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Turning the spotlight on the 2016 Momentum for Change ICT Lighthouse Activities

GeSI Staff | October 14, 2016

On 29 September, the UNFCCC announced the winners of this year’s Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities awards. It was back in 2013 that GeSI first partnered with the UNFCCC on the initiative, which has since steadily grown to reach impressive results. 

This year, we saw a total of 475 applications received across the three programme pillars: “Women for Results”, “Financing for Climate friendly Investment” and, of course, “ICT Solutions”. The ICT pillar submissions keep growing since 2013, with a total of 110 projects this year. A slight majority (39%) of the eligible projects focused on mitigation activities, with adaptation projects covering 25% of the total, and the remainder being projects dedicated to both types of activities.  Five projects were selected as Lighthouse Activities for 2016.

The 2016 ICT pillar’s Lighthouse Activities

Connected Mangroves | Malaysia

Ericsson’s Connected Mangroves project, the first of its kind in the world, combines cloud, machine-to-machine and mobile broadband to help the local community in Selangor, Malaysia, to better manage the growth of new mangrove saplings. Volunteers plant mangrove saplings equipped with sensors that can monitor real-time information about soil and weather conditions, fires, water levels and intrusions, to support the mangrove growth and rehabilitation of eroded coastlines. Data is compiled and sent to a cloud system accessible to users (farmers, NGOs, analysts and authorities), supporting a better understanding of the real-time status of the saplings.

Mapping for Rights | Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Peru

MappingForRights is a ground-breaking project based in the Congo Basin and helping forest peoples to counter harmful extractive activities and advocate for legal reforms. An initiative of the Rainforest Foundation UK and its partner network, the project provides indigenous community leaders, decision-makers and NGOs in the region with easy access to accurate geographical information about forests. It enables communities to map and monitor their lands themselves through low-cost, transferable technologies; the data is made available to authorized users through an online interactive map. The forest monitoring system allows remote communities to capture and transmit real-time alerts on illegal logging and other forms of forest destruction.

SOLshare: Peer-to-Peer Smart Village Grids | Bangladesh

SOLshare has successfully piloted the world’s first ICT-enabled peer-to-peer electricity trading network for rural households with and without solar home systems in Shariatpur, Bangladesh. SOLshare combines solar home systems and centralized mini-grids to enable more rural households to access renewable electricity at a lower cost. The trading network interconnects households via a low-voltage DC grid and controls power flows through bi-directional metering integrated with an ICT backend handling payment, customer service and remote monitoring. Each SOLshare meter enables users to buy and sell renewable electricity from and to neighboring households, businesses, and rural industries.

Project Sunroof | United States of America

Last year, Google introduced Project Sunroof to enable tens of millions of potential solar customers from across the U.S. to google their own rooftops in order to find out if their home is suitable for solar panels. Project Sunroof works by using high-resolution aerial imagery from Google Earth to help calculate a roof solar energy potential. Potential customers enter their address and the program analyzes factors such as shade, roof orientation and local weather patterns, to calculate how many hours of sunlight hit that roof in a typical year. All of this information is combined to create an estimate of the household potential saving by going solar with a 20-year lease. Project Sunroof is enabling more rooftop solar installations, allowing individuals to save on their electricity bills while helping the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, by accelerating the growth of solar, Sunroof is helping solar installers expand more quickly, attracting more capital and thus enabling further growth.

Climate Right | Sweden

The Climate Right project in Uppsala, Sweden, makes it possible for people to measure and reduce their climate impact. Using a free app developed for the project, participants can track the climate impact deriving from their choice of food, mode of transport and way of living, thus encouraging them to adopt a climate-friendly lifestyle. The app collects a user’s consumption data, estimates their climate footprint in all relevant consumption areas, and presents the information on the user’s screen. The Climate Right project was launched in 2015 by Sweden’s largest grocery retailer, ICA, and one of the largest housing companies, Uppsalahem. It proved that increased awareness about day-to-day choices has a significant effect on individuals’ carbon footprints and can inspire people to live more sustainably.

A positive lesson for the future

The five ICT Lighthouse Activities will be showcased at dedicated sessions during COP22 in Marrakesh on November 16-17, together with the eight projects selected for the other two focus areas. The event will be an opportunity to demonstrate that an effective approach to climate change is possible. As UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa says, “The Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities underline how climate action and sustainable development is building at all levels of society from country-wide initiatives to ones in communities, by companies and within cities world-wide. By showcasing these remarkable examples of creativity and transformational change, along with the extraordinary people behind them, we can inspire everyone to be an accelerator towards the kind of future we all want and need.”

GeSI will be present at the ICT session in Marrakesh on Thursday 17 November. Keep an eye on our events page for more details!

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