Notes of IT for Climate-Smart Development

Notes of the Global ICT Department event IT for Climate-Smart Development: “Not Your Grandfather’s Bank” at the Social Development Forum on January 20.


We don’t have solutions for climate change and as there are very many stakeholders it is hard to agree on a solution

Global ICT department addresses this issue from the policy angle, but there have to be business models for private investments as well


Frank Rijsberman, Director Program of

Managing climate risk in the cloud

“Innovating for good” – 1% equity spent to innovation

Climate change is impacting people in poor countries

  • Sea level rise in Holland and Bangladesh is the same
  • But Bangladesh is impacted quite more

Information scarcity increases climate change vulnerability

  • acquiring information
  • disseminating information
  • enabling

Examples where is involved:

Earth Engine is a Google Maps mashup avoiding deforestation

  • Trying now to foster community surveillance of deforestation as well

Climate & Environment is a good warning system for epidemics

Reporting water outages with SMS feedback

Optimizing dams to fit people’s, environment’s needs

Google crisis responses – Map Maker for disaster relief

World Bank Development Indicators in Google Search


  • Climate Adaptation is at the coreof poverty alleviation
  • Information scarcity is the key challenge

Q & A:

What can be done – what can the bank do – to implement these instruments at scale

  • It’s important to spread things so a lot of people have access to them

Is there a way by providing information at the public domain to foster the usage of the data?

  • By make things just available, people will just use them and create great applications


Jatin Singh, CEO SkyMet (India)

SkyMet – providing weather forecast notifications via SMS

  • farmers can align their actions to expected weather
  • can serve as input to decision support system
  • climate forecast up to 15 days

Q & A:

What is the business model with the farmers?

  • Nokia has started Nokia live tools – with SkyMet
  • The channel through which we expect most success is television
  • Short term adaptation of farmers to the weather circumstances


Monique Meche, Director, Environment Policy and Sustainability, Cisco Systems

Trying to reduce their own carbon footprint by 25% by 2012

ICTs can help reducing emissions

  • if it’s connected to the internet, it can be greener
  • managing applications and devices
  • Managing traffic flows – congestions cause a lot of pollution

SMART 2020 report

  • ICT contributes 2-3% of emissions to world pollution
  • ICT can reduce global emissions by 15% by 2020

CISCO is focused on cities

  • account for half the worlds population and growing
  • cities use 75% of the worlds energy
  • 80% of the world’s emission
  • good opportunities for best practice & knowledge transfer
  • Connected Urban Development program – working with 7 cities, embedding ICT in urban planning
  • Planetary Skin – model, predict, report back environmental sitiuation
  • Cisco Networking Academy – largest eLearning program in the world, focused on developing countries

ICT enables sustainable cities and communities and has a large role in reducing pollution

Q & A:

Urbanization is a major development challenge – but all cities in your program are first world cities. What are your plans – how can you reach to cities in developing countries?

  • One reason was a good broadband network
  • Richer cities should teach the poorer ones
  • We will expand our program soon

What is you commercial interest in this support?

  • No danger of vendor-lock in because other players are involved as well
  • ICTs are supported but it doesn’t have to be Cisco

What’s the role of the World Bank?

  • World Bank can sponsor cities, share best practices and experience


Ann, E+Co

Small non profit company

Working towards poverty alleviation

Provide services and capital to clean enterprises in the developing world

75% of staff are working in developing countries

We provide help for companies

  • Business plan support – trainings
  • Capital for start-ups
  • Only for entrepreneurs which have a clean energy vision

The combination of services and capital is very beneficial

Quite low tech – but in these countries high tech is not the highest priority

Working with the IFC – managing their funds

Q & A:

Where do you see your company in 15 years?

  • Model won’t have changed too much – to secure financial support for good ideas
  • The demand will still be there, these markets have been with out this kind of support for a long time

Have you considered working with mainstream finance institutions?

  • We will do energy financing workshops for financial institutions, we want to see them more involved


Questions from the floor:

Does Google support legal enabling environment for having access to information?

  • It is very hard to get information – which the tax payer actually already payed for
  • We need the data which was already collected by so many organizations
  • Working with the government directly is harder than directly working with communities or cities

Advice to governments to secure access to information?

  • Providing information is a good way to foster senseful usage of information

Advocacy attempts to encourage open information access?

  • Working directly with cities makes it easier to get access to the needed information

What is done in providing information on renewable energy to governments?

  • Technology can help to make better use of information which is already there

How can we act together to break the culture of non-sharing information outside the own entity?

  • Companies like Google don’t have the patience to wait for cultural change in governments – so Google often just buys data from other companies
  • In Developing countries this is different, more work with UN or national governments – trading against Googles own data
  • It’s hard to change the attitude of governments quickly

How to close the digital divide which is a prerequisite for good ICT services?

  • Governments across Africa invest a lot of money in ICTs – integrating ICTs as high priority

What are you doing to reach and prepare the less connected rural areas for climate change? Is there a role for Google, Cisco?

  • Less connected for Laptops doesn’t mean less connected via mobile phones


Summary – 3 observations

ICTs have a critical role to play in addressing climate change

We need to explore new kinds of partnerships with the private sector and NGOs

The World Bank should make sure that data is available in a usable way

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Notes of IT for Climate-Smart Development
was published on 20.01.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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