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IGF 2020 - Day 5 - OF43 Fostering ICT to mitigate the aftermath of human tragedy

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. 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 to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> VAGNER DINIZ: Hello, everyone. Thanks to the IGF community for the opportunity to share with you all our experience in dealing with the Fostering ICT to Mitigate the Aftermath of Human Tragedy.

    Today, we are going to have three people in this open forum. I will give a brief context of our experience, and we're going to have an introduction by the Minister of Science and Technology and Innovation, the representative. He will give introduction to the theme.

    Finally, we're going to present some cases how technology can mitigate the aftermath of human tragedy in general.

    On January 25th, last year, valley mining companies (?) Collapsed in Brazil. In this tragedy, my daughter, Camilla, turned three years old. My son, Luis, 31 years old. And my daughter, Ferdinand, 30 years old, who was five months pregnant with my grandson were killed.

    In addition to them, another 268 people were killed. The collapse of the dam released about 12 million cubic meters tailings. The leakings of tailings affected 75% of 2.7 million square meters of native vegetation along 300 kilometers of the river basing.

    In addition, small farmers were affected by the loss of cattle and poultry and also the destruction of a good culture areas. The rupture of the Valley Company Dam was not an unexpected disaster. It followed three other previous disasters in Brazil with human losses and serious environment damage.

    I like to use this citation of researcher in Argentina who has already pointed out that the history of mining in Latin America is based on the myth of progress with the (?) Mineral extraction to obtain maximum profit, keeping the surrounded population hostage to promises, trapped in a dream of wealth that never comes through.

    This maximum profit at any costs mining company's strategy is at the heart of the ecological destruction caused by mining companies.

    It should not be a surprise that the annual debt last may, new research revealed that just two of 10 largest mining companies are aligning with sustainable development goals.

    How does the dam burst impact people's lives.

    Several authorities have reported that fishing in the (?) River has been affected due to the possible presence of pollutants in the river and, consequently, in the species found there. It's spread out in the region. Water supply depends on water trucks in 60 communities where the dam collapsed. This is because direct capture of water on the stretch of the river most polluted by mining wastes remains prohibited.

    The water quality of the river has been monitored by environment government agencies. Since the tragedy, reports from the agencies have revealed that levels of lead and Mercury, for example, have risen even though they were not part of the composition.

    So what to do in this tragic situation? It's clear that the tasks to overcome this social, economic, and environment damage is huge and needs many actors working together.

    What we are going to present to you today is just a small seed we are spreading in the soil because we believe that technology can help to mitigate some of the problems that have risen due to the dam's rupture.

    Last year, the Internet Steering Committee in Brazil approved the execution of projects, or the implementation of projects, that were able to use what technologies to solve real problems of real people and, at the same time, foster the culture of entrepreneurship.

    The center (?) Joining for to form (?). Today, we will present you all project proposals to address specific problems.

    Now I invite Marcos. Thanks for joining us. You have the floor.

   >> Marcos: Thank you very much. It's been a very powerful introduction. I'm really sorry for your loss, and, clearly, what happened was a tragedy, but we, as the government, of course, we have not only the role to prevent future tragedies as such, but we also have to give an appropriate response to the survivors and to the community that has faced such a hard challenge.

    Obviously, we hear from the Minister of Science and Technology and Innovation. As such, we believe that innovation can be a key driver for economic and human developments.

    Actually, when we think about the current global health crisis, it's quite clear how important it is for the governments to foster innovation as a way to face the hardest challenges of society. Obviously, a natural disaster is, in this case an accident, that has a huge environmental impact is a disaster.

    So the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations, and Communications (?) We do believe that in a city that has been ravaged by a series of accidents, we needed to create alternatives, paths for the community to recover.

    That's what this is about. With the support of the Steering Committee, we've been able to harness the power and reach of the Internet to select proposals from all over the country to face a critical local challenge, which it is recovery from the accident.

    These different projects which were chosen, they use a variety of technologies such as Big Data, blockchain, and others to help the city of (?) To recover from this horrible tragedy.

    This initiative is very important, but it's not the only one. So we have, at the moment, a very strong effort from the government to push for digital solutions, not only for disaster recovery but to improve the quality of the population as a whole and to (?). So that was a very brief introduction. Now I think Jefferson will continue with further details about the project.

    Again, thank you very much for the opportunity.

    I give the floor to you.

    Thank you.

   >> JEFFERSON DE OLIVEIRA SILVA: Okay. Thank you for the words.

    Can you hear me?

   >> Marcos: Yes.

   >> JEFFERSON DE OLIVEIRA SILVA: Okay. I would like to start introducing myself. My name is Jefferson de Oliveira Silva. I'm a researcher and the program leader. It's been an honor to conduct this program, and I would like to start by saying what do we expect by the end of this meeting. By the end of the talk, what we really would like to have is to get your opinions and perceptions and experiences that can strengthen the program because that's all what it's about.

    It's not a program that was designed by just one hand or a head or a few heads. In every way possible, we try to get the most of the opinions and perceptions because we believe that is going to strengthen the program, not only this program but every other future versions of the programs.

    So thank you, Mr. Marcos, for the cooperation and the Ministry of Science and Technology and Innovation. (?) Has agreed to help from the culture projects and every other aspect of the program.

    I would like to thank the federal University of (?) For the support for the meetings and with the city inhabitants as well.

    There's another key partner, which is Softex (phonetic), choose the agency for the trainings for entrepreneurship and the rehabilitation partner sharing experience and know‑how.

    Also, the secretary For the Development Of (?) For reviewing proposals and other aspects as well.

    So after that brief introduction that was given by Vagner, when we got approval for the project in nic.br, we started with a meeting with the city inhabitants. That's because we wanted to make a program that was really ‑‑ that came from the real needs of those people and that was the most effective program that we could design. So we started with this meeting.

    The idea with this meeting was to try to identify the needs that those people had and not in the short term but in the mid‑ and long‑term. We predicted those people would have a lower support from the society in the mid‑ and long‑term because they were having a lot of support for just after the tragedy happened.

    So the meeting happened in August 2019. It was a majority meeting. It was conducted by Carol Bruli (phonetic). She's on her maternity leave.

    We started listening to the inhabitants and other affected people about that awful experience that Vagner told about his experience on that, the loss of their beloved ones, their pain, and how they were affected economically and socially.

    So what happens is that everyone written down their needs according to their own perception, what they thought that we could do to help them. In a group, we started to analyze collective needs. When we realized that figures emerged and popped out. They're represented in these figures. You can see the Post‑Its that are glued to the walls, attached to the walls. These Post‑Its represent every need for citizens.

    After that, we started prioritizing because we had a lot of ideas. Everyone would try to contribute. We had, I don't know, maybe 30 or 40 people in this meeting.

    After that, there was some kind of a vote. And the votes and ideas were these orange dots that they had to go there and vote.

    So after that, they converged very clearly into things. And these things, they became our program goals. So our overall goal was to mitigate economic and social problems of the city, but we would like to do that in two specific different ways. We would like to promote entrepreneurship among college students. This part the specialty of the Ministry of Technology and Innovative. That's covered in what I just introduced to you.

    We would like to stimulate students to undertake projects using technologies. Those chosen have a reason for being chosen, progressive web apps and Internet of Things. They stimulate things that include the environment as well.

    After that, these goals, they kind of represent how we would like to contribute.

    So we've got what we have that is strong in us, which is the knowledge and know‑hour with entrepreneurship and the knowledge of building Internet applications. We put that together and released with these things here.

    We would like programs that foster women's social networks. So this was one of the things that emerged.

    I will show you this. Otherwise I can't see.

    Those projects, they need to address environmental monitoring by community, and they also need to create sustainability economic environmental metrics.

    These things did not come out of our heads. They came out of those configuries they were specifically chosen for us.

    So after that, we had a review process of these submitted proposals. We got 26 project proposals that were submitted in our culture projects, and we counted with 10 reviewers from all different places. There were people from nic.br, from universities, from the Ministry of Science and Technologies. We did that to get as many points of views.

    After everyone had reviewed the project proposals, we had a final reviewer meeting where we could discuss and deal with specific cases, and every had a chance to express how they felt about those proposals, and we came to the conclusion that we would accept five projects that I present to you right now.

    I think it's important to say these projects are presented ‑‑ I'm going to choose the word "raw" for lack of a better term. When I saw raw, these projects are as‑is. So, of course, these projects, these students are going to pass through a training, and in this training, they are expected to learn a lot about how to view the problem, how to validate the problem, and how to develop an application that is really an answer to that problem.

    I'm going to present to you what they presented to us.

    As they said to you, we expect these proposals evolve over time. It's natural that they evolve over time. Hopefully, with your suggestions and opinions as well.

    So the first project that I would like to present is random. It does not present classification or things like that. We have Brumadinho Open Data Lake & Analytics. The student's motivation for that is they are promised that ‑‑ a lot of tools they try to generate data for visualization and the generate data for understanding of the problem, but few tools really work to simplify and to work to handle this data in some way.

    So what I'm trying to say here is that they tried to really understand ‑‑ they have a solution to understand the problem that they have there. They have a solution in which they can provide some visualization that helps people to understand what's going on.

    It's not only about collecting data about a specific phenomenon but how to visualize the data of this phenomenon in some way.

    This is a very clever solution because it really became an endpoint for all the other projects, as you're all going to see, hopefully. They connected to the other projects. The idea of the components, with this tool, they can work in the decision‑making and evidence‑based policymaking. Without this, that is undermined.

    So they have identified a new data sources that are spread out and not easily accessed and easily understandable. They used, as an example, the Brazil institute of (?) Which they do not offer data or API. And what they are trying to achieve is that it should offer a tool in which the data represented there along with other tools, it can be better visualized and explored.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that this is a project of the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

    They can aid in the decision making, so they needed a framework that gathers data from different sources. With that, they can centralize data that is scattered and subsidized evidence‑based policymaking and strengthen environmental monitoring as well.

    Just for you to have a glimpse of the technology they are going to use, they are working based on a previous solution that they have. It's called LEMONADE, which stands for Live Exploration and Mining of Non‑trivial Amount of Data From Everywhere.

    They can create an easier process for data scientists that can be beneficial because many people there are just starting with technology, and it would allow them to work with data science tools early on and in the process. They can work to understand their own environment. This tool is what allows this visual for computing, and they're based on technology like (?) And sparks and microservices.

    I'm sorry for getting so technical. Some people like me like to understand things in technical terms.

    And the other project they are going to present is from Federal University ‑‑ Federal Fluminense. It's the BrumadinhoCoin, an environmental coin on solidarity. The city puts eggshells mostly in a single basket.

    Projects have been mitigated and the economical impact for local inhabitants. So they tried to create an alternative form to create income for the locals. And this is kind of a virtual ecosystem. What they try to do is monitor the acts of preservation and with that, incentivize preservation of forests and watersheds. The idea is they rear going create an ecosystem that makes use of the virtual coin they're going to create. They named it BCoin. It's going to be used for the payment of the environmental services.

    Let's imagine that someone finds something, trash, garbage disposed on the river, and this person has the opportunity to go there and improve the environment. So they're going to use ‑‑ they're going to employ some effort to clean the river, and by that, they are going to be awarded in BCoins. So there's a very combination of this ecosystem I'm talking about.

    The user, they register using the web app that they're going to create. They can perform a service that they can get BCoins.

    This is converted into blockchain transactions. If those blockchain transactions are approved, they can go there. First off, a smart contract is generated automatically between a company ‑‑ I'm sorry. Just let me put one step back here. Is to the user, the web application converts that data into blockchain transactions, and this data is generated an ID that can be sponsored by a company.

    So if a company is sponsored, that transaction ‑‑ that activity ‑‑ then a smart contract is created and the person can perform the service. After performing the service, the person gets these BCoin, and it can be used in the local market.

    What happens is where does this money come from? It needs to come from somewhere. It comes from the incentives that the government can provide to these companies.

    So when they reward in BCoins, they can use that to a tax deduction or credit ‑‑ environmental credits like reduction of carbon credits or reforesting or things like that.

    So by creating this virtual ecosystem, we hope that the inhabitants have an alternative way to get some income and improve their lives.

    I'm running out of time.

    So the other project I would like to present is called SuperACÃO, a platform for collective funding of innovative projects for women in Brumadinho. The project is based on the fact that many families depend on women's labor force. It was the tragedy. What happens is the tragedy aggravates the problem because in many cases, the women are the only source of income because they lost their counterpart. We heard that.

    So they're being lost because they're not well connected to each other. So when a woman produces something, other people do not know that this service has been done, a product has been created. It's from craft work that could be sold in the existing marketplace. What they said is that they wanted something that was larger than WhatsApp but easier to use than existing marketplace platforms.

    And we also heard from some young women there that they have innovative ideas which would demand more customized solutions, so they needed to leverage some money for that.

    And the people from the Federal Institute Of Education, they got that and proposed this project.

    The goal for this project is to collect innovative women ideas and create a platform so that these ideas could be implemented. So it would be necessary to support the maps for the project creation, execution, and management. They also propose to create transparent mechanisms to avoid what is really common in crowd funding platform are money laundering and illegal schemes.

    So it would not go to any other source. They have created mechanisms to show that the money is really being used to fund these projects.

    So in the technology stack, what they try to propose is to create a very simple subscription process, and in the technology stack, they're going to use PWA to create the apps, and they're going to be using (?) Which is used in Brazilian portals. It's safe with high performance and highly customizable.

    To the fourth project that I would like to show you is called Brumadinho Alert, a technological solution for reporting environmental violations. What they realized is the existing channels for reporting violations are effective. You can do it in person. You can use online forms. You can do it over the phone using printed forms or email.

    People in the city don't even know how to use email. Going there in person is really inefficient, and that contributes to many environmental reports not even getting reported after all.

    An alternatively, there are some existing apps that could be used to fund these but they're (?) You report, but you don't know what happened to that report you did. It's really regional specific. So they do not necessarily work in every region.

    So what they propose is to make the process for reporting environmental violations easier, more agile, and more transparent, and with that, they hope to strengthen environmental surveillance.

    They even created a (?) That rewards the population for using the app. They have a lot of features. They have a complaints feed. It's really interesting. It's a really interesting solution.

    So there are three main entities involved. The first one is the users. They report the violations. Then the non‑governmental agencies ‑‑ non‑government organizations, they validate the violations, and when the NGO's validate the violations, they go directly to the public entities to resolve these violations, and everything could be tracked by the user.

    So when the violation would be reported, when it was validated, whether it was validated, when the public received it, and what happened to that report. They show it on a map as well. So it's really interesting.

    And the last one I would like to present to you is called the real‑time monitoring system of water quality of a river.

    As Vagner mentioned, contamination of water with mercury and led, the Parapeba River. It affects millions of people in some way by that. And inhabitants are not even aware of the river's quality, so they ingest the water. It makes everything difficult.

    They propose to use two perimeters that are widely use. Someone is TDS, they measure the substances in the water. The other is called the turbidity, which is a physical parameter related to water, how opaque or how crystal water is.

    What that propose is to create a low‑cost autosustainable water quality monitoring system.

    They referenced it in the proposal, that the existing solutions in Brazil cost approximately $100,000. They're estimated cost of solution is approximately $300 per station, or less, and they are going to use that using, basically, this.

    What they have here is a station, and the station is put here on the river, and the station is equipped with sensors. So they are going to use proposals to connect and communicate with a hub, and this hub is the device that can connect everyone to the Internet, and they're going to develop an app to monitor and give knowledge about how is the water quality to everyone else.

    So that's the basic architecture that they are going to follow and they're going to deploy sensors and microcontrollers because they're easy to use, highly available, and low cost.

    The web app is going to be based on the Django framework. There's a reach of 10 kilometers reach.

    I extended a little bit of my time. I'm sorry about that. I look forward to hearing your questions and opinions.

    I believe I should give it back to Vagner right now.

   >> VAGNER DINIZ: Thank you, Jefferson. Jefferson is our expert in web technology at nic.br. He's also the originator of the move on the web app project.

    Thank you very much, Jefferson, for showing us all the proposals and projects and the delivery and results.

    Also, Marcos, thank you for being with us.

    I have a question to Jefferson. Could you give us a timeline for the implementation of this proposal? So what are the next steps to implement all the proposed solutions that you showed us?

   >> JEFFERSON DE OLIVEIRA SILVA: We started the training phase recently, actually three weeks ago. The project has 12 months to conclude. Students have 12 months from now, from three weeks ago. The next steps are to work from making the students think about the problems they are trying to solve. They are trying to validate what they're trying to solve if it addresses the needs of the local inhabitants of the city.

    This process has been brilliantly conducted by the Ministry of Science and Technology and Innovation.

    They are given this training, and that I have spent three months ago trained in this entrepreneurship part of the program, they are going to be trained in the web application and web technologies, PWA specifically, and Internet of Things by us. After that, they're going to have six months to implement and get us a working prototype of the project. That's the main thing.

   >> VAGNER DINIZ: Are you with us? Do you want to talk?

   >> Carlos: Yes. I would like to ask a question to Jefferson. Your presentation was very interesting, the models and methods to treat a very serious problem. We have these kinds of disasters in Brazil and also in other countries. And I wonder if all the technology, the learning that you are accumulating in the Brumadinho experiment, you can transport to other areas and other incidents and use these in other scenarios as a resource that can be used when other disasters arise and so on. That's my question. Sit just for the Brumadinho experiment or is it being ‑‑ I see the LEMONADE, which is fantastic. Probably weren't expecting to use it on a variety of situations?

   >> VAGNER DINIZ: Okay. I think Jefferson can start answering, and I can also add something. And I hope that Marcos can also help was the idea of the scale‑up of this experience.

    So, Jefferson, your floor.

   >> JEFFERSON DE OLIVEIRA SILVA: Okay. Thank you, Carlos, for the question. It's a pleasure to have you here among us. It's a good question. We tried to select proposals that are scalable. So they can be used not only on the Brumadinho but also in other situations, in other disasters, situations, or our solutions can apply as well.

    For instance, the Brumadinho Alert is the project that was thought for a city in (?). Many of the solutions here could work for Maryanna (phonetic), the other tragedy we had.

    We had this concern, and we tried to address solutions that were not too specific but that could help other people. People could reach other people and be used in other scenarios as well, but we also tried to choose proposals that interconnected between them.

    As you can see, we have the proposal from the Federal University of ‑‑ the projects interact with themselves. It's a good question. Thanks for asking.

   >> VAGNER DINIZ: The Brumadinho project is a pilot project of a larger project called (?) Or in Portuguese, (?) Which is minister of Science and Technology, Innovative, and Technology program.

    The project is to gather experience and have some solid background to implement this similar project in different areas in the country.

    Of course that is still not dealing with the technologies to predict tragedies, disasters. We hope that the next edition of this project we could have another proposal addressing the specific problem.

    So far, we have some solutions.

    Marcos, could you give some more light for us about scaling up this project and also say something about the (?) Project from the ministry Of Science, Technology, and Innovation?

   >> Marcos: I think there's a scaling up when we think of the plenty of different programs within the government to foster entrepreneurship and innovation, and then I would give an example.

    Let's say from this idea of the sensors for checking ‑‑ for the water. Perhaps somebody who is involved will turn this into an actual start‑up company. Then we have plenty of programs within the governments, not only the ministry Of Science, Technology, and Innovation, but also in other ministries that will support this kind of initiative. And the fact that this project has already been selected would make it a candidate for other programs. This is something that we're working pretty hard now on to consolidate all the different initiatives we have to support innovative companies, especially start‑ups.

    Therefore, we've created a website called (?) That consolidates all these different initiatives and makes it easier for the entrepreneurs to find out what is available to them.

    If this works out fine, then we expect some of these projects will actually grow. As they grow, we will identify the different support programs we have within the government to make them scale up.

   >> VAGNER DINIZ: Thank you, Marcos.

    Also, can I read in the chat the Horst Kremers makes an interesting comment, talking about this idea to scale up the projects. We call it science/practitioner's gap. Some call it trenches. It's one of the political discussions necessary for Brad, national, implementation. To Marcos, he says from large‑scale implementation, you need the Ministry of Environment and municipal level at a minimum.

    Yes, I said in the beginning that it's clear that the tasks to overcome this social, economic, environmental damage, and also to overcome this practitioner's gap, we need many actors, many actors working together. That's the idea we're developing on this program. It's put on the university, the ministry of science, technology, and innovation, and also, a nonprofit organization like the Internet Steering Committee and the nir.br to implement this project.

    Thank you, Horst, for this comment.

    Okay. So we are about to be over time. So I would like to thank you very much to Marcos (?) Di Piento, Director for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Policies at the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation. Thank you for being with us, Marcos.

    Also, I want to thank Jefferson de Oliveira Silva, our expert in web research in web technologies at nic.br.

    Also, thanks to all people who are giving us support to this live decision.

    The rapporteur Beatriz and Selby in the back office. Thank you, very much, to everyone who was engaged in this. Thank you very much. I hope that what we told you can somehow help you to join us and give some contribution to what we are doing.

    I think that it's time to adjourn this session. Thank you very much, everyone.

 

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