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Closing the Local weather Information Divide within the International South

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World and enterprise leaders are going through urgent local weather points as they collect in Egypt for COP27 – and are targeted on methods to return collectively on motion and implementation. At Microsoft, we see nowadays forward as a possibility to interact in necessary discussions and take steps towards options.  

Immediately we’re sharing particulars about our work to assist new local weather options by harnessing the facility of knowledge and synthetic intelligence (AI), with an growth of our AI for Good Analysis Lab into to Egypt and Kenya. The work of those knowledge labs will likely be knowledgeable by a brand new Africa AI Innovation Council comprised of representatives from main African organizations. We’re additionally asserting an expanded collaboration with Planet Labs, combining their high-quality satellite tv for pc imagery of Africa with our AI know-how to speed up local weather adaptation options.  

It’s a difficult time for our planet and no nation is immune from the dangers and perils confronted by the continuing impacts of local weather change. There may be extra complexity in that the results of this existential menace to our planet’s survival are inconsistently distributed amongst the world’s international locations, with a higher burden falling on the International South, which refers to international locations with decrease ranges of financial and industrial growth in comparison with extra developed nations. The International South has contributed far lower than the International North to the precise causes of local weather change, but they’ve been disproportionately impacted by excessive local weather occasions together with droughts, floods, storms and heatwaves, which contribute to different issues like meals insecurity and exacerbate current challenges like poverty. Between 2008-2018, there have been 2.2 billion individuals within the International South that had been below excessive local weather danger.  

To be able to keep away from the worst results of local weather change, governments and decision-makers within the International South equally want entry to dependable local weather knowledge. This push to democratize entry to knowledge aligns with Microsoft’s broader effort to speed up and assist progress towards the 17 Sustainable Improvement Targets (SDGs), adopted by United Nations member states in 2015 as a part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Improvement. Information has the facility to unlock adaptation and resilience tasks in order that the assets accessible are directed to locations that may make the best affect each earlier than and instantly following climate-related disasters. We acknowledge that not solely is there inadequate dependable  local weather knowledge within the International South, but additionally a major lack of knowledge scientists to work with the information accessible. Our analysis exhibits that there are roughly 5 knowledge scientists within the International North for each one within the International South – that means there’s a vital hole within the International South’s capability to show local weather knowledge into insights for decision-making and motion. In Africa, the hole is wider nonetheless – one knowledge scientist for 14 within the International North. In brief, we face a local weather knowledge divide – and at Microsoft we need to do our half to assist shut that divide. 

Chart showing ratio of African scientistsImmediately, we’re sharing extra about our efforts to assist shut that local weather knowledge divide by an growth of our AI for Good Lab and new partnerships underway throughout the International South to speed up motion. 

Microsoft’s AI for Good Lab has been utilizing AI, machine studying and statistical modeling to sort out local weather change in partnership with main nonprofits, analysis establishments, NGOs and governments as a part of its portfolio to assist remedy humanity’s greatest challenges. By providing our know-how and experience, we’re serving to advance the native growth of scalable options. Immediately, we’re asserting the first international growth of the Lab to Nairobi, Kenya, and Cairo, Egypt, constructing a brand new group of knowledge scientists on the bottom in Africa that can work to enhance local weather resilience. 

We all know that addressing and mitigating the consequences of local weather change requires a collective effort throughout trade, authorities, academia and civil society. In early conversations about this growth with the Kenyan and Egyptian Ministries of Info, Communications and Expertise, we made it clear that our ultimate final result was African knowledge researchers engaged on tasks that profit Africa in Africa. We are going to set up a brand new Africa AI Innovation Council, with membership drawn from main African organizations such because the African Improvement Financial institution, African Threat Capability and African Local weather Basis. The Council will convene a high-level, multi-sector group of African leaders who deeply perceive the problems going through the continent, to tell the work of the brand new AI for Good Labs, determine alternatives to enhance local weather resilience by knowledge and AI, and facilitate methods to generate extra local weather knowledge and drive continued analysis. Along with the Africa AI Innovation Council members, we’re happy to be working in collaboration with the Kenya Purple Cross Society, PATH, Institute for Well being Metrics and Analysis (IHME), and Built-in Meals Safety Part Classification (IPC) to show knowledge into local weather motion. 

Microsoft can even work to scale AI for Good tasks throughout the International South. Most not too long ago, it has partnered with the federal government of Uruguay on a new Microsoft AI and IOT lab that can assist startups within the area to ship new AI improvements in lots of areas together with local weather change and different urgent societal points. 

In September, we introduced a collaboration with Planet and The Nature Conservancy to construct the International Renewables Watch – a first-of-its-kind residing atlas meant to map and measure all utility-scale photo voltaic and wind installations on Earth utilizing AI and satellite tv for pc imagery. The International Renewables Watch will present knowledge that helps each researchers and policymakers perceive present renewable vitality capacities and gaps and help decision-makers in quest of extra environment friendly and efficient choices for renewable vitality growth. Entry to high-quality knowledge is important to enabling measurement and realization of the SDGs. 

By means of an expanded collaboration between the Microsoft AI for Good Lab and Planet, Africa-based knowledge scientists may have entry to satellite tv for pc imagery from throughout the African continent to handle challenges nominated by the AI Innovation Council with a particular concentrate on adaptation – the method of adjusting to present or anticipated results of local weather change – and early warning methods. 

Within the International North, use of geospatial knowledge has develop into commonplace within the response to pure disasters like wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes, and this new collaboration will assist prolong this utilization to the International South. Planet Labs has been on the forefront of the geospatial revolution for greater than 10 years. With roughly 200 satellites in orbit, Planet Labs seize greater than 25 terabytes of images every day that helps companies, governments, researchers and journalists perceive the terrestrial world and take motion.   

The local weather disaster should be addressed, and to try this, a variety of concepts and approaches should be thought of. It’s important that we assist and allow these residing in climate-impacted areas to be entrance and heart in growing options. At Microsoft, we’re dedicated to partnering with and offering digital know-how, and assets for these residing, working and innovating within the International South to assist shut the local weather knowledge divide and create the local weather options of the long run.  

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