Introduction to the programme

The Digital with Purpose (DWP) Global Summit is a flagship event that brings together public and private sector decision-makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators, as well as users and beneficiaries of digital technology from around the world. Hosted by GeSI, the sustainability organisation representing the ICT private sector, its primary goal is to accelerate the adoption and use of digital innovations, particularly those developed by the private sector, that benefit society and help contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Already central to its objectives, this year’s DWP will again have a strong focus on biodiversity knowledge and conservation through its Biodiversity Futures Track.

The manifesto Digital Ways for Biodiversity Conservation: priorities and recommendations for a shared agenda that resulted from the DWP Global Summit 2023, in Lisbon, identified a set of key actions and recommendations for technology and science stakeholders on how to accelerate the role of digital technologies in biodiversity knowledge and protection. The key messages outlined in last year’s manifesto remain timely and urgent:
Acknowledge the biodiversity crisis – Humanity is facing an unprecedent biodiversity emergency. Biodiversity, encompassing species diversity, genetic resources, and ecosystems, is essential for human well-being, but human activities have significantly impacted the planet’s biodiversity, with 1 million species at risk of extinction.

Urgency demands action – Despite global commitments set out in the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs, progress has been slow. With only six years to address the new targets for 2030, decisive action is imperative to address this crisis.

Accelerating the role of technology – Digital technologies play a critical role in understanding, monitoring, and safeguarding biodiversity, offering diverse solutions from remote sensing to citizen science apps that provide new and faster tools for conservation efforts.

Opportunities and challenges – Digital solutions offer immense potential, but also face limitations and challenges, including concerns about technology and data accessibility, environmental impacts, and technical limitations, as well as the need for broader collaboration and effective communication.

DwP 2024 ‘Biodiversity Futures’ programme will highlight the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which was adopted at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15), in December 2022. This framework outlines a comprehensive plan to conserve and restore the planet’s ecosystems by 2050, working towards 23 ambitious targets by 2030. Progress towards the GBF targets will require effective monitoring of biodiversity and ecosystem health, implementation of sustainable natural resource management and innovative conservation strategies based on emerging technologies and digital tools, with a strong foundation in a global network of research and collaboration. A key focus of the agenda must be to raise public awareness of the importance of biodiversity and to mobilise public support for conservation initiatives. Achieving these goals in such a short timeframe must rely on the effective implementation of the digital agenda, working towards a beneficial relationship between biodiversity conservation and technological progress.

Through a series of plenary sessions, roundtables and workshops, the Biodiversity Futures programme will bring together researchers, community leaders, NGOs, policy-makers, innovation and industry leaders, and science communicators to discuss effective ways to combat biodiversity loss and ensure that the GBF goals of conserving and restoring our planet’s ecosystems are achieved by harnessing the power of the digital agenda, through informed decision-making, public participation and global collaboration.
Through concerted effort and collective action, the DWP Summit Biodiversity Futures programme seeks to catalyse transformative change and steer digital innovation towards a sustainable and biodiverse future.