What is this initiative?
An international joint venture to strengthen cooperation with the Global South, with emphasis in Africa and Latin America, through collaborative projects fostering Human Agency and the governance of data ecologies towards greening our economies, promoting healthier societies and reduce inequalities in the digital age.
It is an international alliance to promote Sustainable and Healthy Territories through research and innovative social practices, together with the creation of new jobs and initiatives that stimulate the ecological transition of the economy and society and the understanding of its dynamics in the “Anthropocene”:
- It considers a cultural movement throughout all areas of knowledge to promote the use of data derived from Earth Observation systems in combination with other advanced data acquisition and processing systems, to enable innovative policies and practices driven by new research to deal with complex landscapes, including those in vulnerable urban areas and rural landscapes;
- It includes a collaborative innovation network based on transdisciplinary data centers and related scientific, technological and innovation activities in association with advanced remote sensing systems oriented to sustainable urban growth, as well as blue and green growth. The data centers are expected to operate in fully compliance with cybersecurity standards, aiming to become potential regional hubs of cybersecurity.
What is its main objective?
The goal is to help accomplish the target of greening our economies and promoting Sustainable and Healthy Territories, together with achieving carbon neutrality, or “net zero”, by 2050, through a network of data centers and pilot projects in Latin America and Africa and, eventually, in the Indo-Pacific, stimulating a cultural movement and providing capacity building and fostering new jobs through community-based participatory research and innovation.
What are the three secondary objectives?
The pilot projects will be implemented through an international network of centers of excellence promoting:
- a network of collaborative projects and collaborative laboratories involving local actors, in the form of centers of excellence involving the public and private sectors, as well as NGOs to foster interface and intermediation activities with the public and private sectors;
- transdisciplinary data centers to foster new data ecologies through the combination and integration of advanced forms of satellite-based remote sensing and Earth Observation systems in close articulation with other data collection systems and skills; and
- collaborative initiatives of people and experts throughout all areas of knowledge to help stimulating a cultural movement promoting Human Agency and the governance of data ecologies towards greening our economies.
What should this project become in the short term (1 to 2 years)?
The initial seeds of an international network of collaborative projects and collaborative laboratories in Africa and Brazil, as centers of excellence including transdisciplinary data centers equipped with Earth Observation capacity and skills for practical actions towards sustainable urban growth, blue growth and green growth.
Potential sample projects include: i) innovation in sustainable and healthy territories, integrating participatory social cartographies; ii) open access libraries of natural products and components, together with ways of economically valuing these products and components; iii) digital modelling for low carbon economies, including the systematization of the digital representation of urban and agroforestry areas in the form of “Digital Twins”, together with modelling scenarios oriented towards sustainable development; iv) low carbon bio economies and innovation in land usage, facilitating better sustainable exploitation of biological assets in agroforestry structures in Tropical Biomes and in the Tropical rainforest in Africa; v) innovation in coastal bio economies and blue carbon, including tropical mangroves and green aquaculture, along with innovation in land use and wetland/mangrove carbon mapping; and vi) Innovation in sustainable and renewable energies and other breakthrough technologies, including those fostering sustainable urban landscapes.
And in the midterm, after 5 years?
An international alliance with 4 lines of action, as follows:
- An international network of collaborative projects and collaborative laboratories, through the engagement of local actors, public and private and ONGs, in the constitution of new Collaborative Laboratories, in collaboration with the laboratories of the Atlantic International Research Centre – AIR Centre.
- Two major international and transdisciplinary data observatories:
- Land use, Soil and Carbon Observatory, to provide a new satellite-based and data-driven land-use monitoring system and carbon mapping designed to dynamically map urban zones, forest/agro-forestry structures and coastal areas;
- Community-centered Innovation Observatory, to provide a systematic identification, description and analysis of emerging innovation paths engaging communities and people at large in greening the economy and society.
- A program to foster capacity building and new skills development together with new knowledge, including: i) Visiting Scholarships Program; ii) Research Students Program; iii) Joint and double post-graduation diplomas (short, non-degree diplomas) and potential joint Degree programs (Master level); iv) Competitive Program for Collaborative Research; v) Policy briefs; vi) Workshops, conferences, outreach and community engagement.
- An organizational structure of “Regional Chapters”, including Latin America and Caribe; Sub-Sharan Africa; international comparative studies in Europe and USA.
And by 2030?
An international network of collaborative projects and collaborative laboratories and two major international and transdisciplinary data observatories, together with a program to foster new knowledge and capacity building, organized in regional Chapters.
What words are associated with this initiative?
- People: promoting the basic human right of access to public security and healthy working conditions for all, with experimentation, observations and recommendations of public policies on planetary health and sustainable and healthy territories, as well as on health and disease determinants that affect the most vulnerable populations;
- Planet: guaranteeing the minimization of emissions through reduced use of fossil fuels, and the capture and conversion of CO2 in complex rural and coastal landscapes in association with land use change and management, soil monitoring, water management and carbon observation, together with the stepwise experimentation and development of smart regulatory regimes towards the effective implementation of carbon markets;
- Prosperity: sustainable land, water and soil management (e.g. biomes, mangroves and biodiversity in tropical areas), together with the social and economic valorization of biological assets (e.g. natural products) and the development of regional bioeconomies;
- Partnerships: Engaging people and experts throughout all areas of knowledge to help stimulating a cultural movement promoting Human Agency and the governance of data ecologies towards greening our economies through an international network of “Collaborative Laboratories”. These centers aim to operate as effective centers of excellence in close collaboration with local actors, involving interface and intermediation activities with the public and private sectors, aimed at creating jobs and markets, together with capacity building at institutional and human levels.
What are the target audiences, in order of priority?
- ONGs and Non-for profit associations with local action in terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda;
- Public and private sectors;
- Researchers, practitioners, end users and students worldwide.
What kind of behaviour do you hope to promote in each audience?
- ONGs and Non-for profit associations: engagement and active participation, namely to help building a network of Collaborative Laboratories;
- Public and private sectors: institutional support, co-funding and active participation;
- Researchers, practitioners, end users and students: engagement and active participation for pilot project development and implementation.
What values do you associate with this initiative?
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that shaped the 4 main pillars of the 2030 agenda, with emphasis in the principle “leaving no one behind”, that is the bulk of development for providing a shared global vision towards sustainable development for all.
Are there any other projects/programs that it resembles?
- CEGA – Centre for Effective Global Action, https://cega.berkeley.edu/;
- CLUA – Climate and Land Use Alliance, https://www.climateandlandusealliance.org/, focused on Tropical Forests (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Central America, Colombia and Peru) and sponsored by a group of four major US private foundations, including the Climateworks Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Gordon And Betty Moore Foundation.
- AGRA – Sustainable Growing Africa´s Food systems (previously, “Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa”), sponsored by the USAID and the Belinda and Gates foundation, https://agra.org/;
- Afrialliance – Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate; https://afrialliance.org/about-afrialliance, sponsored by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme;
- Global Alliance Africa, https://ktn-uk.org/programme/africa/, sponsored by the UK´s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
- Africa Digital Earth, https://www.digitalearthafrica.org/
- Carbon Mapper, https://carbonmapper.org/
Which recent research is associated with this initiative?
- Human Climate Horizons, 2022, a data platform launched in November 2022 providing localized information on future impacts of climate change across several dimensions of human development and human security. It is fed by an evolving stream of multidisciplinary frontier research.
- Steering Research and Innovation for Global Goals (STRINGS, 2022) project,: a major global study into the alignment between science, technology and innovation (STI) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It highlights a glaring mismatch between STI and the SDGs; warns that, if this mismatch is not addressed, it will undermine progress on the SDGs; and makes recommendations about how to tackle this imbalance; October 2022;
- Do the science on sustainability now (Nature, Vol. 610, 27 October 2022, pp 605-606), shows that since 2015 the rate at which research from high-income countries on, or about, the SDGs is being published has mostly either plateaued or is falling. Two-thirds of research published in the poorest countries has some connection to the SDGs. That compares with around 35% in high-income countries, although these shares are rising slowly.
- An Industrial Policy for Good Jobs (September 2022), The Hamilton Project, at the Harvard´s Kennedy School of Government and the Brookings Institute: a modern approach to industrial Policy to target “good-jobs externalities”;
- Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World; UNDP (September 2022): “The Human Development Report 2021-22”, UNDP, New York; it shows that a new “uncertainty complex” is emerging, never before seen in human history. Constitut¬ing it are three volatile and interacting strands: the desta¬bilizing planetary pressures and inequalities of the Anthro¬pocene, the pursuit of sweeping societal transformations to ease those pressures and the widespread and intensi¬fying polarization;
- Stewardship of global collective behavior (June, 2021), by Joseph B. Bak-Coleman, Mark Alfano, Wofram Barfuss, Carl T. Bergstrom, MIgue Centeno, Iain D. Couzin, Jonathan F. Donges, Mirta GAlesic, Andew S Gersick, Jennifer Jacquet, Albert B Kao, Rachel E. Moran, Pawel ROmamnczuk, Daniel I. Rubenstaein, Kaia J Tombak, Jay J Van BAvel and Elke U weber, PNAS, June 21, 2021: argues that it is necessary to guarantee a transdisciplinary approach to collective behaviours in a way that citizens, at large, improved user responsibility in an emerging digital age;
- In AI we Trust: power, Illusion and Control of predictive algorithms (2021), Polity Books: Helga Nowotny argues that the massified use of AI-enabled innovations is not free of additional questions because the power it has to make us act in the ways it predicts, reduces our agency over the future.