The UN Innovation Network (UNIN) is an informal, collaborative community of UN innovators interested in sharing their expertise and experience with others to promote and advance innovation within the UN System. The UNIN is open to innovators from all UN Agencies as well as external partners and to date, representatives from 65+ entities in over 70 countries have joined the Network.
Take a look at recordings from webinars hosted by the UN Innovation Network in collaboration with UN Entities to explore different types of innovation, approaches to building architectures for and creating a culture of innovation.
The WSIS is a unique global platform to identify and showcase success stories in the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines and SDGs.
The End Violence Fund is requesting Expressions of Interest focused on solutions that leverage existing and new technologies to prevent and combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse
Citizen science has come of age in the last couple of decades since the widespread use of Internet-connected devices such as smartphones and laptops which allow large numbers of people to report on sightings, for example, of a particular bird, plant or weather phenomenon in diverse locations across the globe.
UNEP has been working with citizen science experts from around the world to develop mechanisms for better utilizing citizen science data for official monitoring of the goals. They’ve been trying to answer questions like: What steps would be required? How can transparency and data quality be ensured to promote trust in this data? What are example cases where citizen science could be used to fill data gaps?
Every day is a hot day in Kakuma refugee camp, located in the arid desert of north-western Kenya. Underneath a blue sky, three girls in gingham school uniforms gather together. The camp is home to more than 186,000 residents who are primarily from the Horn and Great Lakes region of Africa. Originally from Burundi, South Sudan, and Somalia, their backgrounds vary widely. Their ambitions may lead them to divergent futures as well; one wants to be a journalist, another a software engineer, and the thirda poet. But right now, they share a common interest that they are very excited about computer coding.
It was the tenth outbreak for its neighbour, but it was the closest that Ebola virus disease had come to Uganda since 2012. When the first cases were reported in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in August 2018, only 200 km from their shared border, Uganda health authorities braced with concern. But they had a new tool at hand that would help allay many of their worries. Actually, it was more than a tool – it was the future of public health protection.
It was satellite technology.
Every innovation engagement has its successes and failures. Here’s what the team learned from one.
When they’re called on to assist country operations in finding new ways to solve pressing problems, the UN Refugee Agency’s Innovation Service leaps into action. The team is quite modest about their mandate: to provide whatever support country operations need to improve the work they’re doing on the ground. What’s more, the Innovation Service is committed to a steady flow of improvement — which includes both replicating successes and recognizing failures as crucial to the process of innovation, because both lead to better ways of getting the job done.
A recent nine-month engagement with UNHCR Nigeria demonstrates both the strengths in the processes employed by the Innovation Service and the areas where improvements could be — and already are being — made.
If there’s one constant in the realm of innovation, it’s change. That’s because it’s impossible to innovate without tirelessly seeking opportunities for reinvention, for new ways of approaching an old problem, for finding collaborative solutions that make better programs and processes possible.
That’s certainly true about the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) Innovation Fellowship Program. First launched in 2013, the program has evolved significantly in the years since — adding or eliminating elements each year to refine and rethink the program to make it more beneficial to UNHCR, the participants, and the country operations where Fellows are tasked with motivating everyone they work with to embrace innovation as a core aspect of their work.
A range of frontier an digital technologies can be combined to monitor our planet and the sustainable use of natural resources. If we can leverage this technology effectively, we will be able to assess and predict risks, increase transparency and accountability in the management of natural resources and inform markets as well as consumer choice. These actions are all required if we are to stand a better chance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
However, for this vision to become a reality, public and private sector actors must take deliberate action and collaborate to build a global digital ecosystem for the planet — one consisting of data, infrastructure, rapid analytics, and real-time insights. We are now at a pivotal moment in the history of our stewardship of this planet. A “tipping point” of sorts. And in order to guide the political action which is required to counter the speed, scope and severity of the environmental and climate crises, we must acquire and deploy these data sets and frontier technologies. Doing so can fundamentally change our economic trajectory and underpin a sustainable future.
This article shows how such a global digital ecosystem for the planet can be achieved — as well as what we risk if we do not take decisive action within the next 12 months. This is an extended version of the Foresight Brief issued by the UN Environment Programme in September 2019.
From artificial intelligence to mobile applications, technology helps to increase your access to secure and efficient financial products and services. Since financial technology (fintech) offers the chance to boost economic growth and expand financial inclusion in all countries, the IMF and World Bank surveyed central banks, finance ministries, and other relevant agencies in 189 countries on a range of topics and received 96 responses.
A new paper details the results of the survey alongside findings from other regional studies, and also identifies areas for international cooperation—including roles for the IMF and World Bank—and in which further work is needed by governments, international organizations, and standard-setting bodies.
Some interesting and startling trends emerged in the survey: foremost in all countries’ minds is cybersecurity.
ITC’s Refugee Employment & Skills Initiative has been working in two major refugee complexes in Kenya to enable refugees and host communities to tap into international markets for home décor goods and freelance digital services. Together with the Norwegian Refugee Council and other partners, ITC offered skills training combined with support for business development and connecting to markets.
In Dadaab, home to close to a quarter-million refugees from Somalia, the initiative kicked off in May with a digital training and mentorship programme. Over five months, Samasource Digital Basics, the Nairobi office of a San Francisco-based non-profit that teaches digital skills to people without traditional paths to employment, trained about 100 participants in internet research, word processing, translation and spreadsheet capabilities. It also coached them on how best to present themselves to potential employers on freelancing platforms.
Samasource and ITC provided follow-up support and professional skills mentorship.
In an emergency, every second counts. For governments and humanitarian organizations such as WFP, understanding the effects of a disaster will help everyone to launch a faster, more effective response to reach those in need. Working with the Government of Cambodia’s National Committee for Disaster Management, the World Food Programme launched the Platforms for Real-time Information SysteMs (PRISM) initiative in 2015. PRISM is a hub of information on Cambodia, using an interactive online map to pool data from government ministries and vulnerable people.
This offers the Government and the humanitarian community a single source of information. The Government then has the data it needs to lead in a coordinated approach with UN partners, NGOs and others to prepare and respond in the event of a disaster.
It is rainy season in Northern Uganda. In the rural areas of Adjumani District the maize crops are at full height but are not ready for harvesting yet. This is still a few weeks off. Simon Peter Mwesigye who works with UN-Habitat and The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), is standing on the edge of a small maize patch with Ochen Ronald from the Adjumani District land office. The two of them are staring intently at a handheld mapping device. They take the measurements and move carefully to the next boundary position. This is part of spatial data collection training GLTN is doing with the District Land Office and Area Land Committee.
With participatory approaches, GLTN introduced the use and application of low-cost geo-spatial technologies and tools. It has revolutionised access to land mapping and enumeration services in three pilot areas in Uganda. In the past it cost upwards of USD $600 to have one plot accurately mapped and land rights registered. These innovative approaches and tools bring the process cost down to between USD $20 to $40. This is a significant price drop in a country where so little of the land has been formally mapped and registered.