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Data Drought in Global South – Global Issue


  • Feedback By Hamid Mehmood (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
  • Inter Press Service

Globally, companies are going through changes, including the use of digital technology to create new or revised processes, cultures and customer experiences to meet changing business and market expectations.

The Covid epidemic has accelerated the company’s digital transformation and by 2022 approximately 0% of the world’s gross domestic product will go through digitization, the result of an estimated tr 8. tr trillion investment. This indicative growth in big data availability is driving disruptive technologies using artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and cloud computing, which significantly changes how consumers, industries, or businesses operate. Data-fueled artificial intelligence applications alone are expected to generate about ১ 1 trillion in additional economic activity by 2030. Because of this price-generating capacity, the data is considered “new oil”. However, the trend of the last decade shows that, like oil, hot spots for creating and creating values ​​from data are located in a select few countries. We are witnessing the creation of a data-poor global south that cannot utilize financial benefits or data to address challenges such as widespread forest fires, water shortages, floods, droughts and other manifestations of a changing climate. It is worrying that, despite the much-discussed explosion in data creation, there is a lack of high quality data that is important for global, regional and national development. Major gaps are opening up between data hashes and have-knots. Unfortunately, most of the countries facing challenges such as water scarcity, access to clean water, risk of floods and droughts are included, which requires the creation and processing of quality data to generate effective information and knowledge. Today the Global Southwater Data Collection focuses on individual development projects, patchwork of data sets in a short period of time, limited spatial coverage and limited availability. This fall is most evident in Africa, where the density of water-data collection networks is declining over time and falling far below World Meteorological Organization guidelines. Most of the new stations established in the last two decades to report to WMO’s Global Runoff Data Center are located in “new oil” rich countries. According to the WMO database, gauge stations in North America are 10-1 higher than in 20 water-stressed countries. Similar data disparities exist for water quality and water-related disasters.

Over the past decade, remote sensing data with cloud computing has shown promise to address water-data disparities in the Global South and has been successfully used to monitor various parameters of surface water over a period of time. However, the lack of searchable ground truth observations to verify satellite observations is a major challenge, making it largely inappropriate to use remote sensing data as part of a water-related decision support system. Also, remote sensing data failed to accurately measure parameters such as rainfall and river flow where data gaps are most prominent in the Global South. In addition to the lack of water data calls, efforts to create uncontrolled and unregulated data in the Global South are leading to the creation of data waste, where more than 80% of data is disorganized and random.

Converting this infrastructure data into actionable information is costly; Clearing and deduplicating a record can cost as much as 10. This poor quality and rare information also affects AI and blockchain adoption, essentially providing these technologies to the Global South from economic activity, social and climate change mitigation facilities. Given the severity and increasing frequency of water-related challenges, addressing information-inequality issues is essential to achieving water-related sustainable development goals in this decade. The solution includes the Global North Leadership to share their data and information-related technologies with the Global South in the New World Data Order to create quality and operational data on a global and national scale. Global North needs to commit to increasing water science capabilities through operations monitoring, data rescue and updating, and training of water scientists. Given the international nature of emerging water resources issues, the commitment and support of the entire world community is needed to reverse the ongoing decline of critical water data sets.

Hamid Mehmood Hydro-Informatics and Information Technology, a senior researcher at UN University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health, supported by the Government of Canada and hosted at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. The Institute celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service





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