• 09/12/2023
  • 10:00 - 11:30 CET
  • UNFCCC Pavilion

COP Side Event: High-level Panel: Artificial Intelligence for Climate Action

Artificial intelligence (AI) – how can it help with climate change adaptation without widening the digital divide? How do international cooperation and partnerships contribute to leveraging the potential of AI for climate solutions, especially in least developed countries (LDCs) and small island states?
These questions were discussed on December 09 by a high-level panel hosted by UNFCCC Senior Director Daniele Violetti and Director-General of the COP Presidency Majid Al-Suwadi, with the participation of the Head of the US President’s Climate Office Ali Zaidi and digital policy experts Omar Sultan Al Olama (UAE), Fatou Binetou Ndiaye (Senegal) and Shantal Munro-Knight (Barbados).

The potential for climate protection predominated in the discussion, but it also became clear that a digital policy framework is needed to realise the potential and limit the risks. And both the least developed countries and developed countries benefit from international cooperation and collaboration. State Secretary Fatou Binetou Ndiaye showed how Senegal, with the support of the Data Economy Initiative of GIZ and BMZ is developing a digital policy framework to reconcile its priorities for sustainable development, innovation and digital sovereignty. The basis for tapping the potential of data and AI for climate protection.

In her introduction to specific AI-based climate solutions, GIZ Managing Director Ingrid Hoven emphasised the relevance of a European, human-centric approach: the use of AI for climate protection also requires the sustainable use of AI. This includes an ecologically sustainable, ethical and fair design of AI through open and transparent AI models, data bases and green data infrastructure.

Examples from the work of the BMZ’s FAIR Forward initiative showed how such an approach can contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The deforestation of tropical forests, such as in Indonesia, which play a crucial role in carbon storage, contributes significantly to climate change. AI-based analysis of satellite data, with the involvement of local communities, helps to identify and protect forests with a lot of carbon. Another pilot project in Kenya combines satellite and weather data with locally collected data from smallholder farmers and feeds this into an AI-based early warning system for predicting and monitoring crop yields.

What both projects have in common is that they involve local communities in the development of AI models and create open-source solutions that enable scaling and adaptation to other contexts.

Based on these and other examples of AI climate innovations, the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism Initiative on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Climate Action #AI4ClimateAction launched its AI Innovation Grand Challenge as a climate innovation competition to promote new AI applications for climate mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries.


  • Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
  • Daniele Violetti, Senior Director, United Nations Climate Change Secretariat
  • Majid Al-Suwadi, Director-General and Special representative of COP28 Presidency,United Arab Emirates
  • E. Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, United Arab Emirates
  • Fatou Binetou Ndiaye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, Senegal
  • Shantal Munro-Knight, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Barbados
  • Ali Zaidi, Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor, United States of Amercia
  • Ingrid Hoven, Managing Director, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
  • Gauri Singh, Deputy Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency
  • Yana Gevorgyan, Secretariat Director, Group on Earth Observations
  • Sherif Tawfik, Chief Sustainability Commercial Officer, Microsoft
  • Kate Kallot, Chief Executive Officer, Amini Corp.
  • Stig Svenningsen, Chair, UNFCCC Technology Executive Committee
  • Erwin Rose, Chair, Advisory Board of the Climate Technology Centre and Network
  • Bill Wright, Chair and Founder, Enterprise Neurosystem

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