SE05-ICT: ICTs for Environment: Challenges and opportunities of transdisciplinary research for development

DAY 1 – Wensday 27 June – 1:30pm-3:00pm
Swiss Tech | Room 3A | Level Garden


Session Leaders
Clémence Bouleau
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Clémence Bouleau is a scientific collaborator at the Cooperation and Development Center at EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, working on the UNESCO Chair for Technologies in the field of ICT for Environment. She earned her geological engineer degree in 2006 from France’s leading “Grande École” in Geoscience: Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Géologie. She specialized in hydrogeology, water and environment, with a specific focus on (semi-)arid regions in the Global South. She is in charge of coordinating CODEV’s research project “Info4Dourou2.0” that fosters ICT for smart water management in dryland agriculture.

Amer Kanan
Al-Quds University, Palestine

Amer Kanan is a faculty member at Environment and Earth Sciences Department at Al-Quds University (AQU) in Jerusalem, Palestine. He earned his PhD in Environmental Engineering and Sciences in 2010 from Clemson University, USA. Amer specializes in water treatment engineering and water pollution and management. He has worked in water chlorination and disinfection byproducts in addition to water management in agriculture. Amer has consulted for Palestinian organizations interested in environmental issues training and education. Amer mainly teach Environment and Pollution Prevention, Environment and Sustainable Development, and Organics in the Environment. He is the Academic Vice President Assistant at AQU.




ICTs have a great potential to tackle and improve environmental issues worldwide, and they have been used for this purpose for a number of years. This session gives the floor to successful, but also to failed projects related to environmental issues in which ICTs were used as part of the solution: what were the key factors for success or the limitations and challenges that could not be overcome? We will look at how to avoid the “rich towards poor country” approach in the field of ICTs, and how the “voices of the South” are creating an innovative cooperation approach. Inclusive projects that deal with the following issues are welcome in this session: sustainable environment and ecosystems, ICTs in agriculture, pollution and waste management, control of pesticides, resource preservation, re-greening deserts and landscape restoration, ecosystems preservation as a means to preserve fishing/hunting/gathering resources for people across the globe. All projects presented in this session should have a collaborative “North/South” approach aiming at global sustainability. This session will also put forward inputs and lessons learned from documented failures


Panelists and Abstracts


Development of Water Saving Indicators for Subsistence Agriculture at Watershed level in Morocco: Combining Water Footprint methodology, Geographic Agriculture Water Footprint Calculator and drip irrigation installation for aromatic and medicinal herbs

José Luis Carrasco 1, Erika Zarate Torres2, Khalid Azim3, Hicham Elomari4,

1 Aquasis Solutions Vevey, Switzerland

2 Good Stuff International, Bern, Switzerland

3 Beleco Sarl, Agadir, Morocco

4 Agrotech, Agadir, Morocco


Presenting author’s email address: joseluis.carrasco@aquasis-solutions


Biography of Presenting Author: José Luis Carrasco is working on corporate water accounting, water footprint studies, Sustainable Supply Chains and water stewardship since 2012 and has worked in Bolivia, Switzerland, India and Morocco. He worked mostly with Agro-industry companies in Public Private Partnership together with international cooperation or multi-stakeholder projects with governments, private sector and international cooperation. At the moment, Jose Luis is working as Director of Aquasis. He is based in Vevey, Switzerland



In a context of potential lost of agriculture productivity and groundwater resources depletion in the Souss Massa region, in the south-east of Morocco, North and South partners from the private and non governmental organizations are working together to develop water indicators for farmers to monitor water savings of drought tolerant crops: Alfalfa, Maize, Oregano and Thyme; in close collaboration with Farmer Association of Tassilla.


South-South Cooperation to Develop a Platform for Community Water Observatories in Colombia

Susana Borda Carulla1, Daniel Gatica-Perez2, Salvador Ruiz-Correa3, Elizabeth Carrillo-Sánchez3, Arturo A. Gutierrez-Martinez3, Emilio E. Hernandez-Huerfano3, Leonardo Alvarez-Rivera3, Lorena de Lira3, Ricardo Corredor-Jerez4.

1 Association SieNi – Lausanne, Switzerland

2 Idiap Research Institute – École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – Lausanne, Switzerland

3 Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica – Centro Nacional de Supercómputo (CNS-IPICYT) – San Luis Potosí, México

4 Association iNvestiga – Lausanne, Switzerland


Presenting author’s email address:


Biography of Presenting Author: Susana is an international consultant in education and development, external scientific collaborator at the Center for Children’s Rights Studies at the University of Geneva, and Doctor of Social Anthropology at the University Paris Descartes. She has extensive experience in the design, implementation, coordination and evaluation of education projects in Latin America and Europe and field work experience in Latin America and Africa. Founder of SieNi, she now acts as its General Secretary.



The objective of our project is to reuse and appropriate a mobile crowdsourcing platform developed by Mexican scientists to host Community Water Observatories (CWO) in Colombia, thus engaging two Latin-American countries in expertise sharing. The platform will be used by Colombian youth to delimit their water-basin on an interactive map and upload visual, numerical, and textual data on its main characteristics and pressing issues. This data will then be used to promote water protection initiatives adapted to local needs. Here, we present preliminary results regarding the adaptation of the Urbis platform for CWO use and the challenges that remain ahead.

Using ICTs for Relevant, Credible and Accessible Agricultural Information Delivery

Babar Shahbaz1, Mark Bell2

1 University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan

2 University of California, Davis, USA


Presenting author’s email address:


Biography of Presenting Author: Babar Shahbaz is Associate Professor at the Institute of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (Pakistan). He remained involved with Swiss National Center for Competence in Research (NCCR North-South) as PhD and then Postdoc scholar. His research interests are rural livelihoods and agricultural extension. Dr. Shahbaz possesses more than 18 years of experience in planning, management and co-ordination of inter- and trans-disciplinary research projects. He is the author of 3 books and has published more than 50 research papers.



This paper reports the findings of a transdisciplinary research project conducted in Pakistan to analyze challenges and opportunities in the use of ICTs in agricultural extension and to understand that how farmers’ need are identified and how information are packaged in the context of ICTS. Exclusion of some social groups from the benefits of ICTs has also been analyzed. Using transdisciplinary approach, we engaged farmers, extension service providers, ICT experts, public and private sector organizations and civil society groups in the research process. The paper concludes that need driven, credible, relevant and better packaged information are essential for the success of any ICT initiative for agricultural extension development.

Towards Sustainable Land Resource Management through Application of ICT and GIS Technologies in India: An Analysis

Authors: Miss Neha Sharma[1], Dr Navreet Kaur 2

1M.Phil student, Department of Public Administration, Panjab University Chandigarh (Presenting Author)

2Assistant Professor, Department of Public Administration, Panjab University Chandigarh


Presenting author’s email address:


Biography of Presenting Author: Neha Sharma has completed her Master in Philosophy in Public Administration in Financial Administration at the Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. She is recipient of Two Gold Medals in her academics. She holds a Master in Public Administration (IGNOU, New Delhi, India) and Masters in Computer Applications (APJIM, Jalandhar, India). Her Research interests are on social informatics, covering a range of topics including Women Empowerment, ICT, Information Systems, Public Policy, E-governance. Her past research includes the study of Economic Empowerment of Rural Women and Implementation of E-Money. She has worked in various sectors, which include Engineering, Software Coding, Research and Development. She has over six years of rich experience in ICT and two years of experience in the field of Public Administration.


Agriculture sector is largest livelihood provider in India. Government of India at Union level and at State had formulated many policies and programmes for growth of this sector. With the change in governance patterns from manual form to electronic form and with the usage of ICT, the system had undergone paradigm shift. The Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012) emphasized on working group on Information Technology sector and enable on Communication and Information Sector. National Land Records Modernization Programme had been initiated to usher in a system of updated land records. SMS, KSewa is initiated in order to provide services through mobile phones. Application of GIS in agriculture had facilitated the progress in agriculture. Major National Level Programmes like FASAL (Forecasting Agricultural output using Space, Agrometerology & Land Based observations), NADAMS (Agricultural Drought Assessment & Monitoring System) were introduced. An Attempt has been made in this paper to examine the application of ICT and GIS technology in land resource management in India. It has been found that ICT and GIS in agriculture has made the information accessible to farmers but certain constraints like institutional reforms, technological transitions, technical support, and lack of awareness among farmers, lack of proper dissemination at village level regarding e-initiatives and g-initiatives needs to be addressed in order to pave way towards sustainable land resource management.