Remote Sensing And (Geo-) ICTs, Prime Tools To Achieve SDGs, WSIS Forum Hears 29/06/2017 by Elise De Geyter for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Remote sensing and geo-ICTs are prime technological tools to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research. But technology should not be considered as “deus ex machina,” a speaker added during the recent World Summit on the Information Society Forum (the WSIS Forum 2017). VITO presented on 16 June during the WSIS Forum 2017 – which took place from 12-16 June – on how information and communication technology (ICT) as a cross-cutting theme, can lead to sustainable lifestyles and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. The different presentations constituted a preview of the Global Science, Technology and Innovation Conference 2017 (GSTIC 2017), which VITO will organise together with its partners in Brussels from 23-25 October 2017, according to Robby Berloznik, senior advisor VITO and director of programme for G-STIC. The most innovative solutions for making ICT deliver sustainability will be presented during the conference. Berloznik said. There is a specific focus on sustainable lifestyles and the user experiences and the different innovations will be tested through Living Labs, Berloznik added. Sustainable Development Goals The ambitious character of the SDGs and the lack of substantial time was several times underlined during the presentations. The magnitude of the goals is “staggering,” said Marco van der Ree, senior advisor at the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP). The key water challenges are water scarcity, water pollution and ecosystem degradation, van der Ree said. Currently, 2.9 billion people worldwide are affected by water scarcity, according to van der Ree. He said around 400,000 people have to be saved per day between now and 2030 in order to achieve SDG 6.4 (substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity). To achieve SDG 6.6 (protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes), 120 kilometres of rivers need to be restored per day. The achievement of SDG 6.3 (improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally) requires that per day between now and 2030, 600,000 water treatment facilities be built and operated, van der Ree added. Role of Technology There is a big gap between what technologies can offer on one hand and what technology actually does offer in in R&D on the other hand, Berloznik said. Not all the developed solutions are accepted and taken over by the market, he said. There is also a lack of awareness of available technologies and no real understanding of how to scale solutions quickly, Berloznik added. Several speakers urged a holistic approach to technology, adding that transformation often does not come from within the sector. Innovation comes from a different place than you would expect, said Ger Bergkamp, executive director of the International Water Association. The footprint of the average German citizen is a far beyond what their footprint should be in order to be sustainable, Chiara Venturini, director of Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), told the event. Solutions are required to reduce this footprint, van der Ree said. ICT applications can help people to change their lifestyles and to reduce their impact on the environment, Venturini said. ICT can reduce our impact in a lot of different areas such as mobility by, for instance sharing apps and remote working systems, she added. She underlined the positive environmental impact of her decision to participate remotely instead of travelling to Geneva. ICT can enable more economic growth and a better utilisation of resources, Venturini said. The CO2 emissions will continue to grow, Venturini predicted. ICT has the potential to reduce the global CO2 emissions with 20 percent, she said. ICT can furthermore connect 2.5 billion people who are still not connected to the internet, Venturini added. Even though ICT is a fundamental means to realise the SDGs, the ICT industry cannot deliver the solution alone, Venturini said. Data and Remote Sensing Information and data have become commodities in this world, said Dirk Van Speybroeck, strategy advisor for VITO remote sensing, adding that the top five publicly traded companies in 2016 by market cap were technology companies. Dirk Van Speybroeck There has been an increasing trend to deliver data for free instead of selling it, Van Speybroeck said. He added that there is an increasing transition to virtual centres in the cloud. We are developing toward the industry 4.0 in which everything becomes more consumer oriented, according to Van Speybroeck. The free access to data stimulates a value adding industry, he said. The European Space Agency (ESA) makes data of a series of satellites available for free on Sentinel Online, Van Speybroeck added. Remote sensing provides “objective, transparent and accountable data and information,” he said. Van Speybroeck said that since 31 December 2015, 14 percent of all operational satellites were used for earth observation processes. Satellites have become smaller and cheaper and SMEs and spin-offs have become successfully involved in the satellite sector, he said. Remote sensing has become more affordable and accessible and will be an ideal instrument for reporting and following up of SDGs, he said. Elise De Geyter is an intern at Intellectual Property Watch and a candidate for the LLM Intellectual Property and Technology Law at the National University of Singapore (class 2017). Image Credits: Elise De Geyter, WSIS Forum Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Elise De Geyter may be reached at email@example.com."Remote Sensing And (Geo-) ICTs, Prime Tools To Achieve SDGs, WSIS Forum Hears" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.