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Unlocking data for climate action: Harnessing momentum at COP28 to launch a joint learning network

3 mins read

As the negative impacts of climate change accelerate across the world, serious action is crucial now more than ever. To address these threats, climate-relevant data is critical, as it provides the information needed to understand – and adapt – to the effects of climate change, including altered weather patterns, rising tides, and worsening agricultural conditions. Yet, while this information exists, it is mostly inaccessible to the wider ecosystem, siloed across private companies, research organizations, or governing bodies. This is why trusted data-sharing measures are essential. By breaking data out of these silos, we promote collaboration and innovation and provide scientists, environmental organizations, and technological experts the information needed to design and implement effective climate response measures. 

Following our engagement at COP28, the Digital Impact Alliance has launched a new initiative in response to these pressing needs. Beginning in early 2024, our new joint learning network will explore the necessary technical and institutional conditions for trusted data exchange for climate response. By facilitating a partnership of diverse experts and decision-makers, this initiative will help build momentum, shape political will, and drive positive change beyond COP28 – and well into the future.  

Through these efforts, the joint learning network is bridging the environmental and data sectors in order to foster effective climate solutions.

As a global alliance, we aim to unite those who are already using data for climate action with those who – until now – have traditionally focused on refining governance models for data exchange more broadly. By bridging this gap, the initiative’s goal is to understand and document why the majority of climate-relevant datasets are not yet being used for response, adaptation, and mitigation measures. Equally as important, the initiative will provide an opportunity to foster innovative, sustainable solutions that enable cross-sectoral data exchange for climate action.

The joint learning network will bring together a coalition of civil society organizations, development actors, and technologists, with a diversity of knowledge, insight, and expertise. Over the course of 2024, the Digital Impact Alliance and its partners will hold four roundtable discussions, each focusing on a different aspect of data exchange for climate action. Topics will include those discussed at COP28, such as reducing data siloes, cultivating cross-sectoral partnerships, and testing new consent and safeguarding models. We commit to sharing our learnings with the broader community with a read-out at COP29.

Specifically, focus areas will include:

  1. Data Infrastructure. Innovative data infrastructure can enable climate relevant information to be unlocked and accessed by a greater diversity of actors in the ecosystem. Technical solutions could include cross-border data sharing protocols, unique identification for farm fields, and single registries for climate assets.
  2. Governance and ownership models. Rethinking existing models can help to democratize access to critical information, so that existing data can be used freely for climate action. Innovative ideas include data trusts and cooperative governance of SaaS, among others.
  3. Funding models. When funding models are both sustainable and inclusive, they allow greater access to data by low-resource communities, while also maintaining proper data quality, security, and portability. Such measures could include tiered pricing club goods models, fiduciaries, and ensuring communities the right to replicate their data infrastructure.

By coalescing a diverse group of actors, the joint learning network will use its unique convening power to create a framework for future collaboration and governance. These efforts are crucial to ensuring that existing datasets can be safely unlocked to contribute to the fight against climate change. We are seeking additional partners to join us in this endeavor. If your organization is interested in contributing to these discussions, please let us know.

Meet our partners.

With the disastrous effects of climate change becoming evident across the world, collaboration is critical. As we launch our Joint Learning Network, the Digital Impact Alliance is excited to welcome the following partners: