The UNDP Accelerator Labs hold global innovation fest in Thimphu to codify experimentation that advances sustainable development

At this global event in Bhutan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Labs Network will present experimentation as a key to research and development to advance sustainable development

July 2, 2024

Hosted by UNDP Bhutan, 57 innovators and researchers, including the Accelerator Labs’ Heads of Experimentation from 53 countries gather for the four-day UNDP Global R&D Experimentation Codification Fest.

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

2 July 2024: Testing sustainable development solutions before deploying at scale is critical for solving today’s complex and fast-changing challenges. The Experimentation Teams from the UNDP Accelerator Labs Network, the world’s largest and fastest learning Network on complex sustainable development challenges, are experimenting with and testing the potential of on-the-ground solutions to see what works and what doesn’t.

During these four days, a catalogue of best practices for experimentation—including tools, methods, tactics, values, and theories essential for effective experimentation will be developed.

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

At the four-day UNDP Global R&D Experimentation Codification Fest, a diverse gathering unlike any other hosted by UNDP Bhutan, 57 innovators and researchers, including the Accelerator Labs’ Heads of Experimentation from 53 countries, will work towards a common goal. The participants will codify the practice of experimentation to deepen and widen its use as a crucial sustainable development tool.

Group discussions and reflection sharing during the event.

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

In doing so, the UNDP Accelerator Labs Network will collectively reflect on their experiences, insights and learnings in practicing experimentation in diverse country contexts over the last five years. Based on this rich wealth of varied experiences, a catalogue of experimentation best practices, including tools, methods, tactics, values and theories critical for practicing experimentation, will be developed for use by practitioners within and outside UNDP. The Experimentation Codification Fest will feature sessions on Bhutan’s innovation ecosystem, and experimentation in the context of private sector partnerships amongst others

Kunzang Wangmo, Heads of Experimentation UNDP Bhutan sharing her experience.

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

Covering 114 countries including Bhutan, the 90 UNDP Accelerator Labs are operating in an open, globally distributed R&D capability for the Sustainable Development Goals, leveraging local innovations through catalyzing localized action and adopting community-centered experimental approaches to reimagine sustainable development for the 21st century.

Mohammad Younus, Resident Representative UNDP Bhutan, welcoming the entire team.

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

“UNDP is promoting innovative approaches to development around the world including through the work of our Accelerator Labs Network that taps into grassroots innovation in the countries they work in. This event is a great platform to exchange experiences and learn from each other, and share innovative ideas, knowledge and solutions for tackling multi-faceted development challenges facing the world,” said Mohammad Younus, UNDP Bhutan Resident Representative.

Gina Lucarelli, Team Leader, Knowledge, Innovation M&E HQ/Executive Office UNDP

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

The UNDP Accelerator Labs Network is an initiative supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ), the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), UNDP Core Partners, the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security, and the Japan Cabinet Office. This year's events are co-funded by the Japan Cabinet Office, underscoring a commitment to inclusive innovation and sustainable development.

Caren Blume, Deputy Head of Economic Cooperation and Development, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

“The Codification Fest is an inspiring example of how global partnerships can lead to impactful solutions. Germany remains committed to supporting initiatives that promote sustainable development and innovation through collaborative efforts,” said Caren Blume, Deputy Head of Economic Cooperation and Development, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Participants during an interactive activity.

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

A part of UNDP’s drive to be an incubator for the future, the UNDP Accelerator Labs have surfaced over 6,000 grassroots-led solutions worldwide, covering all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), partnered with over 1,500 actors, and tested new data sources to keep pace with the speed of change. The Labs amplify the voices of those closest to the problems and diversify information sources to understand development challenges and take action.

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