The Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES) presented on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, the prototype of the technology it is developing called “Regional Resilience Data and Analytics Services (RDAS),” which is being supported by the World Bank under the CARE for South Asia Project.
91 participants from World Bank, UNESCAP, UNDP, UNEP, UNDRR, USAID, ADPC, British Embassy, and government, non-government, private and research/academic institutions from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Kenya, Yemen, Vietnam, United Kingdom, United States, Philippines, Thailand, Malta, and New Zealand participated in the event.
Ms. Naho Shibuya, Co-Task Team Lead of the World Bank for CARE Project, described RDAS as a “dynamic platform” contributing to “an enabling environment for climate resilient policies and investments” especially that “South Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate shocks”.
Ms. Shibuya underscored that “under the carbon-intensive scenario, more than 800 million South Asians are projected to live in climate change hotspots” and that “by 2030, economic losses to climate change are projected to average $160 million a year”.
She asked the participants to actively share their thoughts and feedback to fine-tune/fully develop RDAS, which is a demand-driven system, and make it more responsive in helping address the challenges associated with climate change.
Ms. Ruby Rose Policarpio, CARE Project Director, RIMES, welcomed the participants and introduced RDAS as part of the two-pronged approach of CARE for South Asia Project, where RIMES implements Component 1, where RDAS is part of; APDC is taking charge of Component 2.
Component 1, she said, “anchors on the promotion of evidence-based climate-smart decision making” and “brings forward evidences from past and present climate and their known correlations with, or influence on, sectoral elements or parameters for capacitating institutions to put in place measures geared to withstand, and/or adapt to, current and future climate”.
Dr. Itesh Dash, RDAS-DSS Lead of RIMES and Mr. Sanjil Shrestha, RDAS Data Visualization Expert of RIMES, took turns in demonstrating the RDAS.
Dr. Dash shared that RDAS’ “overall objective is to generate and provide better access to regional climate and thematic data and analytics for supporting climate-informed decision making”.
Dr. Dash further explained that RIMES integrated into RDAS data from various open sources (e.g. World Bank, remote sensing institutions, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Google Earth, among others) and undertook extensive and comprehensive analysis for evolving user-relevant information. Analyses have been undertaken for available data on climate and on agriculture, transport, and water sectors.
RDAS, Dr. Dash elaborated, “is a flexible and dynamic platform” where new data and analytics are integrated as they are available. RDAS is designed to be an easy-to-use tool, where differential users can either access directly data and use analytics to generate their required information, or ask relevant questions to prompt the system to guide the user to access the information he/she requires. An example is for an agricultural user to ask a climate adaptation question on agriculture, where RDAS then offers various options based on the area, crop, climate, soil type, pests and diseases.
According to Dr. Dash, “we are trying to bring data and information closer to end-users”, from raw data, to curated or processed data, to analytics; users can do their own analysis.
Mr. Shrestha, meanwhile, emphasized that “RDAS is a hub” where a user may “collect data, process data, show data” and it is providing mechanisms for users to explore data either in raw or curated/processed forms, explore analytics and use them for analysis and visualize data/generated information.
He stressed that RDAS is still in the prototype stage and there is substantial work to be done for its full development.
The fully-developed RDAS is targeted to provide a public-domain, cloud-based, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML)-enabled platform for consolidating open data and analytics relevant for climate-informing key sectoral policies, decisions and investments in the South Asia region countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
As a robust and sustainable platform, it will respond to changing data needs of regional and country stakeholders and host, curate, analyze and generate updated climate and thematic data/information. The RDAS will be linked to national DSSs, for seamless and dynamic integration of data/information.
A very engaging interaction followed and was moderated by Mr. Thanut Rittichai.