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.
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.
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
ICT for Agriculture
Steam Foundation Nepal