The value of data in SIDS continues to accelerate, and SIDS’ agility, innovative thinking, and innate opportunities for development can be reinforced through investing in data and digital infrastructure to leverage and integrate this potential Strengthening data capacity and leveraging its qualities for future digital innovation, financial security, economic diversification, and data-driven policy can secure SIDS’ transformation and recovery from climate change. This process can be elevated by ensuring Data Availability, Literacy, and an infrastructure that prioritizes the sharing and value of data. As data is an unbiased equalizer across societies, its facilitation requires its own sustained pillars to fully utilize the “renewable oil” of the emerging digital economy. Open data, especially as a renewable resource, continues to catalyze the digital economy in SIDS, where open data policy and infrastructure play a critical role in overcoming the economic, technical, and legal barriers that prevent data from becoming more valuable and achieving economies of scale.
As geospatial data improve in resolution, accuracy, coverage, and access, it has become an increasingly central part of policymaking and the development agenda, further supported by the geospatial capabilities in the SIDS Data Platform. Supporting Marine Spatial Data Infrastructures (MSDIs) is necessary to empower this integration of geographic information systems into governance in SIDS. National MSDIs support the collection and use of a wide variety of data in SIDS related to bathymetry, geology, Blue Economy infrastructure, marine ecosystems, climate, and oceanography.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to grow in its breadth and applicability across the sectors of development in SIDS, and it is urgent that we develop systems to make sure the value provided by AI is equitable. Existing infrastructure and industries in SIDS can prepare for a transition towards automation in the workforce and look for opportunities to enhance ocean monitoring, climate response, and digital systems through the scalability and efficiency of AI, especially considering the classic challenges of scaling often faced by SIDS.
The success of data initiatives in SIDS have demonstrated that successful collaboration requires transparency and a commitment to shared objectives. SIDS’ vast geographic and socioeconomic issues may exacerbate data-driven evaluation issues like underrepresentation or maladaptation. To address this, SIDS' must continue conducting initiatives with participatory approaches to ensure equitable and inclusive benefits.
Data built on traditional knowledge of our oceans alongside new monitoring tools can build a stronger foundation for responding to natural disasters and accelerate the technological, policy, economic, and financial advances needed to modernize ocean-related sectors and diversify them long-term. As SIDS continue to push the forefront of integrating collective innovations and data in climate adaptation and mitigation, data becomes crucially influential to SIDS’ resilience and green recovery.
Read the full 2023 and Beyond SIDS Bulletin.