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China launches research center to help UN meet sustainable development goals

Sep 07, 2021

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Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has launched a research center to use and share earth observation data to help the world meet the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter for the event, urging all sides to strengthen cooperation and contribute to the UN SDG 2030 and establish a community with a shared future for mankind.

The center helps China fulfill the promise made to the 75th session of the UN General Assembly last year.

Launching ceremony of International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals (CBAS) in Beijing, September 6, 2021. /CGTN

It will pool information from satellites, aircraft, drones, and ground arrays and sensors on issues like environmental commons, urban and rural-urban fringe development, food security, and energy decarbonization.

"We will establish monitoring and evaluation systems for these goals, and share collected data with relevant UN organizations and developing countries," said Guo Huadong, director of the newly established International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals (CBAS).

The UN has attached great importance to the collection and sharing of such data.

Inger Andersen, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Program, said that she is very pleased to see CAS is working together with others to bridge the data gaps for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to improve the effectiveness in using environmental data.

"Environment related data and indicators at all fingertips are critical so that we can understand which of our actions are improving the environment and which are deteriorating it further. Investing in big data for the environment, therefore, is not an option. It's an absolute necessity," she stressed.

International participants joined the launching ceremony of CBAS in person or online. /CGTN

Prof. Gretchen Kalonji, former assistant director-general for Natural Sciences at UNESCO praised that the center has an international vision.

"It will be contributing to a workforce worldwide that knows how to work across disciplinary boundaries, and to work across the national boundaries to come with some solutions for our common problems that we all face," she said.

CBAS' Director Guo Huadong told CGTN that Chinese researchers have vowed to overcome challenges like lack of data, insufficient research, and uneven progress in implementation.

"As long as human beings exist, we always face the challenge of how to maintain sustainable development. And applying big data to understand and to promote research on the subject is our eternal task," he said.

The research center says that they will provide critical support in the form of knowledge, expertise, and technical means and this is to help achieve a balanced and sustainable development in step with the UN goals.

Source: CGTN