Espoo, Finland – Sort through the list of events, meetings, and collaborations contained in its first quarterly report of 2019 and one thing is clear: UNTIL is moving forward with tech innovations. According to the report, the work of UNTIL is expanding geographically and operationally.
Geographically, a number of steps were taken to expand the organization’s global footprint. These include the completing legal steps to open a Lab in Haryana, India, agreeing on the terms and conditions for a Lab in Sharjah, UAE, and hoding ideation workshops in Mauritius, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Rwanda. Additionally, discussions regarding UNTIL were held with six other member states.
Operationally, UNTIL is building relationships with other UN entities and creating new linkages with the private sector. On April 2, UNTIL signed an MOU with the United Nations Crime Research Institute (UNICRI). MOU’s with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) are under review. Moreover, Advanced discussions are being held with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Meetings have also been held with various academic institutions globally aligned with the UNTIL mission and locations including Aalto University, Glasgow Caledonia University, Oxford University, MIT, University of California, Columbia, Stanford, and the American University in Beirut.
These emerging relationships came together on March 5 at the UN headquarters in New York when UNTIL and OICT hosted the first Conference on Frontier Technologies for Accelerating Sustainable Development.
Within the UNTIL system, the Lab in Finland recorded the strong progress. There, letters of intent with leading technology companies including Nokia, Reaktor and VTT were signed. At the same time Miltton, the largest public relations company in the Nordic region, agreed to contribute 150,000 Euros in pro-bono communications support. The Finland Lab, which is located on the campus of Aalto University in the city of Espoo, also undertook a busy calendar of outreach activities, carrying out productive engagements with Finnish Ministries, NGOs, Business Finland, and local start-ups as well as established technology companies.
All these engagements have led to early support for a number of promising projects with local technology companies attempting to impact SDG’s on a global level. These include projects in the area of Artificial Intelligence, sustainable packaging, citizen sentiment analysis and data collection, and marine debris.
The UNTIL Lab in Malaysia, based in Kuala Lumpur, also posted signs of robust growth. That office signed Letters of Intent with tech companies including PEMANDU Associates, iCycle, Challenger FS, WorkAhead Finland, Earth Heir, International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) and PlantOS. The Malaysia Lab also obbtained pro-bono contribution from PEMANDU Associates to assist with the development of our Sustainable Tourism Project Guideline and Scoring Methodology.
"The advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including those brought on by a combination of computing power, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence, are generating revolutions in health care, transport and manufacturing.
I am convinced that these new capacities can help us to lift millions of people out of poverty, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and enable developing countries to leap‑frog into a better future."
23 March 2018, New York