Digital in the spotlight on World Oceans Day

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As the environment takes center stage today on World Oceans Day, digital technology is increasingly seen as a key factor in protecting the environment.

Off the coast of Mauritius, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Huawei and Ecomode Society have deployed the first underwater system in the western Indian Ocean capable of real-time monitoring of coral reef ecosystems.

The goal of the project is to restore highly threatened coral reef ecosystems by growing live corals in nurseries, transplanting them, and monitoring growth, water conditions, and threats such as algae. The solution includes underwater cameras with special lenses, sensors, a 4G network to transport the data and an AI to interpret the results. To date, nearly 10,000 coral fragments have been transplanted to degraded reefs, with a total of 25,000 expected by the end of 2022.

“The IUCN-Huawei partnership’s Tech4Nature project is a good example of an innovative project between the conservation and ICT sectors to realize the transformative potential of the appropriate use of digital technology for impact on nature conservation through area.” said Stewart Maginnis, Deputy Director General – Programme, IUCN.

IUCN positions the combination of “Technology, data and innovation” as essential to achieve the ambitious objectives of the IUCN Nature 2030 programme.

The organization also believes that innovations in data sensing, big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence can significantly improve knowledge and insights into impact domains such as land, water, the oceans and the climate. This, in turn, will help stakeholders design better-informed conservation actions and monitoring systems for species and ecosystems.

Also at the summit, environmental experts and advocates from the environment and science sectors, including Ecomode Society, WWF Italy, Berlevåg jeger og fiskeforening, Shan Shui Nature Conservation Center and Huawei Digital Energy Product Line, shared their ideas and their global practices on climate change and the conservation of natural resources.

IUCN and Huawei recently hosted the Tech for a Better Planet online summit to demonstrate how technology can dramatically improve nature conservation outcomes.

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