Development challenges are increasingly complex, inter-connected and the pace of change is unprecedented. As these changes affect all countries across the globe, it becomes more important for development organizations to be able to respond to complex challenges with agile and flexible solutions, and shift away from business as usual, in the process of finding new ways to solve problems.

Adopted by all Member States in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will guide policy and funding for the next 12 years, also highlight innovation. Accordingly Goal 9 focuses on innovation: “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.”

Since 2012, UNDP has been exploring innovative solutions by providing seedfunding for initiatives with the belief that innovation happens through practical explorations of new ways to address old problems.

In Nepal, UNDP is developing and scaling-up project prototypes, including gender empowerment, combating gender-based violence, disaster risk reduction, green energy, youth engagement and post-disaster recovery. UNDP invests in the areas and solutions where there are chances of scalability, efficiency, transparency, smart use of technology and engagement of youth.

As part of efforts to facilitate discussion on how technology and innovation could contribute to better governance, and towards achieving the SDGs, UNDP is organizing a conference on “Technology for Public Services/Development” on 21 March 2018.

This conference is aimed at helping Nepal find ways to better use technology and innovation for advancing development in a changed federal context. Currently, as Nepal is undergoing structural transformation under federalization, newly-formed local governments face many development challenges, particularly in improving service delivery.

UNDP believes that technology and innovation could play an important role in helping the local governments ensure better service delivery, even in physically remote areas. With technological innovations, such as e-education, tele-medicine, and internet, it is possible to connect remote areas and people with solutions which were impossible earlier. This conference, therefore, aims to showcase to Nepal’s leaders and development actors some of the possibilities that technology can offer in helping them achieve the development vision they have for the country and the provinces.

The conference will bring together speakers and participants representing central, provincial and local governments (eg. mayors of municipalities, especially those form the isolated and remote parts of Nepal), the private sector, civil society, youth, academia and the media, allowing them to share and learn new ideas, experiences and lessons on technology for development.

One of the highlights of the programme will be UNDP’s first non-human Champion for Innovation Ms. Sophia, who will present a keynote address at the conference. This will be followed by presentations from selected experts and innovators in the areas of inclusive economic growth, democratic governance and resilience. 

Meet Sophia

Sophia, a humanoid robot designed by Hanson Robotics, is UNDP’s first-ever Innovation Champion. She is championing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, in Asia and the Pacific with a focus on innovation. Experts believe that artificial intelligence such as Sophia marks the coming of the fourth industrial revolution and will bring about a dramatic shift in how technology can help solve some of development’s most intractable problems.

Sophia, now two and a half years old, uses voice- and face-recognition technology combined with artificial intelligence to carry on conversations with humans. She was first introduced to the United Nations in October this year, when she engaged in a brief conversation with the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed.  


Program Modality

The program will have two components: a seminar and an innovation fair. The seminar will introduce robot Sophia, UNDP’s first non-human Innovation Champion, and a range of speakers. This will include Sophia’s keynote, her interaction with the participants, and presentations from well-known innovators in Nepal. The presentations will try to cover a wide range of areas, with special focus on examples of how technology could be leveraged for promotion of better governance and improved public services.

The second part of the program will be the “innovation fair” which will showcase fresh innovations from youth, tech groups, NGOs, private sector and others. Sophia will also be brought to each of these stalls to interact with the innovators and visitors. This fair will be open to public throughout the day.

The main audience of the conference will be representatives of the central and local governments, private sector, tech enthusiasts, engineers, innovators, and other development stakeholders.

Presenters' Perspectives


Dr. Mahabir Pun, Chairman of the National Innovation Centre, Nepal, talks about the Medical Drone Project that is set to be a game-changer in rural healthcare in Nepal by easing delivery of medicines and retrieval of laboratory samples to and from remote and far-flung areas


Lal Bahadur Khatri, Under Secretary of the Inland Revenue Office, describes the experiences and successes in implementing an online tax system after almost a decade of its initiation


Shyam Kumar Bhattarai, Head of Planning Division, Office of Attorney General, relives what it was like to start the e-attorney system, the challenges therein and the fruit it has borne over time in the form of improved service delivery and transparency in the legal sector


E-governance Specialist at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, Nagesh Badu on the achievements made in e-governance in Nepal, plans for application in the federal context, and the challenges that persist in using technology to deliver citizen-centric, efficient and transparent services


Click to download slides from the respective experts' presentations at the conference:

Lal Bahadur Khatri

Mahabir Pun

Manish Pokhrel

Nagesh Badu

Ramraj Narasimhan

Shekhar Golchha

Shyam Bhattarai

Our Partners:

Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment

Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST)

National Innovation Center

Microsoft Innovation Centre Nepal

Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University

Nepal Entrepreneurs Hub

Robotics Association of Nepal

World Vision/Nepal Innovation Lab

Youth Colab

FNCCI/Innovation Hub

Himalayan Innovation

ICT for Agriculture

Steam Foundation Nepal



Food Mario



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