May 18, 2021

Tech4Nature: Protecting the Planet in Partnership with IUCN

Huawei has launched the Tech4Nature partnership
with The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s largest
conservation network. We aim to use the latest technologies to
ramp up nature conservation globally. The three-year partnership will pilot cutting-edge digital technologies in conservation
in five countries and provide knowledge, technology, and resources for more
than 300 protected areas worldwide.

IUCN
is the world’s standard-setter and think-tank for nature conservation. The IUCN
Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas
offers a framework for the Tech4Nature
partnership. It can guide equity and effectiveness in management and offer
certification for areas that meet and maintain the criteria for success. As it
is independently assured and verified by accredited IUCN experts, the IUCN
Green List offers the perfect frame for us to do what we can to support committed
nature conservation professionals.

IUCN’s Green List evaluation system will benefit from more advanced digital applications, allowing for the better use of technology to help identify and understand conservation needs, and allow for the remote assessment, review and evaluation of participating nature conservation areas.

“Technology can help better
understand and conserve nature. This is the idea of ‘Tech4Nature’ that we share
with IUCN. ICT can be applied to monitor and analyze habitats and biodiversity,
improve operational efficiency, better connect the stakeholders of nature
conservation,” says Kevin
Zhang
, the Huawei CMO of ICT Infrastructure. “We will work closely with
IUCN and use technology to improve the effectiveness of nature conservation.”

In
promoting Tech4Nature, Huawei TECH4ALL and IUCN identified flagship protected
areas to help pilot the use of ICT for nature conservation. These areas
include:

  • Khao Yai National Park in Thailand, in partnership with the Thai Department of National Parks and Huawei Thailand office
  • The Northeast China Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park, led by Beijing Normal University in partnership with IUCN China

Read more: The Return of the Big Cats

Efforts are already underway to protect Amur tigers and Amur leopards in the The Northeast China Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park
  • Cousin Island Special Reserve, in Seychelles, led by Nature Seychelles
  • Parc Naziunal Svizzer, Switzerland, in collaboration with the Porini Foundation
  • Southeast coast of Mauritius in locally-managed coral reef restoration areas, led by EcoMode, the University of Mauritius, and Huawei’s Mauritius office.

At the virtual launch meeting, the partners came together to discuss overall tech priorities and a work plan for 2021 based. Each of these flagship sites will begin identifying tech solutions to maximize conservation performance.

For example, in Khao Yai the team is exploring the use of remote observation technologies to support early-warning detection in local communities for elephant detection, to avoid crop damage and harmful interactions with local people and these large mammals.

Khao Yai Elephants

In
Mauritius, underwater image-capture will help EcoMode and the University of
Mauritius implement detailed observation and monitoring of coral reef
restoration, where an ambitious target of 50,000 coral fragments will be
regrown, and a whole stretch of reef rehabilitated in an area at risk from the
recent oil spill disaster.

Contrasting pictures of thriving and barren areas of coral reef in the Indian Ocean off Mauritius

In
Switzerland, Porini Foundation will work with the Parc and local partners on AI
for image analysis, a new kinetic (motion-powered) wildlife tracking collar,
and on using Distributed Ledger Technology (similar to blockchain) to support
site evaluation for climate contributions, aligned to the Green List standard
and verification process.

In
each case the Tech4Nature activities will help partner sites to advance towards
Green List certification.  For Parc
Naziunal Svizzer and Cousin Island Special Reserve, it is expected that full
evaluation will convey Green List certificates already in 2021.

IUCN’s President Zhang Xinsheng is also highly supportive of the Tech4Nature partnership, “This is the first time that IUCN has engaged in a major way with the ICT industry, helping us to bring their know-how and innovation into the important nature conservation sector. IUCN will ensure that our standards and safeguards help guide the appropriate use of technology and achieve outstanding nature conservation successes, together.”

The Tech4Nature partnership is open for support and collaboration. Please get in touch with the IUCN team or Huawei TECH4ALL team with your ideas.

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