The BRICS Forum on Big Data for Sustainable Development was held successfully in the format of both online and offline from April 26-27, 2022. The forum was proposed by China in the speech of Chinese President XI Jinping at the 13th BRICS Summit entitled “Advance BRICS Cooperation to Meet Common Challenges Together” last year.
The two-day event, hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as the Indian National Science Academy, is organized by the International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals (CBAS) and the Aerospace Information Research Institute, CAS.
The subject of the forum is “Big Data for Sustainable Development”. It successfully highlights and raises awareness of the importance of big data for sustainable development, and provides an opportunity for all attendees to communicate and explore how to address common challenges to sustainable development through international cooperation in science, technology and innovation, especially based on big data. Over 600 delegates from 32 countries and 324 organizations registered for this Forum.
On 26th, representatives of the five BRICS Science Academies attended the opening ceremony in person or virtually and delivered opening remarks. Entrusted by CAS President HOU Jianguo, Prof. ZHANG Yaping, vice-president of CAS, attended the opening ceremony and delivered HOU’s opening remarks. HOU pointed out that this forum would provide an opportunity for the BRICS Academies joining hands to forge a technological “toolbox” addressing the risks and challenges, accumulate the “treasure” of digital development, build a “bridge” for the exchanges and communication of BRICS countries, as well as draw a “blueprint” for a community with a shared future for mankind.
Prof. Jonathan Jansen, President of the Academy of Science of South Africa, highlighted the significance of big data in local successful applications as well as non-government cooperation in multiple sectors in ensuring development.
Prof. Luiz Davidovich, President of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, addressed sustainability solutions and the significance of public awareness and participation.
Prof. Alexander Sergeev, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, mentioned that technological transformation had changed the entire ways in decision making mechanisms, and emphasized the importance of open approaches in developing technologies.
Prof. Narinder Kumar Mehra, Vice President of the Indian National Science Academy, emphasized the value of big data in answering health care challenges during the pandemic. He acknowledged excellent platforms to share success cases under BRICS scheme and also called for incorporating of big data in official statistics and collaboration on the development of data policies.
Opening Ceremony Group Photo (Online)
Opening Ceremony (Main Venue in Beijing, China)
Keynote presentations were delivered by Prof. GUO Huadong, Director General of CBAS and Prof. Arutyun I. Avetisyan, Deputy President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, with the titles of “Big Data in Facilitating Sustainable Development Goals” and “Sustainable Development Model for Big Data Technologies” respectively. Prof. GUO pointed out multiple challenges compounded by the pandemic, and called for closer ties through science, technology, and innovations to support the UN 2030 Agenda. Prof. Avetisyan called for a trusted system of big data with its core technologies open for scientists, industries and stakeholders over the world.
In this forum, CBAS released the Sustainable Development Data Products for BRICS Countries, which include the data products of SDGSAT-1 for BRICS countries, the global 30-m impervious-surface dynamic dataset in 2000-2020, the spatial distribution of core urban built-areas in major BRICS cities with population over 300,000 in 2000-2020, and the global 30-m spatial distribution of forest cover in 2020. These data products are expected to provide data support for BRICS countries to conduct researches on SDGs.
Invited remarks were given by Ambassador CHENG Jingye, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Beijing Office, Prof. Barend Mons, President of Committee on Data of International Science Council (CODATA), Dr. Barbara Ryan, Executive Director of World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC), Prof. Markku Tapio Kulmala, Academician of the Academy of Finland, and Dr. Monthip Sriratana, Director of Climate Change Research Strategies Center under the National Research Council of Thailand.
On the 27th, five parallel sessions with the themes of “Big Data in Support of Food Security and Poverty Alleviation”, “Big Data in Support of Digital Economy”, “Big Data in Support of Sustainable Urban Development”, “Big Data in Support of Climate Actions and Disaster Reduction” and “Big Data in Support of Biodiversity Conservation” were held online. 46 international scientists from relevant research institutions of BRICS and other countries and international organizations were invited to give presentations and discussed related topics.
The parallel session of “Big Data in Support of Food Security and Poverty Alleviation” was co-chaired by Prof. WU Bingfang and Prof. LIU Yansui. 10 international experts were invited to give relevant academic presentations, and to discuss the role of remote sensing for agricultural monitoring and the satellite agricultural information system research, etc. All attendees agreed on that BRICS countries needed to take joint actions to establish governance standards, enhance information management, strengthen agricultural monitoring, and promote the role of big data in food security assessment and poverty alleviation.
Parallel Session of “Big Data in Support of Food Security and Poverty Alleviation” (Online)
The parallel session of “Big Data in Support of Digital Economy” was co-chaired by Prof. GONG Ke and Prof. Virgilio Almeida. This session invited 7 international experts to give presentations. Attendees discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by BRICS countries with the largest emerging markets. They all agreed on that BRICS countries should strengthen cooperation and speed up digital transformation in order to initiate a new future for their development as well as world economic recovery. They also put forward the initiative of jointly building “Digital BRICS” through leveraging the powerful impetus of the digital scientific and technological revolution.
Parallel Session of “Big Data in Support of Digital Economy” (Online)
The parallel session of “Big Data in support of Sustainable Urban Development” was co-chaired by Prof. HUANG Chunlin and Dr. Aromar Revi. This session had 8 presentations. Attendees discussed the topics on population mobility, redistribution of urban spatial reserve, climate adaptive urban development, urban AI, etc.. They suggested that the SGDSAT-1 satellite should be used to carry out dynamic monitoring of shantytowns or slums, land expansion, urban public space or green space in BRICS countries, as well as multi-objective or indicator synergy and tradeoff studies for typical CITIES in BRICS countries.
Parallel Session of “Big Data in Support of Sustainable Urban Development” （Online）
The parallel session on “Big Data in support of Climate Actions and Disaster Reduction”was co-chaired by Prof. JIA Gensuo and Dr. Sara Venturini. 8 international experts were invited to deliver academic presentations. The topic covers satellite remote sensing, climate change, extreme climate and mountain disasters. Attendees believed that the big Earth data and cloud computing provided a new opportunity of low-cost efficient data sharing and strong support for climate action and disaster reduction for the BRICS countries and the other developing countries. In addition, the BRICS countries faced increased extreme weather and disaster risks, so that exchanging and sharing the experience of using big data on climate and disaster mitigation action would benefit all parties.
Parallel Session of “Big Data in Support of Climate Actions and and Disaster Reduction” (Online)
The parallel session of “Big Data in Support of Biodiversity Conservation” was co-chaired by Prof. MA Keping and Prof. Richard Thomas Corlett, and 6 academic presentations were invited to report. The topics of establishment of biodiversity big data, biodiversity conservation, and geo-biodiversity big data mining were discussed. The attendees pointed out that transnational cooperation and information exchange among BRICS countries were important approaches to promoting the “Convention on Biological Diversity” at the national level, implementing the priority conservation actions, and achieving global biodiversity conservation goals. Besides, monitoring the temporal and spatial dynamics of biodiversity and strengthening the analysis of the important driving factors threatening biodiversity loss are important means to reverse the curve of biodiversity loss as well.
Parallel Session of “Big Data in Support of Biodiversity Conservation” (Online)
The closing ceremony was held after the parallel sessions. Firstly, the co-chairs of each parallel session, Prof. WU Bingfang, Prof. GONG Ke, Prof. HUANG Chunlin, Dr. Sara Venturini and Prof. MA Keping, made a summary of their parallel sessions, respectively. Then, academician GUO Huadong, the chair of the Organizing Committee of the Forum made a concluding remark on the overall situation of the forum. Prof. ZHANG Yaping, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Prof. Helena Bonciani Nader, vice president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and Prof. Narinder Kumar Mehra, vice president of the Indian National Science Academy attended the closing ceremony online and delivered closing remarks.
In the concluding remark , Prof. GUO Huadong said that the forum started a good point of the communication and cooperation among BRICS countries in the field of sustainable development using big data and relevant technologies. In the opening remarks, the representatives of the five BRICS Science Academies agreed on that scientific and technical innovation is an important driven force for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and also put forward initiatives on using big data to promote social equity, multi-level cooperation, public awareness, and open-source technology and security. The five parallel sessions of the forum, which are “Big Data in Support of Food Security and Poverty Alleviation”, “Big Data in Support of Digital Economy”, “Big Data in Support of Sustainable Urban Development”, “Big Data in Support of Climate Actions and Disaster Reduction” and “Big Data in Support of Biodiversity Conservation", are committed to addressing social, economic and environmental development problems and strengthening the BRICS cooperation mechanism to promote the realization of the global sustainable development goals. The International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals has fully demonstrated its capabilities in interdisciplinary research and big data sharing and cooperation through this forum, and has played and will continue to play an increasingly important role in facilitating the realization of the global Sustainable Development Goals.
Group Photo at Closing Ceremony (Online)
The forum will leverage the scientific and technical advantages of all BRICS countries in big data, artificial intelligence and Earth observation to support collaborative cooperation in sustainable food production, urban development and governance, climate change and disaster response, biodiversity conservation, and digital economy. It is believed that through this forum the in-depth cooperation among BRICS countries in the field of big data supporting sustainable development and the high-quality realization of the SDGs will be vigorously promoted.
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