DPA Managing Director Natalie Grover Presents OPAL for Humanitarian Action at the UN STI Forum

On May 8th, 2024, DPA Managing Director Natalie Grover spoke at the United Nations Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)  Forum at the UN Headquarters in New York. In an effort to harness the power of technology and innovation to respond to pressing humanitarian crises, the STI Forum hosted an official side event titled “Leveraging Technology and Innovation to Enhance the Response to Emergencies and Humanitarian Challenges”, which brought together leaders, innovators, and stakeholders to explore cutting-edge solutions. 

Ventures on Display

Highlighting the tangible outcomes of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), and the World Food Programme’s (WFP), Humanitarian Innovation Accelerator Programme (HIAP), the event showcased ventures supported by the Accelerator. Representatives from initiatives including WASDI, Bleaglee, and DPA’s OPAL took the stage to present their innovative approaches to addressing emergency and humanitarian challenges. These ventures, spanning fields from earth observation to data governance for anticipatory action, demonstrate the potential for technological ingenuity to revolutionize humanitarian aid.

Panel Discussion

After the presentations, a panel discussion and Q&A session followed, focusing on the opportunities and challenges presented by deploying technology-based solutions in humanitarian contexts. Participants explored the nuances of leveraging technology to better serve vulnerable populations while navigating obstacles such as data governance and sustainability.

 

The session participants are shown in the photo above. From left: Paolo Campanella, CTO WASDI; Jose Alcocer, Head of SDGx Acceleration, WFP Innovation Accelerator (UN World Food Programme); Mr. Stefan Pretterhofer, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN; Olivier Maes, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the UN; Michelle Joseph, New Ventures Project Manager, WFP Innovation Accelerator (UN World Food Programme); Nwumfor Chunga, Chief Strategist, BleagLee; Paul Skoczylas, Director (AI), UN System & Multilateral Engagement Division, WFP; Mr. Diamane Diome, Deputy Permanent Representative of Senegal; and Natalie Grover; Managing Director, Data-Pop Alliance.

OPAL for Humanitarian Action

Natalie attended the event on behalf of DPA to present OPAL for Humanitarian Action (OPAL4HA). With the support of the HIAP, and under our Resilient Livelihoods and Ecosystems Program, this initiative is pioneering anticipatory action and response to climate-induced disasters in Senegal.

Key features of OPAL4HA include:

  • Integration of diverse data sources, such as call detail records (CDRs), earth observation (EO) data, qualitative data, and official statistics to provide comprehensive crisis insights.
  • Development and testing of a data model focusing on predictive analytics for human displacement induced by climate shocks.
  • Creation of a user-friendly query interface powered by Generative AI for timely insights.
  • Automatic report generation to swiftly share progress with stakeholders.
  • Continuous refinement based on community feedback and targeted outreach to affected communities.

Learn more about the project by clicking the button below.

This project exemplifies a proactive approach to humanitarian response, leveraging technology and participatory design to mitigate the impacts of climate disasters and build resilience in vulnerable populations. We were honored to present it alongside other innovative efforts to harness the latest advancements to usher in a new era of responsive, effective, and sustainable humanitarian aid delivery.

Watch the full session by clicking the link here (Natalie begins speaking at minute 56).

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