IGF 2021 WS #125 Big Data for Environmental Sustainability

Friday, 10th December, 2021 (10:15 UTC) - Friday, 10th December, 2021 (11:45 UTC)
Conference Room 3

Organizer 1: Xiang Zhou, China Association for Science and Technology (CAST)
Organizer 2: Chuang Liu, Chinese Association for Sciences and Technology
Organizer 3: Jieyao Wang, China Association for Science and Technology
Organizer 4: Jing MA, China Association for Science and Technology
Organizer 5: Rui ZHONG, Internet Society of China

Speaker 1: Chuang Liu, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Horst Kremers, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Ricardo Israel Robles Pelayo, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 4: Gong Ke, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 5: Daisy Selematsela, Civil Society, African Group


Jing MA, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Xiang Zhou, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Jieyao Wang, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

Measuring impact: How can we improve the assessment, measurement and monitoring of the environmental impact of digitalisation and the Internet?
Reducing impact: How can we achieve a net zero impact on climate change of the further expansions of the Internet and its infrastructure? How can Internet standards, governance and policy choices, and standards for device design, development and manufacture, contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the Internet (e.g. through the adoption of green computing, energy efficient servers and machines/processes, and by policy contributions)? How can we further use digital technologies to better predict and manage the impacts of climate change?

Additional Policy Questions Information: 1. How can emerging digital technologies, especially Big Data and AI, contribute to addressing environment issues such as carbon emission, pollution and energy waste? 2. What practices could different stakeholder groups take to promote regional environmental data sharing and cooperation? 3. What policy framework should be established to maximize the benefits of Big Data on environmental sustainability?

This workshop will focus on the potential of Big Data and AI to provide effective solutions to address environmental problems and to advance Environmental Sustainability. Emerging technologies such as Big data and AI can provide strong support for tackling existing environmental issues, and with the further integration and open sharing of data, the benefits of big data on environmental sustainability will be maximized. This workshop will also discussed the challenges of the open sharing of Environmental Data, as well as the policy framework and cooperation mechanism for environmental data sharing among different regions and stakeholder groups.


6. Clean Water and Sanitation
7. Affordable and Clean Energy
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
13. Climate Action
14. Life Below Water
15. Life on Land
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: The main objective of this workshop is to promote discussion and collaboration in innovation and application of emerging digital technologies, especially Big Data and AI, to contribute to addressing environment issues including water Pollution, energy waste, climate change, destruction of terrestrial and underwater habitats, in order to build sustainable cities and communities. Moreover, mechanism to enhance cooperation between different stakeholders from different region will also be discussed. These issues to be discussed are closely related to the SDG Targets listed above.


Human social and economic activities have greatly affected the earth's environmental system, environmental pollution and massive consumption of energy and water resources can pose significant impacts on the vulnerability of the earth's environment. Many countries and cities around the world are now facing increasingly serious ecological and environmental problems. Utilizing new technologies and methods to investigate the internal interaction mechanism of the earth's environmental system, to seek effective measures to solve environmental problems in order to achieve sustainable development, has become a key issue that needs to be resolved.

With the rapid development of emerging technologies such as the Internet, the Internet of Things, and Cloud Computing, traditional analysis methods can no longer meet the requirements. Big data analytics provides strong support for the research and analysis of current environmental issues and decision-making. Further integration and sharing of various types of data, combined with artificial intelligence and visual analysis, to conduct efficient and massive environmental big data association analysis, could help government departments, scientific and educational institutions to operate, manage, analyze, and excavate environmental information more speedily and flexibly, and to produce more efficient data decisions and knowledge discovery, so as to effectively advance environmental sustainability.

Expected Outcomes

1. Present good application cases of Big Data and AI on the research and analysis of environmental information and tackling environmental issues. 2. Reach common understanding on the ways in which Big Data and AI can be put to work to maximize its benefits on advance environmental sustainability. 3. Identify challenges and risks of the open sharing of Environmental Data. 4. Establish regional data sharing and cooperation mechanism. 5. Define a follow-up action plan and come out a Policy framework for Environmental Data.

All experts and audience will make comments and raise questions in regards to the speeches presented, guided by the moderator. There will be a live broadcast on the meeting, both online and onsite attendees will get involved in the workshop during the whole session. Besides, online attendees will have a separate queue and microphone which rotate equally with the mics in the room and is entitled to raise questions after each presentation of the speaker and engage during the discussion. Trained online moderator with previous experience will direct the online participation. During the workshop, there will be question and open discussion session to encourage every online or onsite participant to share their views and make contributions to the issue. Audio-visual material: Organizers will explore the use of visuals (i.e. videos, PowerPoint slides, images, infographics) not just for the ice-breaker, but also throughout the workshop to animate the session and aid those whose native language may not be English.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Facing severe environmental challenges, we should make strong, rapid and sustained actions. Big data is a powerful tool in addressing environmental problems and promoting Environmental Sustainability, including renewable energies implementation, ecosystem and environment monitoring, environment protection, forest-dwelling animals monitoring etc.

Efforts, actions and innovations are required in big data science technology, engineering, and governance, especially in finding effective ways to collect and process the data, ensuring data quality, safeguarding the privacy and security of data while accessing them openly, narrowing the digital divide, coordinating data policies and technical standards globally etc., in order to fully explore the great potential of big data in promoting enviro

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

We need the group power and joint actions from the public civil society, governments, research community, and technology sectors to discuss the policies and strategies of open data, data innovation, global technical standards, technology integration, and to build a massive environmentally friendly community.

We need to explore the big data application for environmental sustainability from the technical aspect and consider the application scenario to promote environmental application models.

Session Report (* deadline Monday 20 December) - click on the ? symbol for instructions
  • Prof. GONG Ke, President of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, Chair of CAST UN Consultative Committee on Information Technology, delivered the opening remarks. He mentioned that facing severe climate changes and other environmental challenges, we should make strong, rapid and sustained actions, especially by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and energy decarburization to limit global warming. He stressed that big data is a powerful tool to empower us in these actions and called for innovations in big data science technology, engineering, and governance to fully explore the great potential of big data in promoting environmental sustainability.
  • Prof. Ricardo Israel Robles Pelayo, Professor of Universidad Anahuac online, Mexico, delivered a presentation on “The implementation of big data in the use of clean energy within the framework of the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement or USMCA”. He introduced the United States - Mexico - Canada Agreement (USMCA), the benefits of using big data and analytics in renewable energies to achieve a sustainable environment, and how Mexico incorporates new methodologies such as Big Data and Analytics to guarantee the supply, access, and integration of renewable energy to meet the objectives of the USMCA and the Sustainable Development Agenda. He also suggested implementation of specific legal instruments to implement big data analytics in the regulation of clean energies to achieve environmental sustainability.
  • Prof. LIU Chuang, Professor of Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, delivered a presentation on “2021 -2030 Joint Decadal Action on Environment Protection for High Quality Geographical Products and Sustainability”. She pointed out the challenges in achieving environmental sustainable development in China and many other developing countries. She also shared practical cases to illustrate how to overcome these challenges and maintain environmental sustainability through the joint actions of institutes and organizations (including government and companies) on Environment Protection for High Quality Geographical Products and Sustainability and the effective use of open data and knowledge.
  • Prof. ZHOU Xiang, Professor of Aerospace Information Research Institute, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, delivered a presentation on “Big data analysis on Ecology and Environment & Green Development”. He mentioned that Big data finds new knowledge, creates new value and improves new capabilities, and is conducive to realizing the potential of ecological environmental data resources, promoting green development for human production and life, and supporting the implementation of SDGs. He also listed the Challenges for Environmental Sustainability and pointed out that we need the group power from the public Civil Society and research community, technology sector to discuss the policy of open data, innovation, and how to empower the technology and integration, and to build a environmentally friendly community.
  • Horst Kremers, General Secretary of CODATA-Germany, Germany, delivered a presentation on “Challenges, Risks and Gaps in Environmental Data Management”. He talked about the aspects of governance needed in big environmental data sustainability, including monitoring, assessing, accounting, valuing, pricing, defining/generating tradeable, and getting nature to the stock exchange and make money. He also mentioned the technical operational elements of sustainability information governance, such as techniques, operations, control, accountability, ethics, risk management or compliance, administration, especially all of society participative governance. He hoped that IGF could bring possibility or make proposals to collect a working group on observing or exchange ideas over this topic.
  • Dr. Daisy Selematsela, Executive Director of Library & Information Services, University of South Africa, South Africa, delivered a presentation on “Positioning of Data Management in university libraries”. She focused on issues around big data for environmental sustainability with regard to open data and open science. She emphasized that facing  a changing, increasingly connected and globalized environment and with the challenges in data management, we should strengthen OA/Open Data processes by building developing regions strategies, declarations & co-operations in support of OA/O Data policies and seeking national, regional & international support to strengthen scholarly led OA/O Data.
  • Dr. Tomoko Doko, president and CEO, Nature & Science Consulting Co. Ltd., Japan, delivered a presentation on “AI oriented advanced monitoring of forest-dwelling animals in Japan”. She gave a brief introduction on what are Big Data and AI and shared a case study on using big data and AI to monitor animals in order to show how can Big Data and AI be applied to science, especially environmental sustainability.