Green ICTs and Innovation ITU/United Nations
30 September 2011 - A Workshop on in Nairobi,Kenya
September 30, 2011 - 11:00AM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. 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 session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Good morning. We are about to start the second part of the programme, the workshop. Some of the speakers have conflicting assignments and would want to leave before their time.
What this means is that a slight change are introduced. We start with the main presentation. I would invite the Microsoft representative to follow after me, and then hand over the microphone to madame Cristina Bueti.
Hasanul Haq Inu, member of parliament, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Telecommunications of People's Republic of Bangladesh, Madame Cristina from ITU standardization bureau, fellow presenters and colleagues. This section of the workshop will see representation on the symposium on ICTs, the environment and climate change that was held in Ghana on the 7th to 8th of July. This symposium was on the two key challenges, being climate change and protection of environment.
It followed on the work of the ITU conference of 2010, requesting nations states or member countries to raise awareness of the role of ICTs among policymakers.
It also followed from the Cairo symposium which set up principles for Government policymakers and stakeholders to create an understanding of the positive role of ICT. So the Accra agenda was to move climate change forward and further involve African countries on three key issues; these being mitigation, adaptation, and the management of e-waste.
So you would see that, so this symposium was by Ministry of Communications, was preceded by a workshop organised in collaboration with the ITU. It was attended by policymakers, regulators, representatives from industry, civil society, indeed with members of parliament present.
The main purpose, as I said, was moving forward the agenda on ICTs for monitoring climate change, mitigating and then also adapt to its effects, within the context of ITU's future work. And these area referred to the resolutions passed at the World Telecom Standardization Assembly of 2008 in Johannesburg, and then the world Telecom conference in India, and also the conference in October, 2010.
The topics discussed included mitigation, adaptation to climate change, e-waste, disaster planning, cost-effective ICT technologies, methodologies for the environmental impact assessment of ICTs, then the challenges and opportunities in the transition to a green and resource efficient economy.
The call to action at end of it all was address climate change at the forthcoming United Nations climate change conference in Durban, and also the Rio+20 UN conference on sustainable development next year.
Now, what did the call to action entail?
It's principally call to establish the basis for a future agreement that will enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the U.N. formal convention on climate change, recognizing the power of ICTs to assist countries to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
It also called to recognize the widespread use of ICTs in our daily life, and recognizing that although the ICTs are also growing contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, they also provide one of the most significant opportunities to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas through the application of intelligent ICT systems.
The call was also to recognize that ICTs reduce manufacturing needs by replacing material goods with virtual products, they provide the means for virtual meetings. Here you can talk about savings in transportation and so on and so forth, intelligent transport systems to cut emissions and traffic congestion. ICTs are part of smart electricity grids to distribute and use power more efficiently, that as it enables more efficient, better and cleaner water distribution, and more importantly, at the macro level they underpin e-governance, e-health, e-education projects that reach many members of the community. And ICTs are widely employed for environment and climate monitoring.
Another call was that ICT is a catalyst to climate change adaptation which helps in countries' preparedness for a more risky future, and also it enhances the use of three technology types, this being telecommunications systems, observation systems, and information systems for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The call was also to recognize the need to build capacities in developing countries to support ICT as tool for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. And capacity development is required in three dimensions. There is the institutional development, human resources enhancement and systems development, in particular, relating to legislative and regulatory frameworks.
A call was also made to forge partnerships and engage all stakeholders to address climate change, due to its more disciplinary nature, and also to emphasize ICT's critical role in providing education and information through broadcasting, Internet and other means of communication, and the role it plays in remote monitoring of the earth by satellite and by sensors on the ground and in the ocean.
Another call was to note that the use of ICTs in monitoring can provide data and information on deforestation, or on crop patterns that indicate possible food shortages.
ICTs are vital in disaster alerting which is closely linked to climate change, and also, they are essential in disaster response by humanitarian organisations and individuals.
Continuing, the symposium called to recognize that the production and use of ICT equipment is increasing worldwide, leaving rapidly growing amounts of e-waste behind.
If not handled in a sound manner, e-waste poses a serious threat to human health, the environment and contributes substantially to greenhouse gas emissions.
So the call was for ICT, that ICT equipment has to be managed in a lifecycle approach, including design for easy reuse and recycling, systematic takeback systems, and energy efficient reuse and/or recycling procedures.
E-waste avoidance and minimization has a huge potential to contribute to greenhouse emission reduction.
So by overwhelming consensus, the call was made that ITU as per the article 7.2 of the U.N. framework convention on climate change, and being the U.N. specialized agency for ICTs and member of 192 Governments, with more than 700 private sector entities, to lead an ICT coalition urging the next conference of parties delegates to look to the enormous potential of ICT solutions and to cut emissions across all sectors. Secondly, the UNFCCC seek delegates to make specific mention of ICTs in the negotiating texts.
Finally, the delegates increase ICT investment and funding at the next round of negotiations to be held in Durban, South Africa when considering the progress and personalizing new institutions such as the technology mechanism and green climate fund.
For the participants this essentially constituted the outcome of the symposium in Accra. Thank you for the audience.
Thank you. According to the programme, after this presentation, I will call Cristina to be the provision of the key activities, but in her place I'll call one representative of Microsoft to take the floor now, and also that is what he does, but before I do that let's acknowledge and pay tribute to the memory of Professor Wangari Maathai, one of the foremost campaigners for the environment. And I was reading one of the quotations in the conference brochure. She says it's the little things citizens do, that is what will make the difference
My little thing is planting trees. I think in that context it is our challenge to use ICT to carry the voice further afield to make the impacts.
So with this brief tribute I invite you to take the floor. Thank you.
>> RIZWAN TUFAIL: Thank you very much. Honourable chair, the honourable Hasanul Haq Inu, moderator, Issah Yahaya, thank you very much, first of all, good morning and thank you very much for your indulgence.
I hope to be part of the sessions right throughout. I do have a conflicting commitment and I do appreciate the moderator's indulgence in letting me make my comments. My name is as the slide, Rizwan Tufail, regional technology officer for Microsoft across Africa. And my role is to work with Government across the region on the technology and the regulatory aspects of technology and how we together can create an environment where ICTs are a key driver for development.
When we look at our responsibility and the role that we play as industry and as a software provider, we are humbled by the challenge, and we recognize that creating green solutions implies that we have the answers. We do not always have the answers. In fact, we are probably a small part in the ecosystem that creates that answer, and so we are extremely excited to be able to play a small part in enabling the solutions. And as I go through the rest of the presentation, I will talk about how we do that enablement work.
I think just the main point of the slide is obviously, we recognize that there are a number of factors that drive the environmental arena that we are all stepping into. A number of factors have already been talked about earlier in the day.
So I will not belabor the point, and move on.
When we look at technology tools, and when we look at our responsibility, we look at four areas where we believe we can impact the environment. Number one, meaning the broader technology environment, the performance of the hardware including unlimited storage, which is obviously a big enabler for positive change that is coming across. Cloud computing, I had made the point earlier, the opportunities that come through cloud computing and digitization of the economy, we are making a lot of progress in software breakthroughs that make the natural user interface a possibility.
Hopefully, that begins to address some of the concerns that have already been talked about in terms of capacity building and access to technology to a wider set of audiences. And then obviously, the Forum over the last couple of days has made a broad recognition of the changing landscape in terms of mobility, new device, form factors, high fidelity displays and the critical role that broadband plays.
We are excited. We see these four factors coming together, and creating long-term innovation, particularly in six areas, including healthcare, communication, entertainment, science and engineering, education and energy and energy environment. We do a lot of that innovation work across the region. And as I go through, I will talk about a couple of examples of how we impact.
When we think about the challenge, we think of it in three ways. Number one is responsible environmental stewardship; what do we do as a company, and how we can help and how can our products help accelerating research breakthroughs, and then new collaboration across borders, some of the examples of which were talked about earlier.
Let me talk about the responsible environmental stewardship area. Obviously the first and foremost is making sure that we reduce our environmental impact, and there again we have made effective use of our own technologies. At this point in time I would say more than 85 percent of our internal meetings are done with the use of our own technologies, which obviously limit the amount of travel that our team does, and also limits the amount of travel that we do, as we interact with our partners and with our broader ecosystem.
Along those lines, although it is still in the regulatory processes, but obviously, Skype becoming part of Microsoft would just increase that trend. And we are very proud of and we take note of the number of users across the globe who make use of the Skype technologies, to interact, collaborate, and work with each other, but at the same time not having to burden the environment.
The second area is the, as we say, as we call it the evolution of the disappearing datacenter. And the point that is made is that data centres themselves have gone through a massive evolution over the last 20 years.
If you look at what we call generation 1 data centres, these are the data centers that are about 20 years old or so. That was where the industry was serve, was managing the individual servers, and with no control over how that usage could be optimized. So we had power, usage effectiveness of about two, which essentially meant that for every, for every one watt that was used for computing power, there was another watt that was just being used for administrative purposes in a datacenter.
Obviously, reducing that number is a key concern. Close to the 2007 time frame, we saw generation 2 data centres, with much higher density, allowing much more centralized management, and we, through that we were able to bring down the PUE to about 1.4 to 1.6.
The interesting part is what's happened in generation 3 and generation 4. Today, the datacenter innovations that the industry has driven, and Microsoft has been a key driver of that, is we see that the centres that are driven in an extremely modular fashion, and we make use of, as an example, natural air cooling, which obviously makes your, the energy that is used for cooling down the data centres actually is significantly reduced.
Generation 4 data centres are what we call the ITPACs, so these are preassembled components that can actually just be put together to create an entire data center.
There is one ITPAC sitting here at this point in time at the UNEP facilities. Our own data centres that we are building today are being built in this modular fashion, significantly reducing the energy requirement.
The data centres are obviously a huge consumer of power. Just to give you an idea, the datacenter that we have now functioning in Chicago is the size of about 17 football fields. It requires dedicated about 60 megawatt capacity to power that particular datacenter.
So therefore, we looked at this and said there is a huge opportunity for us to ensure that the efficiency of this investment goes up. That's what I wanted to talk about here in terms of the evolution of the disappearing datacenter.
The drive to a simplified datacenter, it actually began as a science project. One of our engineers looked at it and said, what if I took all the components of a datacenter, and placed them outside in an open environment, and see how long it works?
Interestingly enough it actually worked for five months, and the only problem that we found at the end was that there was mud that was coming, because it was an open environment, there was mud that was coming onto the floor space, and that was beginning to impact the performance.
From that science project, Microsoft looked at that and said we actually have the opportunity to create innovation, in terms of how data centres are built. That is the evolution of the ITPACs that today are driving the data centres that are at the very heart of the cloud computing revolution.
Let me talk, in that vein, let me talk about the partnership that we are extremely proud of, the partnership with UNEP and UN Habitat in Nairobi.
Three aspects to look at. Number one, the building itself is actually being designed to make use of the natural ventilation, to make sure that the energy usage is extremely limited. That obviously is a UNEP innovation and something that UNEP had done.
We are proud to be part of this in terms of the ITPAC that we have provided, which when functional will essentially power all the E-mail, all the collaboration, all the virtualization. So the entire IT system bar, the specialized applications will run through the ITPAC, and the energy requirement of the entire unit is actually being provided through the solar panels that are set up on top of the building and behind the building.
So, as I said, it is the continent's first carbon neutral building. Obviously, it is under UNEP's leadership, and we are very proud to have played a small part in that.
The second component that I talked about was how do we accelerate research in this particular area, how can we play a part in ensuring that world class thinking is being used to think about the environment and how we can minimize our footprint.
So ICTs play, we believe ICTs play a very important role in the development, adaptation and mitigation side of things. We are proud to have played a role with two research platforms, the Research for Life, which was an FAO, W.H.O. And UNEP initiative supported by a number of academic institutions. We have provided the technology which essentially makes it possible for close to about 4,000 academic publications to be accessible in an electronic format, and be accessible all across the globe.
Similarly, the online access to research in the environment is an initiative of UNEP and Yale, which again Microsoft is a key technology provider for.
The third area that I wanted to talk about was how we enable innovation; again, the point is we do innovation and we enable, and I think that the enablement part is probably even bigger.
As you would know, we run a software competition for student developers all across the globe. It is called Imagine Cup. And the theme is, how do we imagine a different world with the use of technology. I think it is the biggest fountainhead for innovation coming from students themselves. I wanted to highlight just one of the projects that was done.
This is a project that was a key finalist in the 2008 time frame, and the students basically looked at how they could bring about automation in the area of agriculture. So the solution, which is called SOAK, means smart operational agricultural kit.
It's a cloud-based solution that first of all goes out and captures weather information from readily accessible information sets. It can link to on the ground sensors. And in doing so, it can then provide the farmer realtime information based on the weather forecast over the next couple of days, how much water needs to be provided to the field. So the sprinkler setting could be adjusted to actually reduce the water impact on the field itself. The information is available to, on a mobile handset for farmers anywhere. But it can also integrate with automated sprinklers if they are on the grounds.
Again, as I said, this is not the innovation that we create. This is innovation that on our platform hundreds and thousands of people do every day, and we are a very proud partner in that initiative.
Thank you very much. I do appreciate your attention and your time. I've put down my details here. If there are any questions on anything that I said, I'd be more than happy to take them off line. And as I said, I'm here to address any questions right now as well.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Thank you, Rizwan. The name Microsoft I'm sure presents you in the thick of things, to make it happen. So this technological insight is going to also bring from us some of the areas with the incubator. Let's see from the audience if there are areas that require clarification, and there are questions that he has agreed to respond to before taking leave of us. The floor is now open. Yes, sir.
>> Thank you, Chair. It's not a question. It's not even an intervention. It is just a piece of information. The building he was referring to are literally a two-minute walk away from here. I invite you all to wander over to quite a pleasant environment. It is aesthetically pleasing as well as a nice place to work. At the beginning of your lunch break or whatever, please take the opportunity, wander by. You can see the ITPAC that Rizwan was referring to. If you have any further questions, I'll be glad to try and dig up answers for you. Thanks.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Thank you.
>> Thank you very much for that presentation. I have a question on the SOAK solution. I'm wondering if it has been tested on the ground, is it something that was developed in Kenya or elsewhere? And when testing it on the ground, I think there are a couple of challenges, when you are digging with farmers who are not well resourced. And are there issues of language? Some of them don't use sprinklers or drip irrigation. How do you integrate to their traditional ways of doing agriculture and bring it down to the grass root level?
>> RIZWAN TUFAIL: I appreciate the question. Thank you very much.
To set the context, the team that developed this was an Australian team, Australian team of students. They obviously began with their environment. I think the key point is that because it was a modular tool kit, it allows the functionality to integrate into sprinklers, wherever they are automated. But in the absence of that, just being able to add at a specific geographical location, being able to connect with any sensors that are already on the ground, but then being able to go out and collect publicly available information, including weather forecasts, etcetera, being able to provide that information as a first starting point, is the starting point. It is the first step. And then building on that, I really appreciate in an automated environment, it is more easy to do that going forward.
I think it provides a number of opportunities that on the ground then need to be adapted, and brought to ground. The team that developed this over the next six months actually created a commercial company to take this solution forward in Australia.
I am not, I did not have visibility into their international expansion plans. I think as an entrepreneur, they probably at first wanted to test out the model in environments where it is readily acceptable and readily deployable. But I think it gives us a good sense of the direction of what is possible.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Yes, sir.
>> Thank you. I have a question regarding the color of the cloud, as opposed to the color of the datacenter. There seems to be ambiguity and criticism. While everybody agrees that the cloud is more efficient in terms of hardware utilization, and in terms of energy utilization and so on, the underlying data centre which are termed as factories of technology, like we practice earlier popping out smoke, these are factories of tomorrow or today.
So the color of the datacenter is less clear, meaning sometimes they are on dirty power, for example, coal fired power. The criticism that has been leveled against the data centres not being sufficiently green has to do with that passive and active adoption of technologies, passive in the sense locating it near Nairobi versus somewhere much harder in terms of cooling and hardware in terms of strategy. I'd like to know, Microsoft, criticism, anything about the cloud.
>> RIZWAN TUFAIL: I think your question is completely valid. There are a couple of things we have to remember.
Remember what I said in my comments, at this point in time, 95 percent of the data centres that we see operating are still gen 1, so there is huge efficiency possibilities just within that space.
The second point that you make about how those data centres are powered is extremely relevant, and that same criticism or the same concern also comes up when one talks about electric vehicles. If they are powered at the end with black, they are not really green.
I think industry has been moving forward very aggressively, Microsoft itself in terms of its siting has been looking at environments where the cooling requirements are very minimal, co-siting them with hydro potential. Google has been doing a fair amount of work in terms of solar. We have been looking at the data centres and at least utilizing the roof space for additional power in terms of solar.
So things are definitely moving in that direction. But as you said, there is still a lot that can be done there, and I think it goes back to the earlier comment that was made around, in a disaggregated fashion, where every provider and every company goes out and builds up its own datacenter, it doesn't lend itself to the efficiencies that could come up with cloud computing, which is why we are so excited.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Any more questions? Honourable, please go ahead.
>> HASANUL HAQ INU: Just to respond to the lady about the agriculture, the agriculture uses fertilizers, especially in rural area, and excessive use of urea, that releases nitrous oxide into the environment, and nitrous oxide is more dangerous than CO2 emissions, almost 300 times more than CO2.
So we need to apply ICT in the modeling, the use of fertilizers, soil nutrients, so that release of the nitrous oxide to the environment is used. This agriculture is a big domain. So this is a challenge for the ingenious designers to, how to remodel the agricultural pattern and to find the correct nutrient quantities, so that the minimum nitrogen is in the soil. It doesn't go to the environment. Thank you very much.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: You want to respond?
>> RIZWAN TUFAIL: I think it's a valid observation. Very valid observation.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Let me on behalf of the audience thank Mr. Rizwan Tufail for taking us through some of the areas that Microsoft would contribute to protect the environment.
The sentiments expressed here, also food for thought in your R&D, and hopefully in the months ahead you come out with more relevant and technologically solutions that would create the green solutions. Thank you very much.
I will now pass on the microphone to Madame Cristina Bueti of the ITU. She is also going to acquaint us with ITU's activities, ICTs, the environment and climate change. Madame, please take over.
>> CRISTINA BUETI: Good morning, everyone. To those that have joined us in the second part, we started this morning with a meeting of the Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change.
I'm pleased to be here today and to present to you the ITU activities in this area. As it was emphasized this morning, ICTs are a powerful tool to tackle climate change. Many lead by bringing down emissions of ICT sector itself. As it was noted this morning, the ICT sector itself is, has GHG emissions that needs to be lowered down, and in that respect ICTs are a powerful tool. But also, because ICTs are able to capture emissions, raising energy efficiency in other sectors, like for example transport, and I'll provide to you with a few examples, as well as ICTs are extremely important in helping countries to adapt to the effects of climate change. And especially here in Africa, they have a key role to play.
But what is the ITU's work in this area? If we take a look for example at the key work that we carry out in the area of mitigation, specifically in the reduction of energy consumption by ICT equipment, for the development of new standards. So for example, the promotion of next generation networks, which has the capacity to reduce the power consumption by up to 40 percent. So, as you can imagine, these are really big numbers that can make a big difference in networks. But also, better use of spectrum will help reduce energy consumption of wireless devices.
In addition, the advancing on new standards to promote the reductions of emissions by other sectors is extremely helpful scenario, for example, related to smart buildings or smart grids or intelligent transport systems or remote working technologies or sensor-based networks.
Just to give you a very brief examples, if you think about remote working technologies, the fact that you can attend a meeting physically or remotely, make a difference, but for the participants, you have a possibility to contribute just staying in your office, or in your home, using remote working technologies that are in place. In ITU we have long experience, and most of our meetings, they provide the possibility to have remote and physical participation.
But it is also critical the work ITU carries out in the area of adaptation, specifically for example, to get Telecoms up and running after disasters. Needless to say, when a disaster strikes in a country, in a part of having a general confusions and authorities are trying to reestablish and provide assistance as soon as possible, telecommunications becomes key. We don't realise until we don't have a phone that works, how important it is and necessary to have your phone working.
So we have recent example of ITU's help and assistance in disaster cases, in Pakistan, or Chile. But we also through our development sector develop tool kits and guidelines, and specifically we had an e-environment tool kit which was used a year and a half ago, and which helps countries to assess the contributions the ICTs can make to reduce the GHG emissions.
As I mentioned this morning, we have a pilot project which is very unique as it is actually the only one in the world done with the collaboration of UNFCCC and with the Government of Ghana, in Ghana actually, and I will tell you about that project later on.
But ITU is also working on how to monitor climate, and specifically as the steward of the global framework spectrum and satellite or bits ITU ensures viability of or bits for climate monitoring and climate change prediction. As you can imagine, it is extremely important to be able to predict in the climate and again, ITU is quite unique in this area, as it is the only entity in the world that develops international treaty level standards to ensure noninterference operation of systems involved in climate monitoring.
But we also assist the administration in implementing systems by analyzing compatibility between new and existing systems, so that is certainly a great help that we give to our countries.
Another area where we are working on is technology transfer. We have been to the World Summit and Information Society process, which is a summit organised Geneva in the first part and Tunisia in the second part. We build a global-like community to exchange best practices in the use of ICTs to promote sustainable development. Again, there is a possibility to make entries and share the information that organisations, or add any information on activities that your organisation is carrying out in this area, related to e-agriculture and e-environment.
And as I mentioned this morning, the key work of ITU is being carried out in the ITU-T study group on environment and climate change. The study group 5 meeting concluded in Seoul actually on the 28th of September, with the approval of 12 new recommendations dedicated to this issue, specifically in areas related to the coordination and planning of ICTs and climate change, methodology of environmental impact assessment of ICT, data collection for energy efficiency for ICTs, and also setting up a low cost sustainable telecommunication infrastructure for rural communications in developing countries.
That is another areas where ITU is working on and we are developing standards. So I really encourage you, all of you, to send us your contributions, as well as there is in other work areas that is dedicated to adaptations, specifically question 23.
Let me spend a few moments on the importance to have an international agreed methodology.
What happened in Seoul is really wonderful, not for the ITU itself but for the world, for people. All companies around the world, they claims that of course they are able to reduce emissions, that they are reducing their own emissions. But until actually the 28th of September, we didn't have any standard that was able to measure and assess the environmental impact assessment of the ICT sector itself. ITU in that respect producing this standard, of course thanks to the contribution of its membership, Member States and sector members, now have the possibility through an international and agreed methodologies to provide meaningful comparison and helps also to establish the business case to go green.
There are six recommendations on the preparation. Actually, one, it was approved in February, 2011, and provide the general principles. As I mentioned before, the recommendation on the environmental impact of ICT goods, networks and services has been consented on the 28th of September, together with the recommendation on environmental impact of ICT in organisations, which include the three scopes of the ISO standard, and there are other three recommendations that are under preparation that are dedicated to the environmental impact of ICT in projects, and the environmental impact of ICT in countries and in cities.
These are the cooperations that we have with different standard organisations, with different UN agencies, with different industry associations that have been working with us on the development of this methodology.
Another key area where we are focusing our efforts is e-waste. As you have heard this morning by several speakers, and I will not repeat, e-waste is a key issues. Of course, it is not e-waste itself but management of e-waste becomes central especially for countries, especially for developing countries, and now that we are here in Africa especially for African countries.
It is extremely important that there are guidelines and policies in a country that take a look at the e-waste problem, and ITU in that respect has developed a standard for charger for mobile phones that specifies the general requirements and covers chargers for mobile phones. To give you an example, what we have right now, take a look at my bag. It is multiple chargers. What we will have in the future is just one. The future is not three years but just next year.
I am also very pleased to say that there are already companies that are working with us to implement the ITU's universal charger. Research Motion is one of the companies. There are others that are doing this excellent work. And this is a concrete help that we are giving to the users, don't carry three, four universal chargers, don't carry three or four chargers. You will have just one universal charger; that will be certainly reduction of the waste.
We take them with us anyway. That is up to ICT, then we leave them again.
Another area is focused on e-waste, and another area of work is that we are developing a global survey on e-waste which will be officially launched at the end of October, together with uni convention, united universities and CEDARE and solving the e-waste initiative. This will be addressed to all Member States, and ITU Member States, so the 192 Member States plus the over 700 sector members. And we dearly hope that we will get as many responses as possible. Another area that is focused to tackle climate change is certainly need to raise awareness. It is extremely important. ITU is doing this work through the organisation of different symposia. The last one was in Ghana, as it was mentioned by Issah. But also we had a symposium in Korea and ITU green standards week which was in Rome, actually from the 5th to the 9th of September.
And we usually have meetings and e-meetings through the joint coordination activity on ICT and climate change. This is a mechanism again that is open to everyone. It is a mechanism that we use to share information. So if you are interested, please let us know. The next session will be held at the end of November. The exact date is posted on the ITU Web site.
And very recently, we published a couple of reports. I'll mention just two of them, one of which is dedicated to using submarine communication networks to monitor the climate. Our reports are for free. You can download it from our Web site. And the second report is that it is dedicated to smart water management, which as many of you know, has become a key policy issue for the 21st Century involving of course millions of people that have problem with scarce fresh water.
So again ICTs here have a key crucial role to play, and specifically the impact that has on climate change in countries.
Just a few words on the ITU and FCCC project. In Ghana, the project started immediately after the Accra call to action. Issah has given you an overview. So I'll go very briefly, but just mention that ICTs play a critical role for mitigation, adaptation, capacity building and technology transfer.
These are some of the, actually I would say calls that have been mentioned by Issah that I reused. This project is quite unique because we will be piloting the role of ICTs in Ghana, in two areas, how the telecommunications sector in Ghana can reduce its own emissions and this project is mainly led by the Environmental Protection Agency. The second project which is led by the Ministry of Communication will take a look at the role of ICTs in climate change adaptation in the case of Ghana.
This project is being carried out in close cooperation with UNFCCC. Indeed it is unique because we are using the UNFCCC guidelines for the first time ever. And of course, this takes a great amount of effort, the involvement of and support of the Government of Ghana has been essential. And we are working with the hope to be able to present this project in the forthcoming UNFCCC conference that will be held in Durban.
Also, emphasize the importance of the effects in climate change in Ghana, which many of you may know Ghana as one of the countries of Africa, and it is actually the second world producer of cocoa. And with my great surprise when the consultant actually shared the research with us, is that told us that basically half of the country doesn't have the possibility now, because of climate change. And that was striking because I think the country that was a leading country that has to actually, has been so impacted by climate change, and in that respect we are exploring of course ways and possibilities how the ICTs itself can help to adapt to the effects of climate change.
Ghana has a world developed ICT training infrastructure. Actually as it was mentioned by Issah, they are in the process of reviewing their policy to include the ICTs also for climate change which we hope it will act very soon.
They also have developed a national telecommunication policy which is promoting the migration from 7 network to a single network generation platform, which reduces the number of switching centres and involves higher capacity equipment.
The Ministry of Communication has been very much involved in pursuing the migration from analog to digital transmission, and as you can imagine, this has an incredible significant impact in the reduction of GHG emissions. And there is also a national eGovernment network project which will extend broadband infrastructure to all the district assembly areas and allow the use of ICTs to provide emergency telecommunications.
These are certainly key areas that have been addressed by the Government. But of course, the risk of more frequent and serious extreme climate events could produce service disruptions, and Ghana's ICTs will need to have more robust infrastructures, a greater technical knowledge, and we need to also in this country to have enhanced engineering capabilities and to implement international standards.
The findings so far, this is really a preliminary assessment, as I said, final results will be shared with everyone in Durban. There is no single ICT solution that can deliver all of the necessary capabilities required for adaptation, and ICT solution to climate change adaptation in Ghana will need to deliver the following functions: Dedicated to observation, analysis, planning, implementation and management, capacity building and networking.
And of course, multiplicity of solutions required means that Ghana will need to prioritize the optimum technologies to achieve its stated climate change adaptation objectives.
This is essential. In addition, what we have found that the necessary next steps to be taken is that there is no single recipe for using ICTs in climate change adaptation, but the primary research in Ghana to consider the role for ICTs in climate change adaptation using adaptation, existing adaptation frameworks has proven to be valuable.
In addition, the review of different elements has helped us also to assess how the country is using ICTs to tackle climate change, and what is needed is also to consider which ICTs are needed to deliver the optimum capability for climate change adaptation. Needless to say that again, central key is that to raise awareness and build capacity, as it was outlined it this morning, information is key.
People need to know. People need to have the information. People need to be told what to do. In case of adaptation, information becomes and plays a central role.
What are the expected results? The expected results are guidelines for the telecommunications sector on how to reduce their emissions, including suggested actions to be included in their corporate social responsibility and internal policies.
This is specifically referring to the report that is mainly led by the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana. This report will provide guidance on how to implement also the ITT methodology that I mentioned before. And the second project is that it is mainly led by the Ministry of Communications, will provide guidelines for Ghana, as to how it can adapt to climate change using ICTs and including suggested actions for the Government of Ghana, which will be in line with the ongoing UNFCCC process. This might also include the establishment of a coalition of stakeholders to mainstream ICT in climate change activities and policies.
This becomes a very valuable point. If we look ahead to the conference of parties, we are in Kenya and in a couple of months, most of the negotiators will move to another African country, to South Africa, to discuss what the future will be, and again, linking ICTs with the Cancun agreements and what will be we hope the Durban agreements is essential. So the role of technology has been already, we are recognizing the UNFCCC process through the technology mechanism and climate change technology centre and network, which were established by the Cancun agreements at the last conference of parties.
But innovation and transfer and dissemination of technologies including ICTs is key to both mitigation and adaptation. And again, the goal is to all countries to bridge the gap between the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Communication, on the importance of ICTs to be included and what it will be the future agreements. This role of ICTs has not been recognized so far. ITU has been agreeing the importance of having ICTs in future agreements, and we hope to be able to count on the supports of as many countries as possible, as many negotiators as possible, as many lobbyists as possible, because this is a key message that will affect people.
Let me conclude with a nice quote that I was given by the Ministry of Communication. He has been a champion in this area, campaigning the work on ICTs and climate change.
This is now everybody's business, and all stakeholders need to be part of the response. I think this is time to include ICTs, not only in Ghana adaptation policy process, but especially in all national policies process of every country.
Here there are some links and additional information. I went very quickly because I know that we are running out of time. So I would like to give the possibility to all presenters to present their activities. But I'm very happy to provide the additional information later on, should you have any additional questions. Thank you.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Thank you, Cristina.
I'm sure there is still a lot of work going on, and it's very expensive. And with the partnerships we are building, and the resources you are making available, we will definitely be guided in what we are going to do for the environment.
Now, we have the other speakers waiting to take their turn. Now, the next to take the microphone for talk on greening an industry and supporting change ICTs. Please welcome.
>> TAYLOR REYNOLDS: Thank you very much. My name is Taylor Reynolds. I'm an economist at the OECD. In the information economy group, we have led the work on green ICTs for the OECD. I'm going to go quickly to leave space for discussion, so I want to highlight a couple of quick slides.
First of all, the linkages that we see between green technologies and ICTs, we see this is a circle, where technology can make ICTs greener, and ICTs can make tech better and greener. We see this as a virtual, virtual circle.
First of all, I want to talk about green solutions for ICTs. I work with someone, a friend who leads a company that does solar panels. And what he does is they are based in the Congo, but they started selling solar panels outside the Congo, outside the developed world as a way to charge things for campers. I brought one with me here to Kenya to use in the Maasai Mara. My coworkers, I have this with me, it's a solar panel that is connected to four double A batteries that are rechargeable.
Outside of this, you can power something via USB.
This is, this runs about 120 U.S. dollars in the U.S. I want to try it out. I asked if we could borrow it for the trip. We plugged it into a 3G Internet connection using Safari com's network in the Maasai Mara. I've tied the thing down on the back of the van, much to the chagrin of all my coworkers in the truck. But we stuck the 3G dongle inside the back, and we used it all day long for about nine hours without ever having to recharge, because the batteries are being recharged and from the batteries it's charging this.
I was amazed that you could have these kinds of technologies that are sellable in developed countries, for campers and extremists and emergency situations, but that are bringing down the price points, and that now it's interesting in developing countries as well.
This is a hugely important technology, if we want people using cell phones and smart phones out in areas with sporadic electricity.
You know very well about electricity and fossil fuels. I want to comment quickly about work that we are doing. This is a key focus of OECD countries. We are focusing on the smart grid, and as you know, smart meters are extremely important. They allow us to reduce peak demand, and peak demand is very important because the most inefficient electricity production occurs at peak demand.
We try to get rid of that. Smart meters allow for an interaction between consumers and electricity producers, in a way that wasn't possible before. Let me show you one of the reasons this is important.
As you probably know, France receives about 70 percent of its electricity generation from nuclear. It's a very steady power supply. It can support the existing infrastructure, can support roughly one million electric cars. The push is to move towards electric vehicles. The current electricity supply can hold about a million electric cars.
We were at a meeting with our sister agency, the international energy agency, and someone mentioned that, yeah, this million cars works, unless it's cold outside.
That kind of shocked me. He said, it's because there is all this demand on electric heat. You can't charge the cars.
This shows a reason why we need smart grids in order to steady out the demand for electricity. We can use cars to pull in electricity when it's cheap and push out electricity when it's more expensive.
Just letting people know information about their energy consumption can lead to significant savings. This is a company based in the United States, and all they do is they monitor your electricity usage, and they send you a monthly report that just shows how you are consuming electricity compared to your neighbors.
What they found is by comparing you to your neighbors or people in a similar area, they were able to find electricity savings of between 1.5 and 3.5 percent just by providing the information. This has nothing to do with automatic control of utilities or anything.
This is just by letting people know. If you extrapolate out 1.5 to 3.5 percent annual savings, in the United States, that equates to 6 to 14 billion U.S. dollars per year.
There is huge potential for these technologies.
Another thing that the smart grid is extremely good for is improving the IT back end of systems, because there is a lot of electricity lost through transmission. It is estimated to be about 8 percent of production worldwide that is lost. But in individual countries it can be up to 15 percent. What the smart grid can do is look at where these losses are taking place so that we can fix them quickly.
Finally, another area where we are focusing on this semester is on green ICT skills and jobs. We are very interested, job creation in terms of the economic climate is extremely important across the world.
What we are looking at is what is the demand for green ICT jobs, and green ICT skills, because ICT skills in and of themselves are very important, but the green aspect is becoming increasingly important. What we find is that green jobs require immense, more education than normal.
So, this leads to role for governments to help push for education in green ICTs.
This just lists some of the work that we have done recently. We have a council recommendation which is our most important output at the OECD. You can see current work on smart grids and green jobs, and other things.
You can find all of this information about the OECD on our Web site, OECD.org/STI/ICTgreen-ICT. Thank you very much.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Thank you very much. Looking at the time, are we making progress?
>> Yes .
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Good. The next to take the floor is Madame Edith from IDRC. She will be followed by Mick Wilson, followed by James Kasigwa, and Mr. Mazzone and finally Dr. Jose. Thank you.
>> Thank you very much. Good afternoon, everybody. I'd like to thank ITU for inviting IDRC to this meeting. We really appreciate that.
My presentation will be fairly brief. I'll try and keep it brief. It will focus on what IDRC is doing in the integrating ICTs into climate change adaptation.
By way of background, for those who do not know IDRC, IDRC is a Canadian crown corporation; we are 40 plus years now. What that means is that we get our funding from the government of Canada. We are a Canadian corporation.
Our main focus is to support research in developing countries, so we work in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
And our main support is really to promote growth and development, and the idea is to bring choice and change to those who need it most.
We believe very strongly in local research for lasting solutions. So the kind of research we fund is that we have local researchers who take the lead in actually carrying out the research. So because they do understand their context, and they are able to address the solutions to the problems that they face.
So, we focus a lot on building research capacity, and the research findings are actually used to influence policy and practice. So we work both in terms of influencing policy and practices.
Within IDRC, probably before I go into climate change, IDRC worked in the ICT field for the 40 years we have been around. We have had significant contribution to the ICT sector, whenever we have worked. In terms of climate change, IDRC has two programmes in the field of climate change.
The programme that may be well-known to a couple of people is the climate change adaptation in Africa programme which has been running since 2005. We recently last year approved a second programme on climate change and water.
Those are the two programmes we have running.
The climate change adaptation in Africa programme comes to an end in 2012. It is a programme that we support together with DFID.
Areas of focus have been, our main focus has been in adaptation. Looking at various sectors, mostly water, the water sector, agriculture and health. A lot of the projects we funded in the field of climate change are in these sectors.
Recently, we have been supporting AfricaAdapt, which is a group that brings together people working in the climate change field, civil society, and other researchers, to share experiences in the field of climate change.
More recently, we have approved a project that is trying to link the research findings to policy. If you look at the discussions and the negotiations of climate change negotiations, you find that it lacks a lot of evidence. I think there is need for evidence to begin to inform some of the decisions and discussions that go on.
So that the idea of this network is to bring the evidence to actually speak and interact with the policymakers, so that that evidence can begin to inform the decisions that are being made.
I'd like to touch on two key initiatives, that we are doing, that we have been supporting in IDRC, in trying to integrate ICT into the climate change area. The first project is titled climate change innovation and ICTs. It is a project that is led by the University of Manchester, with funding from IDRC.
It started in 2009 and will be ending in 2012.
This is a project that really has been trying to look at a rigorous approach to addressing the issue of ICT in climate change field; in other words, asking ourselves, if we are talking about ICT playing a key role in the area of climate change adaptation, what other theoretical issues, what are the conceptual, what is the conceptual framework that would integrate ICT into addressing climate change? What are the kind of methodologies that one could use to then look at the effects that ICT has in supporting adaptation efforts?
It's really a very rigorous approach to integrating ICT into the climate change field. And from an academic perspective asking ourselves how do we do this, how do we build that evidence, how do we then develop that evidence.
This is a project that has a couple of achievements. One of the things the project has been able to do is a global scoping study on ICTs, climate change and development; what is going on, who is doing what in this field, who are the key players in this field, what research has been done in the area of ICTs and climate change.
There is a report out of that, which provides evidence of what they have found out. A second paper which is very crucial for those who are looking at empirical evidence, and the extent to which ICT can make a difference in this field, is a conceptual paper that has been put together, which is looking at ICTs and climate change adaptation. It's touching on e-resilience and e-adaption. It is work that is beginning to provide some theoretical and conceptual thinking in this field.
We really welcome people to critique the paper to provide and build on it. And we do hope that this will be a contribution to rigorous thinking in this field.
Two other things that we have done under this project, is that we have developed six thematic papers, and the thematic papers are looking at mitigation, adaptation, disaster risk reduction and a couple of other themes.
We have also, we also commissioned two case studies which were looking at innovative applications of ICTs and climate change. All these are available on the link that I've provided.
The other thing that the project has been able to do is to create awareness and has been very active in knowledge sharing. For example, we were recently at the ITU Telecom Italia green standards week, where a presentation was made on the work of this particular project.
Last year in London during the ICTD conference which was held in London, we did have an international workshop on ICT climate change and development which brought in the research community, civil society and also some Government representatives.
We have got a very active blog and also an online network, and the references are provided.
The second one that I want to talk about is on an exploration that we are carrying out. As I mentioned, last year IDRC approved the climate change and water programme. Within our institution, we have been trying to integrate ICT into our key programme areas. So this is our effort to integrate ICT into the climate change and water programme.
This programme basically looks at the water related impacts of climate change, and how best communities can address the water challenge. I think it was mentioned by Cristina earlier that if you look at the impacts of climate change, it's affecting the water sector the most. It's the sector that even today, we have over 2 billion people who really do not have access to potable water.
What we have done in this project is, we commissioned a number of activities. One of the activities we commissioned is to undertake a scoping study on innovative use of ICTs in addressing water related impacts of climate change. In other words, when you look at climate change, it affects various sectors. We have then narrowed down to the water sector, what innovative applications are being used in this sector.
The study covers Africa, Asia and Latin America. And the study basically looked at what is ongoing, also looked at what are the imagined research priorities, and to help develop a research agenda that then one could carry out further studies, to actually see the extent to which ICTs can address adaptation in the water sector. Those are interesting reports you may want to look at.
The second thing we did is have a call for case studies. This was a global call of innovative applications that are being used across the world.
We have put that together, and it's available for anyone who is looking for interesting case studies of how our technologies are being used, how those case studies could even be improved and possibly localized. The third thing that we did was an online survey of research priorities, because I think for us to tackle things in the climate change field, you really need to draw on evidence.
So we need to know what some of the priorities that we should be considering in terms of research support. I will be talking very briefly about some of the priorities that came out. Lastly, we had a stakeholder workshop which was held, actually the same time that you have the ITU symposium in Ghana. Unfortunately, we were not able to join you. This was bringing together experts from across the world. We brought in people who are in the technology field, we brought in environmental specialists. We brought in key policymakers as well. And we also brought in the civil society and the media. We also had a few media representatives to really look at the studies that we have commissioned, and also to then develop a research agenda going forward, what are the issues we should be looking at going forward.
As a result of this entire process, we had five thematic research priorities that emerged. This is specifically looking at the water sector. One is in the area of improving the management of water resources. I think as Cristina mentioned before, ITU has done work on smart water technology. So this is really looking at how can ICTs be used to improve the management and use of water, and what are then the impacts, once ICTs are being used to do so from a research perspective.
The second one thematic area would be strengthening community resilience. This is particularly looking at hydrochromatic information systems, early warning systems for communities, in cases where we have that, what are the outcomes and challenges that could be addressed. The third area which could be a thematic area of research is improved water governance.
Water is a resource that requires multistakeholder processes and decision-making, and equal distribution of the water.
ICTs can play a role in bringing stakeholders together, but there are a couple of research questions that one could ask: Does it create more equity, when it does help in that case? How do you address issues of power relations within such networks? And what are the impacts on men and women? And so on. There are a number of interesting research questions that one could ask.
The third -- the fourth area is building partnership networks and stakeholder collaboration. What role does it play, what are some of the outcomes? Finally a thematic area one could look at is knowledge sharing, which is awareness raising and also decision-making, decisions about systems, and how ICTs can play a role in that area.
In terms of the next steps, what we have made a decision to do given that we have a clearly, a fairly clear thematics that we could support, is that we have decided to provide research work for graduate students, looking at Masters and PhD students, and also make it available to technocrats working within ministries, is to undertake research in the area of water management, ICT for water management and changing climate. We will be dedicating about a million dollars, and it will be a global call for students who want to do research and begin to provide empirical evidence that can begin to inform some of the decisions that need to be taken.
The second thing that we are doing is we are coming up with a publication, based on what we had launched, all the case studies, including the research priorities, and the status in each country. We will also in this publication have a theoretical and conceptual chapter, which we hope will stimulate debate and will stimulate discussions, and allow other academics to begin to build this field into a rigorous field of study. So that's what we hope we can contribute as an institution.
With that, thank you very much for your attention.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Thank you very much. This IDRC has been the forefront of research into several areas. I'm happy that the issue of climate change has attracted this much attention. And with the offer of scholarships or the research awards, we are sure to get more contributions to the topic. Thank you very much.
Now, who do we have?
>> I have a comment. We are well beyond our scheduled time, right? Can you, with your protocols, can we have an algorithm of say five minutes or six months a presentation? Otherwise I think we will all be cranky and hungry.
>> ISSAH YAHAYA: Thank you for the intervention. Yes. I think we just have two more -- no, three presentations, and we will take note of the time at our disposal. If we give everybody, did you suggest five minutes? Because we also are going to make room for some questions, not at the expense of -- I would suggest we go along and allow for the five minutes, and if there is anything to follow up on, we can conduct that online, and then get the interested questions.
>> MICK WILSON: I do not have a presentation. I'm making two breaks with tradition here. I'm going to stand up and deliver because I'm sick of sitting down, and you are going to have to look at me.
What you can't measure, you can't manage. This is an aphorism out the