UNDP Innovation Summit: Updating Development in Asia-Pacific

Oct 30, 2014

Anu John of UNDP's Bangladesh Country Office explains how she and the team are trying to crowdsource disaster warnings to allow for better lead times in preparing for disasters in Bangladesh. UNDP Photo

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) kicked off today a two-day interactive conference on innovative thinking. Its objective is to explore how innovation can help address development challenges in Asia and the Pacific, such as poverty, corruption, gender inequality, and environmental degradation.

“We have taken on the challenge of determining how to accelerate the development of a sustainable future,” said Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Asia-Pacific. “We are looking at how to make development project cycle faster, more open, and better fit for implementation of the post-2015 agenda.”

The conference organized by UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific has been dubbed the “Innovation Summit,” and is supporting UNDP’s strategic focus on helping countries achieve the simultaneous eradication of poverty and reduction of inequalities and exclusion in ways which are sustainable - a vision promoted by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

"Traditional policy making and project implementation must reckon with unconventional ideas, innovative sources of financing, and new types of partnerships," added Haoliang Xu.

The conference includes over 80 development practitioners from 30 countries. It is supported by UNDP’s Innovation Fund, which was established with a donation from the Government of Denmark.

“We are global leaders in transparency, and we aim to be global leaders in innovation,” added Haoliang Xu, referring to the 2014 Aid Transparency Index which ranked UNDP as the top transparent organization out of 68 major aid agencies surveyed.

The conference participants will review 16 innovative pilot initiatives implemented by UNDP in 13 countries across Asia-Pacific, funded by the UNDP Innovation Fund.Here are some examples:

•    In Nepal, a UNDP project is using games and social media to challenge gender stereotypes
•    In Sri Lanka, UNDP is crowdsourcing youth engagement to aid in policy making
•    In Bangladesh, UNDP is gathering behavioral insights to address traffic problems in mega cities like Dhaka
•    In Malaysia, UNDP is crowdfunding citizen contributions to help with biodiversity conservation
•    In Papua New Guinea, UNDP is using mobile technology to monitor corruption
•    In Bhutan, UNDP is gathering data from an online game to help address youth unemployment
Several innovation thinkers from across the world are speaking at the conference. They include:
•    Jonathan Wong, Head of Innovation Hub, Department for International Development, UK
•    Noah Raford, Foresight and Innovation Advisor to the Prime Minister's Office of the United Arab Emirates and co-founder of Futurescapers
•    Dr. Rory Gallagher, Managing Advisor and Director of International Programmes for the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team. 
•    Karl Satinitigan, Aid and Policy Officer for Social Entrepreneurship, Office of Senator Aquino, Philippines
•    Euan Semple, Authour and Former Director of Knowledge Management, BBC

You can follow the conference on Twitter using hashtag: #innovateasiapac

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Contact information

For more information please contact:
In Bangkok: Cedric Monteiro, Regional Communications Advisor, cedric.monteiro@undp.org, +66926264847
In Bangkok: Ramya Gopalan, Innovation Specialist, ramya.gopalan@undp.org; +66800825143

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