Research coalition on the Digital-Environment System

Year of production: 2021

Research coalition on the Digital-Environment System (DESC) aims to bring together researchers and practitioners from all relevant disciplines and all personal backgrounds to work together in a coalition that will enhance our holistic understanding of the inter-relationships between digital technologies and the physical environment. 

DESC also has a youth dimension through the YouthDESC which is about engaging, involving, and listening to the voices and experiences of young people regarding digital technology and its interrelationships with the physical environment.  

YouthDESC can help achieve positive outcomes of change and enhance the overall research and policy activities of the DESC coalition by spreading and promoting DESC’s messaging and initiatives on platforms that build broad awareness and education around both the positive and negative impacts of technology on the environment, and bringing together like-minded groups and individuals into a Youth coalition.


There are 3 main phases in the creation and work done by the overall DESC

Phase 1 of the work in 2021-2022 is to:

  • Create a clear partnership framework for engagement;
  • Develop a resource base featuring as many existing relevant initiatives as possible together with details of their key publications that we will make available through the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D website;
  • Convene a series of workshops in different parts of the world and with relevant stakeholders to identify the parameters that should be included in a holistic model (for an example of work in convening such workshops on a different topic in 2020, see Education for the most marginalised post-COVID-19); and
  • Identify areas where novel and further research is needed to quantify the model parameters.


Phase 2 in 2022 will:

  • Facilitate working groups of researchers and practitioners to develop research proposals and funding applications to relevant bodies so as to undertake the research identified as being essential for quantifying the model’s parameters; and
  • Initiate a series of publications and policy reports.


Phase 3 from 2023-25 will:

  • Coordinate and support research activities initiated during Phase 2; and
  • Culminate in a major report in 2025 providing full details of the model together with policy recommendations based upon it.


UNESCO Chair in ICT4D logo

The UNESCO Chair in ICT4D grew out of the ICT4D Collective which was created in 2004 as a group of people committed to undertaking the highest possible quality of research in the field of ICT4D, and making the results of this available freely to the global community.