Thank you for all of your contributions and thoughtful comments to this specific consultation forum on the draft CODES flagship report. The moderation of this specific forum page was finalized on June 30 2021, and this thread was closed accordingly. All of your inputs are taken note of. Based on inputs, the CODES Co-champions are compiling an Action Plan, which will be brought back to the stakeholders for comments by early 2022 through a new forum.


The UN General Assembly is going to have an historic thematic debate on Digital Cooperation and Connectivity on 27 April. It will include a dedicated segment on greening our digital future.

More information is available here.

What is the signal most important issue that you would want to raise at this debate concerning environmental sustainability and digital transformation ?


Comments (6)

Régia Estevam Alves
Régia Estevam Alves

I'm sorry Mr. David Jensen, but I have more questions than answers.

1 - How to transform this digital age with all the global wealth concentrated in the hands of only 1% of the world population?
2 - How to achieve digital equality for the entire world population, if there are still people dying of hunger?
3 - How to achieve environmental sustainability through digital transformation if we still have environmental refugees?
4 - How to achieve digital environmental sustainability if we still have populations without access to drinking water;
5 - How to achieve environmental sustainability if small farmers do not have access to technologies that can help to solve the problems of drought in arid climatic regions?
6 - How to achieve digital environmental sustainability with millions of illiterates who can't even write their own names?




james castillo
james castillo

Great questions Régia. I was listening to David's interview on the podcast that he posted. He talked about how the old ways (the top-down government approach has not worked, the bottom-up grassroots approach has not worked either) and they also talked about a third approach which also has not worked. David said that all sectors and approaches need to be utilized. I think the digital world can play a role in connecting a lot of the dots. They also talked about this in the podcast. He said that a lot of initiatives at UNEP are siloed. I think that a lot of people are doing amazing things but they are not connected and thus the impact is not that big. if we can somehow start connecting the dots more things might change. Soil for example. I mentioned that I'm interested in soil health. I'm developing a film called Salt of the Earth. I realized the best way to convert farmers is to show not tell. Like the book Soil Revolution, the farmers are seeing the benefits of no til. Your expertise in soil can play a big role. Like what I mentioned in my earlier post, we need to create a vision that people can feel inspired to act. The urban poor refugees that I talked to, I told my colleagues that we should involve the college students in helping define and realize a super local vision that will benefit the poor themselves. Using the collective power of the poor to change their own ideas of themselves. I got this idea from reading the Grapes of Wrath when the farmers started forming their own rules and implementing it themselves when the police were not able to mess with them anymore inside the government camps. it doesn't matter who will make a difference, big CEOs or government or grassroots, we all need to start coming together and find our place in that big vision. We need the coalition to start spreading stories of small people making a difference. I think if the poor can empower themselves, then the rest of us can. I know there are inspiring stories and solutions all over the world. Westerners tend to think as individuals and come up with solutions that target the individual. Filipinos like myself come from a collective culture. We tend to think as a collective. We need both paradigms to cover the north and the south. What will help us if we can identify resources we can use like land that can be converted into demonstration farms. We can make demonstration projects for different things like the points you raise in your post like literacy and water and food. like what they like to say in Hollywood, show don't tell. I think the CODES coalition needs to show what has been done, what is currently being done, and what can be done, since the UNEP along with the other agencies and governments like in Germany, have a lot of experience in sustainability. We just have a problem talking to each other. I think the digital transformation can be like a universal language of 1s and 0s that allow all of us to talk together and share stories and inspire small and big projects that can inspire the poor who are usually left out in the digital world.

Régia Estevam Alves
Régia Estevam Alves

James Castillo, for your comment. I'm going to follow Mr. David's podcast. I agree that no strategy has worked so far in terms of reaching the igualitary society. That is why I advocate that no one be left behind in this process. I find this format of discussion group interesting, involving professionals from various areas of knowledge and degree of study. I watched a video of you about poor residents of a neighborhood, but now I don't remember the title of that video. Anyway, I found your video interesting and maybe following this model of approaching different themes that involves today's society is an interesting path for you. It will be a way for you to draw the attention of society to the necessary transformation. I agree that there are many people developing incredible projects, but in an isolated way. 

Currently, after completing my doctorate, I am working on the university humanitarian project YouthMappers, founded by four American universities. I'll leave the link here in case anyone wants to know this project:
 I act as a regional ambassador for Brazil, but I also collaborate with the activities of groups in this project in other countries in Latin America. The idea of ​​this project is to develop open geospatial data for local communities, to facilitate the actions of humanitarian institutions that need to bring aid to vulnerable populations, in addition to helping to train young leaders who can help to build a more just and conscientious society. All this through collaborative mapping, where university students in different parts of the world are mapping roads, streets, highways, houses, commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, agricultural areas, areas of natural preservation, areas at risk of flooding, areas at risk of landslides, areas with cultural heritage, mobility, green areas in cities, issues related to COVID-19 and many other related topics. 

On environmental issues, I am looking for help to develop two projects:
1- Mapping desertification areas in the semiarid region of Brazil and comparing them with land degradation areas in the Midwest region of Brazil.
2 - Development of a global digital platform on agricultural climate and production data. It would be something that anybody could enter data in and also benefit from.
As you know, Brazil is currently going through an obscure phase in science, politics and other topics, but I don't want to get into a political discussion here. However, I am willing to help in whatever is necessary to build a more just world.Mr. James, do you know the HUMAN documentary series? Anyway, I will leave the links here, that will help some people to have good ideas.

Vol. 1

Vol. 2

Vol. 3



Régia Estevam Alves
Régia Estevam Alves

Mr. David Jensen, I got to know the MapX tool that you developed.

I have a project to create a similar platform, but focused on crossing agricultural and climatic data. Where could I get help to develop this project?

james castillo
james castillo

Some thoughts that I came up with recently. Farmville was very successful for a time but eventually, people got bored because the whole idea was just a game. What if we created a similar simulated virtual world but this time, it has a connection to the real world. It will be like a smart city/smart town/smart community idea that connects to a virtual simulation that has a real-time connection to smart sensors. 

This will not just be for rich/middle-class folks from developed nations. It will connect to developing countries as well where there will be brokers/gatekeepers/advocates that facilitate the connection between the virtual simulation and the real people on the ground that manages the sensors and smart infrastructure.

Professor Muhammad Yunus (Banker for the Poor, Creating a World Without Poverty, the World with 3 Zeros and Building Social Business) wrote about an idea of a stock market for social business/social enterprise/benefit corporations. A virtual simulation that connects to this social enterprise stock market can help make this virtual simulation connected to the real world become relevant. 

Jeremy Rifkin in his books (3rd Industrial Revolution/Green New Deal) talks about redesigning our communities. Permaculture folks also talks about redesigning our communities. A virtual simulation connected to the real world can make this possible.

I think we have enough tools/technology/insight/experience to make this happen. We need to make this happen. With Elon Musk's StarLink, we can connect to the smart sensors. We can also utilize current telecom infrastructure since the internet doesn't really care how the smart sensors connect, they just need to be online somehow.

This simulated world can also make it easy for anyone to participate in greening our world. There is so much talent in the world and if we can connect the dots, we can make so much progress in achieving the SDGs.

We need to define a model that everyone follows. Like the OSI model, it standardized how manufacturers, engineers, and coders made things. We can create a model that is simple enough for universal adoption. The OSI model has 7 layers. It makes modularization easy so anyone can just focus on a particular layer without really focusing on the other layers.

Maybe we can call it the CODES model. Similar to the OSI model where it starts at the Application layer (virtual) it goes through several layers until it reaches the physical layer (real stuff).

This model can be used for micro-level enterprises where an urban poor community can participate. But can also apply to massive enterprises that use massive amounts of capital.

This model should be flexible enough to accommodate both open source and proprietary. It should be flexible enough to work with open western democracies as well as closed collective-based societies.

Like permaculture, we should include ethics in this model. Permaculture has Earth Care, People Care and Return of Surplus. We should use something simple also. The defined ethics will be the guiding principle behind the model.

We should not try to force some societies to adopt western democracy because that will not work. the model should be open enough to accommodate a particular society/nation's dynamics.


Frédéric Donck
Frédéric Donck

Dear David, thanks a lot for creating this discussion, it is very encouraging to see a sustainable digital future has been prioritized and included in such high level discussion. From what I saw from the previous discussions this community is perfectly capable of responding to so many of the issues included in the guiding questions on the agenda and the invitation. The big question here is how to manage to collaborate in an impactful way and complement each other to accelerate and bridge digital and green transformation. On top of this internal collaboration, the much needed external collaboration can only be achieved via a true multistakeholder model. Considering the recent debates around the IGF, particularly regarding the trend to move from multistakeholderism towards inclusive multilateralism, it is extremely important to ensure that true and meaningful multistakeholder efforts are not compromised. It was good to hear that today’s Digital Discovery Session at least partially addressed these points as well.

On a more specific note, coming from an NGO focusing on reducing the environmental impact of digital services, the most relevant issue for our day to day work included in the agenda is the potential rebound effect of digitalization. Again, true multistakeholder efforts are critical to data and experience sharing and develop consensus based and concrete solutions that would be implemented by all the parties involved. We need to make sure to have a green mindset to address how digital technologies and services are financed, developed, designed, offered and deployed, and to create a virtuous cycle incentivizing all key actors. Once this mindset is incorporated into the technologies, we hopefully will have digital technologies that are “green by design”, an ideal to achieve our goals towards sustainable digital transformation. Of course in a world where fear politics is quite common, it is crucial to address this issue properly and make sure not to disincentivize innovation and digitalization, and to adopt a positive tone in our awareness raising, capacity building and consensus building efforts. Digitalization and innovation are key enablers for achieving many other objectives and SDGs, including bridging the digital divide and even in most dire situations it is necessary to set a positive tone and remain hopeful.

Looking forward for the thematic debate next week and all the best!

Frédéric Donck