DBAR Workshop Held as Part of 2nd International Science Forum of Scientific Organisations on the BRI

On November 4 and 5, 2018, the First General Assembly of the Alliance of International Science Organisations (ANSO) in the Belt and Road Region & the Second International Science Forum of Scientific Organisations on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was held in Beijing. At the meeting, the Institutes of Aerospace Information held the DBAR Workshop with relevant units, which brought together more than 100 experts and scholars from 20-plus countries. 

The DBAR Workshop aims to discuss the role of Big Earth Data in serving the key areas of UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) such as environmental change monitoring and disaster risk reduction of the Belt and Road and to promote the collaborative application of Big Earth Data science and technology in the Belt and Road countries by building an academic exchange platform and sharing knowledge and experience so as to develop a cooperative network for boosting sustainable development with Big Earth Data. 

The meeting began in the afternoon of November 4, 2018. Academician GUOHuadong, chair of DBAR, and Dr. Natarajan Ishwaran, member of DBAR Science Committee, served as co-chair of the meeting. 12 well-known experts from international organizations and relevant research institutions at home and abroad gave academic reports on the themes of Big Earth Data for Environmental Sustainable Development, Sendai Disaster Reduction Framework Services and the BRI Construction, and Space Technology and Applications. 

Prof. Massimo Menenti of the Institutes of Aerospace Information and Research Fellow CHEN Fang and WU Bingfang of the Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science gave special presentations titled the Spatial Observation and Cognition of Land Water Cycle, Building Digital Belt and Road, and CropWatch Cloud Platform Supporting Agricultural Information Sharing in the BRI region, respectively. Prof. Pereira Roders, member of the International Council of the International Center on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage under the Auspices of UNESCO (HIST) affiliated to the Institutes of Aerospace Information, gave a report titled the World Heritage and Human Settlements. Experts analyzed the challenges faced by countries along the Belt and Road in the fields of environment, food security, water resources, and heritage protection. They believed that big Earth observation data and cloud-based data service platform, are key technologies for driving multiple disciplines, and could solve a range of problems caused by digital divide and urbanization in the BRI region. These experts suggested that countries along the Belt and Road further strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the field of Earth observation, establish the big data platform for Earth science, and realize data sharing and wide application. 

The meeting invited a number of experts including Prof. Manzoor Soomro, Chair of the Economic and Cooperative Organisation (ECO) Science Foundation, Prof. Gretchen Kalonji, dean of the School of Post-disaster Reconstruction and Management of Sichuan University and former assistant director-general of UNESCO, Prof. HANQunli, executive director of the Integrated Disaster Risk Research Program of the International Council for Science, Academician Cui Peng of the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and Prof. CUIShenghui, deputy director of the Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health of the CAS. They gave reports on disaster risk reduction in the BRI region. Experts analyzed the severe disaster risk challenges and vulnerabilities faced by the BRI region from the aspects of disaster risk and climate change impacts in ECO countries and regions, comprehensive education and research for disaster reduction, disaster reduction science and technology cooperation under Sendai Disaster Reduction Framework, disaster risk assessment in the BRI region, and flood risk research and decision-making in coastal cities. They called on experts and scholars from all over the world to respond to the ANSO’s call, set up a wider international cooperation network for disaster reduction, pay more attention to the cultivation and education of disaster reduction capability, and further deepen scientific and technological cooperation in disaster reduction under the DBAR framework to enhance the comprehensive disaster reduction capabilities of countries along the Belt and Road. 

In the Space Technology and Applications section, Prof. William Liu of CAS National Space Science Center introduced the International Meridian Project, analyzed the impacts of space weather and global changes on human beings, and the advantages and functions of large space environment land-based monitoring system in the fields of space environment monitoring, data, and communication, and research and forecasting. Research Fellow XU Ying of the Institutes of Aerospace Information briefed on Beidou Navigation System and its enhanced technology to delegates, and analyzed the development, technical advantages, and international cooperation plan under the BRI. Dr. Eugene Eremchenko, executive member of the ISDE, working in Moscow State University, was also invited to give a report titled the Digital Russia and the Sustainable Development of BRI. 

On the morning of November 5,  symposium on the DBAR for Sustainable Development was organized. Six experts discussed the challenges to  sustainable development in the BRI, the significance and role of Big Earth Data as a technology promotion mechanism in serving the goal of sustainable development, and the importance of international scientific and technological cooperation and exchanges to the construction of the BRI. Experts believed that science and technology have become the key support for the realization of the UN SDGs, while the BRI is facing a large number of sustainable development challenges such as changes in the ecological environment and increased disaster risks. As a new type of scientific and technological resources, the Big Earth Data, an important means to monitor the progress of SDGs of the BRI, can shorten the digital divide between developing and developed countries. DBAR serving as a hub linking countries and international organizations along the Belt and Road will provide a collaborative platform for the construction of the BRI and make new contributions to the attainment of UN SDGs. 

Dr. Flavia Schlegel, assistant director-general of UNESCO, and Prof. Romain Murenzi, executive director of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, also attended the meeting to hold discussions. As one of the seven workshops designated by the conference, the DBAR workshop achieved the expected results, with its results reported at the closing ceremony of the conference. 

The conference is a special symposium held under the framework of the CASEarth program and DBAR program. The Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment of the CAS and CAS National Space Science Center as co-organizers participated in the organization of the meeting.