UNDP’s Accelerator Labs were built in 2019 to change the way UNDP does development by learning what works and what doesn’t in sustainable development to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in time. Because of the speed, dynamics and complexity of today’s challenges we’re not progressing fast enough, and current development practices must keep up with the pace of change.
As an agile incubator of ideas and solutions, we are “the fast and the curious” as we search for local solutions and forge partnerships to make extraordinary breakthroughs on complex global challenges.
"Our flagship initiative – now active in 115 countries – has influenced UNDP’s organizational culture to become more agile in the face of uncertainty. Thanks to the visionary support of Germany and Qatar, the UNDP Accelerator Labs Network was able to create new capabilities to reimagine and help drive development for the 21st Century.”
- Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator
The Accelerator Labs are the largest and fastest learning Network on sustainable development challenges.
But what’s in a name? We have 91 Labs covering 115 countries which are embedded in UNDP’s global policy teams and country offices. The Accelerator Labs are designed to close the gap between the current practices of international development and the accelerated pace of change. Each Lab is comprised of three team members: Head of Solutions Mapping, Head of Experimentation, and Head of Exploration, each possessing unusual skillsets.
“[T]he UNDP Accelerator Lab Network is an ambitious experiment and is already a success. It was launched as a deliberate disruption to the usual way that UNDP operates, and to increase the credibility of UNDP as a partner of choice for 21st century sustainable development challenges. It is both a unique organizational intervention at a national level as well as one working at a global scale, learning across a network of development practitioners across the world.”
- Independent Midterm Evaluation 2021
Investing in innovation takes a particular kind of foresight and a willingness to reach beyond what is already known to achieve greater heights. Thanks to our founding investors, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ), and the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), the UNDP Accelerator Lab Network is moving the needle forward on the most challenging problems facing sustainable development.
Read our Annual Report for more on how we work as well as stories of innovators, entrepreneurs and grassroots solution-holders.
Our partners are at the heart of the UNDP Accelerator Lab Network. They provide strategic advice, expertise and financial resources. They extend the capabilities and reach of the Network and help direct it by investing in this joint venture. Our partners also benefit from insights into emergent demands around complex development challenges.
We’re always looking for partners to join us in investing and contributing knowledge to this global effort.