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PPMI and UNDP IICPSD advance the open-source SDG classification tool

1 Dec 2022

PPMI and UNDP IICPSD advance the open-source SDG classification tool

PPMI and UNDP IICPSD advance the open-source SDG classification tool

In 2021, PPMI established a partnership with the UNDP's Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD) SDG AI Lab to advance the research and application of frontier technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The main output of the partnership is a free and open-source tool OSDG that can classify and analyse text input and PDF files according to their relevance to specific SDGs. First launched in May 2020, the tool has since established itself as an open, transparent, and user-friendly way of mapping and connecting activities to the SDGs and is on the path of becoming an industry-grade tool to any institution aiming to discover its SDGs impact.

OSDG 2.0 article release

The project team has recently published a paper that presents OSDG 2.0, an improved version of the tool, along with an overview of use cases and existing applications. The paper coincides with the re-launch of the classification tool and a milestone of successfully gathering over 2,000 researchers, subject-matter experts and SDG advocates for research support.

The paper introduces the tool's updated methodology, namely the use of cross-validation between machine learning models and ontology/keyword mapping. It also explains the reasoning behind the tool’s support for additional languages – aside from English, OSDG users can submit and assess content in Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

The paper also introduces the global citizen science exercise, the OSDG Community Platform, which has resulted in a high-quality training dataset for the tool’s machine learning models.

The project team provides a list of use cases, including free API access that is granted to researchers, and showcases various applications of the tool, developed in collaboration with renowned universities, NGOs, and SDG-oriented research initiatives.

The electronic pre-publication “OSDG 2.0: a multilingual tool for classifying text data by UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” is readily available on the open-access repository arXiv.

About the partnership

The SDG AI Lab is a joint initiative of the UNDP Bureau of Policy and Programme Support and is hosted under UNDP IICPSD. The Lab has a mission to harness the potential of frontier technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for sustainable development. SDG AI Lab provides research, development, and advisory services in the areas of frontier technologies and sustainable development. As well, the Lab supports UNDP’s internal capacity-strengthening efforts for the increasing demand for digital solutions. To bridge the talent gap in the use of frontier technologies in development contexts, the Lab mobilizes a community of volunteer data scientists, connecting UNDP teams and highly skilled data scientists to address development challenges with digital solutions.