Local innovators, the unsung climate action heroes
February 14, 2023
Last year ended with historic agreements. Agreement on a new plan to protect nature and biodiversity as our green safety net rapidly diminishes worldwide. Agreement on a “loss and damage” fund to protect the world’s most vulnerable from the devastating climate impacts unfolding.
But now is not the time to wait for these agreements to unfold. Indeed – from conserving biodiversity to nurturing healthy ecosystems and building resilient systems to cope with our changing climate and the shocks and disasters we face – communities are already taking climate action in real-time.
Every day, innovators in our communities, cities and countries are leading the charge in pioneering and growing bold, ambitious climate solutions – often unnoticed.
At UNICEF and UNDP, we believe the global crises we face are deeply interconnected. Integrated, innovative solutions play a key role in ensuring our global footprint today does not threaten the well-being of this and future generations.
Working with local communities in every corner of the globe – including youth groups, women, and marginalized communities– through a cross-portfolio approach across thematic areas– we are discovering, co-creating and scaling pivotal solutions to drive critical action on climate change.
Through the Green Shark Challenge last year, our organizations collaborated to inspire innovation and creativity among our colleagues in partnership with young innovators, local communities, governments, and implementing partners. The result: more than 100 bold approaches and initiatives to help secure a healthy planet and prosperity for all. Of these, we selected three winning solutions from Tanzania, Malaysia and North Macedonia.
In Tanzania, a joint UNICEF and UNDP initiative empowers a circular economy supporting small and medium enterprises in the recycling and upcycling business. WasteX Lab leverages the use of digital and non-digital technologies and expertise to craft and deploy solutions to address solid waste management on the island.
In Malaysia, Youth Environment Living Labs (YELL) is bringing together more than a hundred youth groups and indigenous communities to reimagine the future of climate and environmental action. YELL’s kicker CARD is connecting, training, and supporting youth environmental advocates across the country.
In North Macedonia, the Bio-Hack My World initiative is partnering with the City of Skopje to drive participation, especially from vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, in sustainable biowaste management programs.
These solutions are just the tip of the iceberg of ingenuity in budding local innovation ecosystems globally. Despite their absence from the high-level discussions of annual COP gatherings, these front-line innovators are the change makers the world needs.
Together, UNICEF and UNDP will continue to advocate for and support innovation, with people and for people, as the catalysts of transformational action toward a better future for all. We will be sharing their inspiring stories. Stay tuned!
"Every day, innovators in our communities, cities and countries are leading the charge in pioneering and growing bold, ambitious climate solutions – often unnoticed."
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