The multi-coloured traditional dhow boat popularly known as Flipflopi, the first dhow made entirely of recycled plastic, resting serenely on the grass at UN Environment headquarters in Nairobi where it was on display during the Fourth UN Environment Assembly. PHOTO/UN ENVIRONMENT
- The Sustainable Innovation Expo 2019 – launched today at the UN Environment Assembly – is a solution-based platform for engaging everyone in sustainability issues.
- Other themes explored include the use of big data for environmental problem-solving and unleashing the entrepreneurship of women in the green sector.
By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN
The Sustainable Innovation Expo kicks off on Monday at the UN Environment Assembly in Kenya, where it will showcase over 42 technologies and innovative solutions from around the world.
The Expo is the UN Environment Assembly’s solution-based platform for engaging innovators using exhibitions that reveal the latest technologies, panel discussions, and networking opportunities. The Expo’s objective is to find solutions for today’s problems by embracing a “forward-thinking culture that fosters ingenuity.”
This year’s event – from 10–-15 March – focuses on Eco-Innovation and Sustainable Finance.
“Some of the most important solutions to the climate crisis – and to biodiversity loss, and to so many other challenges – will come from innovation,” says Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment. “Innovation must work for all, not for the few – but creating innovation is also not the preserve of the few.
“Every day we are seeing more promising examples of positive action – from emissions-free tuk tuks, to cutting-edge alternatives to single-use plastic, to new climate-smart ways of managing our forests and farmlands.”
Innovative sustainable business represents a trillion-dollar opportunity that can bring value to people and the environment. Some of the organizations pioneering new technologies at the event include Airbus, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Switch Africa Green.
Other exhibitors include a Canadian company that uses shipping containers to create affordable and sustainable housing; an Indian solution that provides solar-powered cooling for fruits, vegetables and other perishable commodities fresh; and a group of Kenyan students who have designed an Aquaponic system that recirculates water and ensures maximum production of fish in smaller spaces.
The intention of the Forum is to connect innovators with investors and partners, thus allowing for ideas to be scaled through investment and/or mentoring.
This edition of the Expo covers topics such as:
Embracing big data and artificial intelligence for the environment;
Harnessing the power of business and citizens as active co-creators and problem solvers;
Unleashing the creativity and entrepreneurship of women in the green sector;
Promoting eco-innovation, a type of business approach that promotes sustainability through the entire life cycle of a product.
The Expo will include panel discussions where participants can share experiences on life-cycle challenges and solutions.
“The 2019 UN Environment Assembly focuses on the role of innovation in changing the choices we make and how we consume and produce,” said Msuya. “Our aim is to provide global leadership and catalyze intergovernmental action necessary for us to live sustainably.”