GIS – 14 November, 2019: The second feasibility workshop for the establishment of the United Nations Technology Innovation Lab (UNTIL) opened, today, at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, in Balaclava. The Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Ambassador Mrs Usha C. Dwarka Canabady, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Ms Christine Umutoni, and, the Head of UNTIL Global Programme, Mr Maurizio Maria Gazzola, were present.
The workshop brings together stakeholders in the public sector, academia, private sector, non-governmental organisations, and other parties engaged with innovation. The objective is to validate the findings of the draft Feasibility Study report and present the strategic plan for a three-year horizon operation of the Lab.
Speaking on the occasion, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs commended the UN for choosing Mauritius, a Small Island Developing State, to host the UNTIL and extended gratitude to the United Nations Development Programme for their continuous support. The workshop, she emphasised, is of utmost importance as all received project proposals will be discussed, assessed and fine-tuned following which the UNTIL will be elaborated, adding that the present workshop is a follow-up of a previous one held on 30 October 2019.
Referring to the UNTIL, Mrs Canabady stated that it will promote the creation and development of new and innovative technologies with focus on empowering academia, entrepreneurs and research institutions in Mauritius. This Innovation Lab, she further underlined, will put in place tools, data and business models which have been developed by other labs. It will also help to fill in gaps which hinder collaborative research and promote synergies both at local and international levels, she added.
In her concluding remarks, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs underlined that UNTIL Mauritius will therefore serve as a platform to invent, incubate and accelerate technology-based products and services that would enable innovators to work in concert with those conducting research projects.
For his part, the Head of UNTIL Global Programme, Mr Maurizio Maria Gazzola, highlighted that the UNTIL will not only enable citizens to engage in technology innovation but will also allow actors of the innovation ecosystem to collaborate in building local digital technology solutions for global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In his presentation, he elaborated on the UNTIL Labs which are already operational in Egypt, India, Finland and Malaysia.
UNTIL Mauritius, he stated, will address key identified thematic areas which are as follows: Life Below Water - SDG 14, Climate Action - SDG 13, Quality Education - SDG 4, and Reduced Inequalities - SDG 10.
As for the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Christine Umutoni, she said that the establishment of the UNTIL for Mauritius will foster technological innovations and will thus help to support the SDGs and contribute to achieving the UN’s Agenda 2030.
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