UNTIL (United Nations Technology Innovation Lab) Mauritius is set to become the best possible instrument to address the question of how to best go through the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as what is the support that technology will offer to the new society that will emerge post 2030 Agenda in the areas of peace and security, human rights and rule of law.
This statement was made by the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden, yesterday, at the launching ceremony at the One Cathedral Square Building, in Port-Louis, of a workshop for the establishment of a United Nations Technology Innovation Lab in Mauritius.
The Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Ambassador Mrs U. C. Dwarka Canabady, the UNDP Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and UNFPA Representative, Mrs C. N. Umotoni, and the Chief Strategic Solutions, UN Office of ICT, Dr M. Maurizio were present. The latter gave an overview of the UNTIL project.
The two-day workshop is kick-starting the process of how to re-strategise with different Ministries and strengthen partnerships in taking the UNTIL project forward. UNTIL Mauritius is poised to become an effective tool to address key areas of Government concern by leveraging emerging technology and present opportunities to resolve pressing challenges.
In his keynote address, Minister Sawmynaden stated that there is no doubt that the UN Tech Lab programme could assist in strengthening Mauritius' ranking in the Global Innovation Index in relation to the achievement of the SDGs as well as cement Mauritius' lead and assistance to other countries who are looking at the Mauritius model and which face similar challenges.
For the Minister, the vision is to establish UNTIL Mauritius as a prominent Africa hub and as a key pillar of the global UNTIL network working on priority emerging technology implementation (Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, cyber-physical systems, Big Data) in areas initially identified by Government such as: e-governance; empowering youth and women in small and medium enterprises; and ocean economy and ecotourism.
UN Technology Innovation Labs
The goal of the UN Technology Innovation Labs is to function as a start-up environment and create a platform for collaborative problem-solving between UN resources, private sector, academia and civil society.
Each Lab will facilitate linking this platform with innovators and mentors from across the globe as well as facilitate the global exchange of ideas and resources. UNTIL will function as a laboratory and tool, offering advisory support and guidance that will facilitate problem-solving through hands-on workshops, immersion-learning, and incubated projects.
The United Nations Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT) is establishing these labs by using cutting-edge technology currently available, such as artificial intelligence and internet of things to answer SDGs challenges.
The OICT is setting up new UNTIL Labs locations in Europe, Africa and Asia. It is expected that these UNTIL Labs will enable Member States to share technologies that are scalable and engage in adoption of replicable solutions addressing systemic global problems, therefore accelerating the implementation of UN mandates.