Kerala Startup Mission and Office of ICT, United Nations jointly to set up UN Technology Innovation Lab in Kerala
Trivandrum, May 3, 2017 – Kerala Government and Office of Information and Communication Technology, United Nations will soon join hands to set up the country’s first UN Technology Innovation Lab in Kerala to jointly work towards developing programs in pursuit of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Kerala Startup Mission will be spearheading this initiative on behalf of Kerala Government along with the Office of ICT, United Nations. Water and Sanitation and Mobility and Agriculture are the areas the Government of Kerala have identified as areas best suited for this Innovation Centre, as it would not only address the need for the State but also can be a collaboration lever with other member states of UN experiencing similar issues. The startups in the State will be working closely with the Innovation lab to build products addressing these issues.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “The establishment of UN Technology Innovation Lab in the State of Kerala is a big recognition for the startup ecosystem in our state. I am really happy that focus of the innovation lab in Kerala is going to be on water resources, sanitation, and sustainable agriculture, the three major intervention areas of Haritha Keralam Mission which are critical to our state. The other innovation lab is focusing on electric mobility which is a futuristic concept as on today. The fact that Kerala is hosting the UNTIL in India is a big opportunity and a major boost to our efforts to ensure sustainable and equitable development in a balanced manner.”
An Ideation Workshop was jointly organized by Kerala Startup Mission and United Nations Technology Innovations Labs (UNTIL) at Hotel Mascot to discuss the various sustainable development projects the State can initiate. IT Secretary Sivasankar IAS spearheaded the ideation workshop. UNTIL was represented by Ozzeir Khan, Chief of ICT Business Relations, Office of ICT, United Nations; Premnath Nair, Head of Operations, United Nations; and Omar Mohsine, Public-Private Partnership Coordinator, United Nations along with Subrato Basu, VP Asia Pacific Japan, Gartner Research Board, who is driving the UN project for Kerala.
The workshop had participation from leading organisations of the State Government, like Haritha Kerala Mission, Suchitwa Mission, KSEB, IT Mission, Kerala Startup Mission, Technopark, GTech, etc. The workshop held discussions on Water and Sanitation & Technology Projects; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure & Community Technology Projects; and Innovation Lab Planning, etc. Senior officials from these organisations actively participated in the various discussions and brought out major concerns which will be taken up for further discussions by the government and United Nations team to identify projects that can be worked on from the Innovation Centre in Kerala.
The United Nations aims to support Member States in harnessing Innovation by creating a permanent place where experts from the UN, academia, private sector and representatives of member states come together to share knowledge, determine best practices and solve problems, the UN Innovation Center (UN-IC). An Innovation Centre is expected to be set up in Kerala that would serve as a resource centre designed with an intent to train, host and implement models to help the member states progress towards achieving the SDG’s. The centre would be a United Nations technology project led by the Office of Information and Communication Technology and would be staffed with members from both the technology and substantive programme areas of the UN.
“Kerala has been a front runner in the startup culture and it has been a constant endeavour for us to find out how we use technology to solve common issues of common man. Water and Sanitation is today one of the State’s biggest concern and we are involved in as many initiatives to resolve this. This association with United Nations will bring to us right project interventions, global technology, expertise, network through which startups and companies in Kerala can work on a sustainable solution, meaningful development and deployment for these pressing concerns which may also become a solution for other countries or regions as well.” Said Sivasankar IAS, IT Secretary, Govt. of Kerala.
“This initiative is a great opportunity for the Startups in Kerala to involve in creating path breaking technologies that can address and resolve real life concerns of common people. The opportunity to be working along with the experts from United Nations, will open lot of avenues of learning and exposure for our startups. Said Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Startup Mission.