· Marks launch with #DateforDevelopment, a one-of-a-kind event, connecting innovators and development practitioners
· Initiates a national and global collaborative endeavour to find radical new approaches to complex development challenges
New Delhi, 28 November 2019: The India chapter of the Accelerator Labs, an innovative new initiative by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Germany and Qatar, to find 21st century solutions to today’s complex new challenges, was launched today. India’s Accelerator Lab will be part of a network of 60 global labs that will test and scale new solutions to global challenges like climate change and inequality. These laboratories, housed within UNDP country offices across the world, will bring together grassroots ideas with new sources of real-time data and experimentation to make faster progress in meeting the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“The speed and complexity of today’s challenges are different from previous eras in history. We need an equally sophisticated range of development solutions to tackle these complex problems. The India Accelerator Lab is keen to work with partners on innovative solutions to some of India’s most pressing challenges, such as air pollution, sustainable water management and climate-resilient livelihoods,” said Shoko Noda, UNDP India Resident Representative.
At the launch, Ms. Noda was joined by Mr. R. Ramanan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, Additional Secretary, NITI Aayog, Government of India. “Atal Innovation Mission is proud to partner with UNDP Accelerator Labs India, a much-needed initiative that will greatly benefit innovators to find, develop and refine solutions to today’s development challenges. We remain committed to finding local solutions that can be scaled up not only in India, but also the across the Accelerator Lab network,” said R. Ramanan.
In keeping with the spirit of innovation and inquiry that characterizes the Accelerator Labs, UNDP India organized a #DateForDevelopment – a one-of-a-kind matchmaking platform aimed at connecting local innovators with development practitioners. Young entrepreneurs, researchers and grassroots innovators went on ‘speed dates’ with policymakers, impact investors, experts from civil society, scientists and the private sector to deepen their development solutions and find opportunities for scale and impact.
Also attending were Akhil Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India; Akash Bhavsar, Managing Director, Skyquest India and Member, United Nations ESCAP Sustainable Business Network; Ananya Chandra, Assistant VP, AGNIi, Invest India, Ministry of Commerce; Charu Chadha, Policy Programs Manager, India and South Asia, Facebook India; Mridula Ramesh, Founder, Sundaram Climate Institute; and dignitaries from the National Research Development Corporation, The Energy and Resources Institute and Tata Trust, among others.
Each development practitioner had a one-on-one interaction with each innovator, who had two minutes to pitch their innovations. The development practitioners then had three to four minutes to offer suggestions on how innovators could grow their solutions. The interactions offered enhanced networking opportunities that could lead to deeper partnerships and scale-up.
“The Accelerator Labs initiative is a bold move that matches the ambition of the 2030 Agenda. We are solving complex 21st century problems that require new and innovative ideas. With the world’s largest youth population and a robust innovations ecosystem, India is an ideal place to re-imagine development. We are proud to partner with UNDP in India to invest in radical approaches to accelerate progress towards the SDGs,” said Walter J. Lindner, Ambassador from Germany to India.
The India Accelerator Lab will delve deeper into exploring solutions to issues such as the circular economy, youth employment, and climate change. “The grassroots approach adopted by the Labs emphasizes the importance of exploring socially acceptable and locally-sourced solutions that will make addressing 21st century development challenges more effective and efficient,” said H.E. Khalifa bin Jassem Al-Kuwari, Director General of the Qatar Fund for Development.
In addition to partnerships with the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Qatar, UNDP has also created partnerships with Italy’s Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea Protection, Nesta, MIT and the India-based Honeybee Network. The partnership with the Honeybee Network is aimed at developing innovative solutions from the grassroots, for the grassroots. We are collaborating to shape up inclusive innovation policy work.
To date, the Accelerator Labs have attracted over $70 million - $33 million from the Federal Republic of Germany, $20 million from the State of Qatar, $5.5 million from the Republic of Italy, and $20 million from UNDP core partners. UNDP is seeking additional partners and investment to test and grow a variety of solutions that match the aspiration of the SDGs.
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On the ground in about 170 countries and territories, UNDP works to eradicate poverty while protecting the planet. We help countries develop strong policies, skills, partnerships and institutions so they can sustain their progress.
UNDP has worked in India since 1951 in almost all areas of human development, from systems and institutional strengthening to inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods, as well as sustainable energy, environment and resilience. UNDP’s programmes continue to fully integrate a global vision for catalytic change with India’s national priorities.
With over 30 projects on the ground in almost every state, today UNDP India works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by transforming traditional models to do development differently.
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