?  How can I do this in a way that protects my IP?  How can I do this in a way this remains compliant with privacy laws or other data governance principles that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

The good news is that there is a lot of policy attention on the space.  We are seeing more urgency there to really take advantage of the value that data can bring if we are extracting those insights and the good news is different technologies are emerging that can mitigate some of those reservations or risks that come up in this context, which is why it was a couple of years ago that recognizing also the danger of the emerging data divide around the globe where certain companies or certain countries have such a head start potentially in emerging technologies like AI and machine learning that there is a risk that too much of the benefits then would be concentrated in the hands of those same players.

One way around that or one way of addressing it is really to focus on a more open approach, data sharing and data reuse can go a long way towards hopefully closing aspects of that divide.  It was two years ago that Microsoft launched you are open data campaign.

It's not open data in the sense of public sector data.  I think where I sit in Europe, I think of open data in the context of public sector data.  We are talking about just organisations and individuals around the world being more open with their data to drive some of those positive outcomes and benefits that can come through enhanced data collaboration.

So what we have done is committed to ament doing principles as we enter the space.  Many have been mentioned in some of the chat, notions of security, reusability, privacy, trust, and the formatting that we use in the space, making sure it's usable, and also making it easier from our side to put forward technology that is in the hands of those companies and those policy makers and those researchers that can use such tools to get that value from the insights that come in the data itself.

We have committed to standing up 20 of these data collaborations to lead by example by 2022, and I'm happy to say that many of them have taken place in the sustainability context.  So when we think of some of the ways that this becomes more concrete, it's been projects that we have been involved in either as a technology partner providing some of the infrastructure that can go into that space and the compute power that can be used by others to run these machine learning algorithms on that type of data or to put in ‑‑ algorithms on types of data or whether we are contributing data ourselves.

All of this is done in the principles I mentioned, but it takes concrete form in the shape of what we were doing in the London air quality project.  This was leveraging a mix of different sensor data to determine more patterns in air pollution.  Interestingly one of the takeaways from the campaign is a project aimed at addressing environmental needs at a city level and collecting different types of data in different formats, contemplating that in a way that you could take aggregate conclusions from.

We learned that the data we were collecting, this was happening before the pandemic hit.  That data could then be repurposed for tracking some of the effectiveness of COVID measures at a city level.  Not implicating personal data, but looking at public data sets and patterns that could emerge that we were looking at for environmental purposes could be used to monitor traffic patterns and the like that took on more relevance during the pandemic.

We teamed up with the Linux Foundation and Allianz around an OS climate project to inform investment decision making based on accessibility criteria.  An open source way of looking at this to make sure the investors and the like, that community has access to sustainability data that can make more informed investment decisions.  We can contribute to that through technology.  We can contribute to that with some of the data we have available, but it really requires people with a knowledge of maybe one seconder a need to understand the right questions to ask, and the right uses that could come out, then you can start to identify the right parts of the ecosystem whether it's technology players that need to be approached, whether it's data scientists or whether it's investment players in this instance.

I think those have been some of the learns from our campaign and the good news is you need to collect new data.  The data exists.  One of the examples that I think shows again what we are trying to lead by example and make this data available for others to use along with those tools was a launch of the Microsoft planetary computer.  I would encourage folks to look at this if you haven't seen it already.

This is something where Microsoft made the context of our bio diversity initiative and commitments we have made in our AI for earth initiative more broadly where we put together a data catalog or a hub and this is a partnership with other players compiling vast amounts of environmental data that can be used by players in different industrial sectors, at the policy making level, even individuals to understand things ranging from flood patterns to real time analysis of climate change impacts, weather patterns, traffic and population density, tree density, land cover.

There is a wide variety there that's only possible because of the Cloud compute power behind that.  So the data may rest one place.  It can only be processed or visualized in a way to get the right type of conclusions if you are bringing in the right type of technology tools, and, again, we need to know where to find this data, where to format the data.  So it requires working with partners and, again, it comes back to the multi‑stakeholder approach we want to take across the space.  These are great examples of when people are working together we can drive some of those insights that can be reused for others looking at similar problems in more local jurisdictions.

I think the key takeaways for us in the space and particularly when we are talking about a challenge that crosses borders, it's not limited to just one community or another, but you do have environmental goals and objectives at a community level, at a country level, regional level, global level, all of this data is going to be better if it's more accessible and people have access to the right tools to be able to run that analysis over top.

So the takeaways we wanted to call out is we need to do everything we can to continue to make data sharing easier, making data available for reuse in secure and trusted formats really across borders.

The way that people are looking at this on one side of the globe can really inform the decision making that's taking place on another side of the globe, particularly in the context of climate change.  This is not limited to just one country or another.  This required working together in that space.  It's a really good example of where multi‑stakeholders can be incredibly effective.  We often say we can't address a problem we don't understand, and we can't address a problem that we can't measure.

Data is vital to that part of the problem analysis.  So if we can't fully understand it, it's hard for anyone else to fully understand it.  We can't solve those problems unless we are coming together and putting data and digital technology to work.

We are committed to continuing to share the data that we have been able to compile thus far and make available in an open format for others to reuse.  We are going to continue to make those type of commitments to research and shareable and reusable data that can help benefit the decisions our customers are making.

This is publicly available, and we would encourage everyone here to take a look because, again, there is a cross‑border relevance that can't be understated or overstated.

And, again, the final point is really coming back to what we are here to talk about today.  This only works if we ail join forces.  Getting the right policies together, I'm engaged at the European level and we are seeing a lot of urgency post pandemic particularly for build back better initiatives to make sure that these are as green as possible.  This can only be solved if we have the right data available for those types of decisions that industries across Europe are going to increasingly be making as they meet new emissions objectives or efficiency objectives but you need to have access to the right tools at the same time.

You need to have access to data, the right tools, the right skills, the right talent.  This is a societal challenge and it's one that requires different stakeholders to join forces.

This is not something that Microsoft has enough tools at its disposal to solve.  It's only when we are working together in those type of data collaborations in this particular instance that we can start to see real progress.  We are excited about the progress that has been made already.  We are excited about the direction this is taking.  There is an increasing recognition not just of the importance of data but the importance of bringing the right tools and talent to those types of questions.

And I think that sustainability and environmental data is one that perhaps even has more opposition than others where it's a common challenge we have, and it's one that that is timely as we emerge from the pandemic and one that highlights the need to work on these types of questions on a global level and certainly across borders.

I will stop there, and look forward to hopefully answer questions you may have.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Jeremy, and a very quick addition is that Rina Crug made a point that not only national but the local level is really important as Julian in his intervention made it explained very clearly.  So before we move onto Goodness Odey, I want to check with colleagues in the back, technical colleagues maybe a thumb up or thumb down if we could have a couple extra minutes in this session given the disruption, just so I know how to time it.  Thank you very much.

So with that, Goodness Odey, are you available? Are you ready?

>> GOODNESS ODEY: Can you hear me?

>> MODERATOR: Yes, we hear you and we hear your son or daughter as well.  It's perfectly fine.  Thank you for joining.

>> GOODNESS ODEY: Yes.  I'm sorry I cannot put on my video at the moment.

>> MODERATOR: No worries.  Proceed with your intervention.

>> GOODNESS ODEY: All right.  Thank you for having me, everyone.  I would appreciate if the moderator can help share my slides.  I have shared that with Jul IANA a while ago.

So I'm going to start with history, so I was in Nairobi, Kenya, some days ago, and I'm from Nigeria in Africa.  I traveled to Nairobi for a workshop and I got to around CT and I went to a mall to get some things.  After buying these things, I went to the pain points and they gave me the stuff I got in my hands and I was like there is no bag.  He said no bags.  I was pleasantly surprised because I got to understand that in Kenya three years ago dues to the high level of environmental pollution, and we all know the effects, the Government banned the use of plastic bags and there was no use of plastic bags in Kenya, and if you have to use a bag, it has to be a reusable bag that you have to pay for.

So the fact that you have to even pay for the bag would make you prioritize if you need the bag or not.  Interestingly I didn't need a bag for what I bought, I just held it in my hands.  So the feelings that came to me with that realization is I waited so long for Nigeria to get here.  And I could see how beautiful, green and environmentally, in a way comes up, Nairobi climate.

I learned that they were able to emulate Rwanda in that outreach.  For me as a Nigerian and my other advocacy, I look forward to when our Government will do that.  I'm waiting for my slide to come up ‑‑ I'm sorry for my slide not coming out, but that's my story.  A lot of my contacts are really happy that a country in Africa is making such progress.  We look forward to all of the questions on that action and to make a lot of difference.  Is anybody helping me to share my slide or not.

>> MODERATOR: Up fortunately we don't have access to your glides, Goodness Odey, but I think you can just go ahead.

>> GOODNESS ODEY: Let me just go ahead.  When I was reached out to by my friend Samina, she told me she saw the work I'm doing with the SDG workshop.  And this is a group of young people who are organising to localize the Sustainable Development Goals.  It is young people who are leaving, it is young people who are pushing for sustainable development and engaging the Government through civic participation, and in general I would say that the organising approach because you have over 200 advocacy civil society organisations in our network has results, and one thing that is unique with young people leaving, it brings a lot of thought to say that young people are not just this group of people who are problematic because in the Nigerian context, the Government sees young people as they have a lot of issues, but young people are actually the solution to the problem.

We have seen it in our organisation.  The programmes and projects in the last group, we also got young people to, young people who are climate action champions so Sayre which of those champions in Nigeria, and we had over ten of them who shared their expectation.  And in the context of Nigeria, there are amazing things that this climate action champions shared.  I think what is key for us is we understand that the environment has changed, climate, the effect is real, we can see it.  There is a lot of hopefulness from young people, and young people organising.

I would say that this just shows that for sustainable development, that we need to have an inclusive approach to achieving it, and the team of this year's IGF is more than important because for any interventions to take place or any governmental stakeholders to your advocacy, you have to present the facts, and at present for us in Nigeria network, and the Nigerian population it is an affected area of the change in climate.  We can see that there is rising sea levels.

There is drought in the northern region and when we are supposed to have rainy seasons dry.  And it floods streets.  These details are generating, but the concern you have with data is the authenticity of data.

And in some cases to trust this data, but I think we can assess and as much as there is data at the global level, you have insufficient data at a national level and this is a concern.  For us in Nigeria our President, the commitment we got from him wasn't so great.  We were not so excited.  The commitment that we were getting and young people and I feel that it is important that this continues.  When we reach the vocal advocacy and the stakeholders I feel that there is a need of crowd sizing the use of data, gathering original data, and we could begin in the right, we could begin from the effects we are seeing in the environment, we could begin with people, everybody has an idea of the effect, there are stakeholders who have been affected by this.  So these are important decisions.  So that will be all for me from my end.  I don't know if you have any questions, but just before I leave, I know that Sorina also mentioned about the SDGs and the SDGs, people came together and we developed activities towards sustainable development, and if we look at 11 which is looking at sustainable environment, it's critical to look at how we can achieve more sustainable environment as little as avoiding the use of plastic bags, reusable bags, pollution, switching to green technology, those details are very important things and steps we can take and I will be happy to share the link for anybody who is interested.

It's all encompassing but everybody has to see and I couldn't share my slides, but I will be happy to respond to questions.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  We appreciate that.  And we certainly understand that you can't just put your life on hold to dial in.  So thank you so much for your intervention and for sharing that story, especially of what is happening in Nigeria.

With that, because we are running out of time, I do appreciate that we are, we have been allocated a little bit extra just because of that.  Thank you all so much so our Polish team.  Can we just have all of the speakers come back onto the screen  to have a little bit, to encourage dialogue and get questions from the audience.

I saw one in the chat.  The very first question I have before I open it up to the audience is do any of the speakers have anything they would like to respond to each other, anything in particular that was said, that was particularly controversial or that you disagree with, et cetera.

If not, then I will open the floor for questions.  Does anybody have ‑‑ we have to go.  No worries.  I'm sorry that we couldn't take these questions, but given everything, but just very quickly, I just want to say thank you to everyone, thank you to the speakers, to the audience.  I want to thank, of course, Julian and the facilitators of the session to the Secretariat and the entire team in Poland helping to make this happen, including our transistors, thank you very much, and last but not least, our transcriber, Becky, you have been incredible, thank you so much for all of the work you are doing which is behind me actually.

Thank you so much, everyone, and thank you for being here.