Young people across South Asia request more knowledge on openness of data for SDGs and climate action

Open Access
Making better use of data – with approaches grounded in UN values and human rights – is integral to our future and services. Data must be open if they are to drive change.
Antonio Guterres United Nations Secretary-General

Within the same context, UNESCO and TERRE Policy Centre, an NGO with consultative status with UNESCO, joined hands to organize a series of webinars to engage universities in South Asian countries - Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka to create awareness about the importance of openness of data. The webinars were attended by nearly 1000 young people from the region who urged countries to put access to open data on top of the priority list in accelerating the implementation of SDGs and Climate Action.

Digital technologies have a special role to play to ensure openness for those who may not be literate. AI in the sphere of openness can be used not only for automated translation, but also for making audio files, simplification, simulation and predication simultaneously in several languages.
Rajendra Shende Chairman of TERRE and former Director of UNEP

The webinars  identified the need to do more awareness raising at universities, develop national and university-level policies on Open Access and to  create a dashboard for  universities in the region to  share good practices.  It is also essential to involve students in research efforts on the impact of open access data in addressing climate action.  The importance of using and sharing digital technologies like AI for open access was also highlighted. 

The webinars organized on January 17, 20  26,  2022 concluded with the announcement of upcoming publications under the Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN): An awareness booklet on Open Access, Baby steps for Carbon Neutrality and Guidelines for Universities to go carbon neutral.

TERRE Policy Centre is a non-profit, organization dedicated to sustainable solutions to developmental imperatives. TERRE also is the abbreviation for ‘Technology, Education, Research and Rehabilitation for the Environment’.

Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN) facilitates colleges and universities to mainstream the future policy-makers and policy-implementers in implementing the SDGs by promoting sharing of the information on transformative actions undertaken by students and faculties in the campus. It also encourages the deployment of digital technologies such as the Internet of Thing, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud-networking, Machine-to-machine learning and Block chain for optimum use of energy, water in campus and catalyse effective waste management, sustainable transport, air pollution and nature conservation within the campus. 

UNESCO’s work on Open Access is based on multi-stakeholder engagement and it is committed to strengthen Open Access. UNESCO collaborates with Member States, Civil Society Organizations, academia and the private sector to promote Open Access to information emanating from publicly funded research. This includes journal articles, conference papers, research algorithms and codes, as well as research datasets of various kinds.