iWatch Africa marks 2020 Open Data Day in Ghana with focus on Climate Action

iWatch Africa, marked the 2020 Open Data Day last Saturday in Accra in collaboration with GOIF and with support from the Open Knowledge Foundation.

The 2020 Open Data Day forum focused on the theme: ‘Leveraging public domain satellite and drone imagery to track deforestation and water pollution in West Africa’

Over thirty people from various organisations in Accra participated in the event which took place at the Kofi Annan ICT Center in Accra.

Mr. Asante Sabrah of Linux Accra, and lecturer at GIMPA, was a guest speaker at the forum emphasized the importance of public domain satellite data in driving the conversation about climate change in West Africa.

Policy expert and co-founder of iWatch Africa, Mr. Henry Kyeremeh also delivered a presentation highlighting the negative effects of Climate Change on West Africa.

Mr. Kyeremeh stressed that, “the empirical evidence is quite strong on the impact climate change is having on developing countries especially in West Africa. Noticeable among are droughts, reduction in crop yields, unpredictable rainfall pattern which in many instances causes havoc etc.”

Using Lake Chad as a case study, Mr. Kyeremeh said: “the Chad River which has shrank by circa 90 percent since 1973 is a typical example of what climate change and water mismanagement is doing in West Africa.”

Henry Kyeremeh during his presentation

He called for innovative solutions and policy making to address this global threat.

“Without doing anything, the situation could be much dire and therefore, domestic and international policy making must respond to mitigating climate change impact by encouraging new technologies for adaption, increase resource allocation and increase research and innovation.”

Gideon Sarpong, Policy and News director of iWatch Africa also led a session on the day with focus on how the interactive satellite data platform managed by the Global Forest Watch could be used to track deforestation and afforestation in West Africa and aid in innovative media reportage.

iWatch Africa Gideon Sarpong, during his presentation

iWatch Africa also used the forum to officially join the World Economic Forum (WEF) 1 Trillion Tree Initiative to help nature and fight climate change.

iWatch Africa tree planting exercise

As part of our climate action, iWatch Africa will collaborate with several organisations including the WEF to plant 5000 trees in Ghana in the next five years.

Credit: iwatchafrica.org

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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a policy analyst and media practitioner with close to a decade of experience in policy, data and investigative journalism. Gideon is a co-founder of iWatch Africa. He is an author; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation, Commonwealth Youth Program ,Free Press Unlimited and Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative. Gideon is the founder of Sustainable Ocean Alliance Ghana. He was a 2021 Policy Leader Fellow at the European University Institute, School of Trans-national Governance in Florence, Italy and 2020/21 Open Internet For Democracy Leader. Gideon was also a 2022 Visiting Scholar/Reuters Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK and was selected as a 2022 TRF/Trust Conference Changemaker. He is currently the Africa Regional Cordinator for Environmental Justice Foundation and a 2023 Pulitzer ORN Fellow. Email: gideonsarpong@iwatchafrica.org.

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