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Sep 05, 2019 / 22:30

UNDP attempts innovation to achieve SDGs

Innovation is part of measures to obtain sustainable development goals and eliminate poverty.

Innovation is considered a necessary way on track for the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) which the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has attempted to pursue.
Valerie Cliff, Deputy Regional Director for Asia & the Pacific and Director of Bangkok Regional Hub at symposium in Hanoi on September 4. Photo: UNDP

UNDP continues affirming that innovation is among measures in achieving the SDGs and eradicating poverty, Deputy Regional Director for Asia & the Pacific and Director of Bangkok Regional Hub Valerie Cliff said at a symposium held in Hanoi on September 4. 

Innovation trajectory needs to be contextualized and adapted to local circumstances to respond to its citizens’ needs and help achieve equality and inclusion, she said.

Reasons to pursue innovation 

Valerie Cliff noted that UNDP’s goal is to bring transformational capacity to the countries and the governments the program work with, learning together with them about new approaches that tackle systemic challenges like climate change, waste or inequality.

ASEAN nations are also among countries that promote inclusion and equality by doing innovation, therefore, UNDP’s symposium this year aims to shape the trajectory of innovation in this region to ensure no one left behind, she said.

The purpose also aims to meet the specific SDG challenges the region faces namely plastic and air pollution, gender equality, future of work or increasing income inequality. 

For that reason, Valerie Cliff highlighted the necessity of innovation in ASEAN as the bloc continues to be one of the most important economic regions in the world with significant potential to influence the global trajectory, in terms of both achieving the SDGs and mainstreaming innovations that are inclusive and financially sustainable. 

This symposium focuses on the idea of “innovation” which is creating innovation for its own sake to re-frame and re-prioritize how we perceive, value and create innovations that matter, such that it engages all strata of society, she said.

UNDP continues the collaboration with Government of Vietnam and the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in promoting inclusive innovations for eliminating poverty in its all dimensions. 

To create conducive environment for inclusive innovation to accelerate and achieve the SDGs, it is neccessary to pay attention to three key policy design considerations

The first is to embrace the role of the state in setting a direction for innovation at all levels of government. Innovation has a direction and it can help or hinder the speed and scale of leveling the playing field upon which poverty sits.

The second is to remember that innovation is contextual. It cannot copy and paste success factors or failures. 

The third is to engage citizens throughout the policy process.  Many governments are already starting to shift their approach in regards to how they listen, respond and in some cases, even anticipate, what citizens need and want. 

“While those three considerations are critical, it is important to stress that it is only through collaboration, self-reflection, experimentation and transformative thinking that we can overcome development challenges and achieve Agenda 2030, Valerie Cliff stressed.