On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme

This blogpost is a report by Gideon Sarpong from iWatch Africa in Ghana who received funding from Datopian to host a forum to leverage the power of public domain satellite and drone imagery to track deforestation and water pollution in West Africa.

iWatch Africa in Ghana celebrates Open Data Day 2020

iWatch Africa marked the 2020 Open Data Day in Accra in collaboration with GOIF and with support from the Open Knowledge Foundation.

The 2020 Open Data Day forum focused on the theme: ‘Leveraging public domain satellite and drone imagery to track deforestation and water pollution in West Africa’.

Over thirty people from various organisations in Accra participated in the event which took place at the Kofi Annan ICT Center in Accra.

Mr. Asante Sabrah of Linux Accra, and lecturer at GIMPA, was a guest speaker at the forum emphasised the importance of public domain satellite data in driving the conversation about climate change in West Africa.

Policy expert and co-founder of iWatch Africa, Mr. Henry Kyeremeh also delivered a presentation highlighting the negative effects of Climate Change on West Africa.

Mr. Kyeremeh stressed that, “the empirical evidence is quite strong on the impact climate change is having on developing countries especially in West Africa. Noticeable among are droughts, reduction in crop yields, unpredictable rainfall pattern which in many instances causes havoc etc.”

Using Lake Chad as a case study, Mr. Kyeremeh said: “The Chad River which has shrank by circa 90 percent since 1973 is a typical example of what climate change and water mismanagement is doing in West Africa.”

He called for innovative solutions and policy making to address this global threat.

“Without doing anything, the situation could be much dire and therefore, domestic and international policy making must respond to mitigating climate change impact by encouraging new technologies for adaption, increase resource allocation and increase research and innovation.”

Gideon Sarpong, policy and news director of iWatch Africa, also lead a session on the day with focus on how the interactive satellite data platform managed by the Global Forest Watch could be used to track deforestation and afforestation in West Africa and aid in innovative media reportage.

iWatch Africa also used the forum to officially join the World Economic Forum (WEF) One Trillion Trees Initiative to help nature and fight climate change.

As part of our climate action, iWatch Africa will collaborate with several organisations including the WEF to plant 5,000 trees in Ghana in the next five years.

• This post was originally published on iwatchafrica.org

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Open Data Day is the annual global celebration of open data. Each year, groups from around the world organise local events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society.

Email opendataday@okfn.org to contact the Open Data Day team.