SDG Tech Tool Wins Top AI Initiative Award

By Outlook Planet Desk December 04, 2023

A pioneering AI tool earns recognition for its impactful role in uniting global volunteers to fast-track progress on Sustainable Development Goals

SDG Tech Tool Wins Top AI Initiative Award
Initially conceived as a basic online text analysis tool for SDG monitoring, OSDG has rapidly evolved into a sophisticated resource for users worldwide. Shutterstock

The OSDG initiative, a collaborative effort between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Research and Policy Analysis Centre (PPMI), has been honoured as one of the IRCAI Top 100 Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives driving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This prestigious recognition is annually bestowed by the International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI) under the auspices of UNESCO.

OSDG represents a unique partnership supported by a global volunteer community. It encompasses an innovative online tool for SDG analysis and a curated dataset for machine learning applications. This recognition underscores OSDG's remarkable contribution to the SDGs by uniting innovative AI solutions with a dedicated volunteer community.

Initially conceived as a basic online text analysis tool for SDG monitoring, OSDG has rapidly evolved into a sophisticated resource for users worldwide. As a free, open-source tool developed by PPMI and SDG AI Lab, OSDG can swiftly review uploaded texts, identifying their relevance to the 17 SDGs. This tool enables users to conduct comprehensive SDG analyses and visually explore data from thousands of documents in 17 languages.

Moreover, the OSDG team has curated a one-of-a-kind OSDG Community Dataset containing 42,065 text excerpts. These have been rigorously vetted by 2,600 dedicated volunteers, ensuring perfect alignment with the SDGs. This dataset, downloaded over 4,000 times, has significantly contributed to several prominent academic publications.

The community of online volunteers, including almost 1000 online UN volunteers from over 50 countries, have contributed in various fields like science, technology, healthcare, and public policy in sustainable development.The versatility of OSDG extends to academic and practical applications.

Prominent universities, including University College London, The University of Hong Kong, Hohenheim University, Nazarbayev University, and York University, have used OSDG to align their curricula and research with the SDGs. Both dataset and tool have also been featured in publications covering topics ranging from the European Green Deal to urban resilience, computational thinking, carbon emissions, and technical papers on knowledge graphs and the RoBERTa approach.

In government policy-making and national planning, OSDG has proven to be an invaluable asset. For example, in collaboration with the SDG AI Lab, the Government of Turkey used the OSDG tool to align the 11th Development Plan with the SDGs. This process identified frequently addressed goals and highlighted less targeted ones, offering a template for nations worldwide to integrate technology for more informed policy-making.

The success of the OSDG has sparked the development of new tools and research initiatives. The UNDP global team, for instance, has launched the SDGs Push platform powered by the OSDG Community Dataset. Similarly, the dataset has been instrumental in developing the GIZ Policy Action Tracker and utilised by the policy analysis startup Overton. The OSDG project sparks SDG-related innovations and global cooperation.

The recognition of OSDG among the Top 100 initiatives advancing the SDGs underscores the critical importance of digital technologies and volunteerism to achieve sustainable development. The project's global impact supports various stakeholders, including academia, researchers, and government, in pursuing the SDGs.