October 19, 2018

CNES hosts Special Session of the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment

CNES, in partnership with the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD France) and the French Alliance for Environmental Research (AllEnvi), is hosting the Special Session of the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment on 18 and 19 October at the agency’s Head Office in Paris. The objective of this special session is to start an international working group tasked with shaping and helping to establish a multi-stakeholder digital platform supported by the United Nations designed to address global change issues. Based on achieving convergence between global Earth-observation data (from satellite data and in-situ observations to the Internet of Things (IoT)), big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), this platform aims to bring a new dimension to access to information on the status of the environment for decision-makers and citizens alike. It will propose solutions for implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The special session of the forum in Paris is bringing together representatives of governments, UN agencies, the world’s leading space agencies, the finance sector and research institutions, as well as leading AI proponents, start-ups and the presidency of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). Special attention has been paid to the participation of stakeholders from developing nations. The session’s aims are to:
-    Define the potential concrete benefits of converging AI, big data and Earth-observation assets to achieve integrated management of the environment
-    Propose an international cooperation framework at UN level in these areas, encompassing governance, fairness and ethics issues
-    Reinvent funding models
-    Work to set up and fund a pilot project using AI technologies and the Space Climate Observatory (SCO).

The results of this session will inform the UN World Data Forum 2018 to be held in Dubai from 22-24 October, the UN World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) in China from 19-21 November, the panel of international UN experts tasked with drawing up the first Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR, New York, September 2019), and the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi on 11 March 2019. French research players, particularly CNES and IRD, are closely involved with all of these events through the development of the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), an initiative being driven by France. The SCO, one of the projects to come out of the One Planet Summit, is an international observatory leveraging satellite data to understand and measure the impacts of climate change. Its goal is to pool and standardize climate data from climate-monitoring satellites and make them easily accessible to the international scientific community and beyond. CNES is leading efforts to set up an international charter with space agencies and other organizations ready to contribute to the SCO, the aim being to pool resources and expertise to create a data hub able to deliver high-quality, verified information to all.

Pascale Bresson    CNES Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39    pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Raphaël Sart    CNES Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51    raphael.sart@cnes.fr