UNDP launches Accelerator Lab in India, to work on pollution, water issues

New Delhi, Nov 28 (PTI) Seeking to address some of the most pressing issues facing India, including air pollution, through innovation, the UNDP on Thursday launched the country chapter of its Accelerator Lab here.

The laboratory that will be housed in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office here has partnered with Indian government's Atal Innovation Mission to achieve the objectives.

'India is an epicentre of innovation and we are pleased to launch an Accelerator Lab here too, where innovators will seek to bring in their energy together to come up with solutions for common problems facing the country,' UN Resident Coordinator in India Renata Lok-Dessallien said at the launch.

The innovative solutions offered in diverse fields by people associated with this laboratory will not only benefit India but also several other countries, she said.

Other issues that the laboratory will seek to address include sustainable water management and client-resilient livelihoods, Deputy Country Director UNDP India Office Nadia Rasheed said, adding the vision is to make faster progress in meeting the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN by 2030.

The Accelerator Lab is an innovative new initiative by the UNDP, Germany and Qatar, to find 21st century solutions to today's complex new challenges, UNDP officials said.

'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 SDGs,' the UN Office said in a statement.

UNDP India Resident Representative Shoko Noda said 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,' she said.

Ramanathan Ramanan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, a flagship national innovation initiative of the Prime Minister and the Government of India under the NITI Aayog, also joined the launch event.

'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,' he said.

There are three main aspects that favour's India's bid for making an innovation-rich future, he said.

'First is the demographic dividend that India enjoys, and then the country is growing at a fast pace. And, finally the way the world is changing driven by technology and progress in communications,' Ramanan said.

The Accelerator Labs are located in various developed countries, including Iraq, Jordan, Argentina, Colombia, Serbia, Nepal, Mexico and Vietnam.

In keeping with the spirit of innovation and inquiry that characterises the Accelerator Labs, UNDP India after the launch also organised 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. PTI KND SMN SMN