Re-Imagining development for the 21st century
The speed, dynamics, and complexity of today’s challenges are fundamentally different from previous eras. Consider these looming challenges: the impact of artificial intelligence on employment; the potential for disinformation on social media; the need for policies that keep up with and drive innovation, while protecting human rights. Addressing these requires radically new approaches that match their complexity.
The Accelerator Labs are UNDP’s new way of working in development. Together with our core partners, the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany, 60 Labs serving 78 countries will work together with national and global partners to find radically new approaches that fit the complexity of current development challenges.
Being part of a globally integrated network, each Lab will draw inspiration from both local solutions and those identified elsewhere within the network. Working in parallel, Labs will benefit from each other in real-time, creating a powerful collective learning effect. The local Acc Lab will also help to harness solutions from all over the world to assist Mauritius, including Rodrigues, and Seychelles, in the face of global challenges such as climate change, COVID-19, and socio-economic uncertainty, among others.
The Accelerator Labs
Embedded within UNDP office, the Accelerator Labs will provide national partners with a set of new services to explore, test and grow solutions for complex sustainable development problems. Our approaches include:
- Sense-making: Labs will analyse, in almost real time, the local context challenges to identify connections and patterns to anticipate new avenues of work and act effectively to accelerate development.
- Solutions mapping: In close collaboration with local partners, the Labs will identify grassroots solutions and stretch their potential to accelerate development.
- Collective intelligence: The Labs will use collective intelligence to support partners better understand facts and ideas, develop new solutions, promote more inclusive decision making, and provide better oversight of what is done.
- Designing and testing: The Labs will simultaneously test approaches to tackle a singular complex development problem. This systematic process will allow learning to happen in weeks or months rather than years.
The success of Labs will be seen in three ways: their influence on nurturing experimentation and accelerating development programming, their impact on government policy, and their ability to inspire spin-off public and private ventures.
More information at: acceleratorlabs.undp.org
New threats to food security ahead for Mauritius – what are the emerging solutions?
As global shocks persist, Mauritius, which produces less than 25 percent of its food products, must urgently find solutions to address food security and deal with an increasing number of food-insecure households among the population.
Designing the Future of Tourism: Expanding the access of small operators to new market segments via the existing ICT infrastructure
The Republic of Mauritius, which includes the island of Rodrigues, has improved its Information and Communication Technology infrastructure over the past decade. The country ranked first in Africa in the ITU ICT Development Index 2017, the ITU Global Cybersecurity Index 2018 and the UN e-Government Development Index 2020. During a two-day dialogue held in December 2021, participants were asked whether local MSMEs in the tourism sector could leverage the existing ICT infrastructure to expand their access to senior tourists and to digital nomads by providing them with targeted products and services. Here are the answers obtained.
A survey to collect data on the aspirations of young people in the local tourism value chain
The tourism industry has been an economic lifeline and driver of development for many Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a complete halt to the global travel and tourism industry, and many SIDS such as Mauritius and Seychelles have seen a decline in visitors, which has left them without a key revenue source.
The UNDP Accelerator Lab for Mauritius and Seychelles is exploring the impact of the pandemic on young people directly and indirectly involved in the tourism value chains across Mauritius, Rodrigues, and Seychelles.
Re-imagining the Future of Tourism – Innovating and Designing with Youth
As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), Mauritius relies extensively on the tourism industry as one of the main economic drivers. With airplanes grounded and borders closed for lengthy periods in 2020 and 2021, the local tourism sector struggled. The prolonged halt in tourism activities has resulted in job losses for those already in the tourism industry while those aspiring to enter the sector face key concerns regarding job security.
Designing the Future of Tourism for the Republic of Mauritius: Re-Imagining Health Infrastructure
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the necessity to explore new grounds for tourism in the Republic of Mauritius. In the ongoing global pandemic context, the country aims at attracting more senior tourists and digital nomads - two promising yet different markets segments. To reimagine the local tourism value chain, the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab is testing hypotheses about the country’s ability to reach these two target markets, while upholding a tourism model that is sustainable, inclusive, and respectful of the cultural and ecological nature of our islands.
Financial literacy: an experiment to empower women entrepreneurs of Mauritius and Rodrigues
Through simple online videos delivered in Mauritian Creole on precise finance topics, and an online forum to facilitate peer-to-peer learning, many Mauritian women entrepreneurs could benefit from a more flexible solution towards improving their financial knowledge.
Women entrepreneurs are contributing greatly to the resilience of the country and there are good reasons to believe that they could contribute even more. The UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab plans to test the hypothesis that women, irrespective of their knowledge of finance, can run their businesses better after accessing financial literacy material.
The Power of Humans and Data – Why Local and Contextualised Data Matters
The role of the UNDP Accelerator Labs is to explore ‘weak signals’ of key emerging issues with the potential for high development impact, and to map effective solutions to systemic and complex social issues while also experimenting before taking them to scale. To do this, the Labs rely on local communities to generate valuable population data that can steer them in the right direction towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where we know that recent events have both stalled and reversed progress. But reports can tell us only so much. The information that data gives us, and the knowledge we gain is limited. If we go beyond data, then a different picture begins to emerge.
Volunteerism: Our ‘Legacy’ to the Next Generation
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, recognises that volunteerism is a powerful tool to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With 2030 fast approaching, we need all hands on deck and make use of all available resources to reach our set targets . With an estimated more than a billion volunteers around the world, volunteerism is a key resource that can be better harnessed, nurtured, and passed on to the next generation.
Building a GRassroot Innovation Database (GRID) for Seychelles, Mauritius and Rodrigues
The problems that human societies will face in the future will be complex, and it will take the very best minds, working as a collective, to solve them. The GRassroot Innovation Database (GRID), which is being built by the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab, will include the Seychellois, Mauritian and Rodriguan innovators and the grassroot solutions they have worked on over the years. Through this initiative, innovators from our islands will be brought to the forefront and their solutions upscaled to the national and regional levels.
Open Borders: New Opportunities for MSMEs in the Tourism Sector in Mauritius?
A couple of weeks ago, the UNDP Mauritius Accelerator Lab held a Collective Intelligence exercise bringing together a multi-stakeholder group of 15 key informants from diverse backgrounds and sectors. The aim was to gather insights about Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). As Mauritius reopens its borders to international travel, we set out to learn about the opportunities and challenges this presents for the MSMEs in the tourism sector.
Rodrigues Island – Driving Green Innovation in the Tourism Sector during the COVID-19 pandemic
Rodrigues, like many other Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), is highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as cyclones, droughts, flash floods and to the adverse effects of climate change. However, over the years, the Rodriguan population has built up an adaptive capacity while steadily championing a way out through sustainable conservation principles and innovative practices. During our exploration journey across the ‘stress-free island’, we confirmed that the Rodriguan people were very concerned about leaving a greening legacy to the younger generation.
UNDP Accelerator Lab : First Collective Intelligence Exercise with Stakeholders of the Tourism Sector
Since its launch in April 2021, the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab has engaged with several stakeholders in the tourism sector, at various levels, to understand how local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have been impacted by the pandemic. As Mauritius is set to open its borders on 15 July, the level of optimism in the tourism sector is increasing but the re-opening also comes with a set of challenges, particularly for local MSMEs which will have to adapt quickly.
Re-imagining the Future of Work Towards Building Back Better and Leaving No One Behind
The tourism sector has been on pause since March 2020 in Mauritius. Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector had on average contributed about 7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Mauritius over the past 10 years, and in 2019, accounted for 22% of employment. The impact of this sharp decline in tourism is being felt, first and foremost, at the level of people and households. While the Government Wage Assistance Scheme (GWAS) to ensure sustained livelihoods continues to be a warranted initiative, can it really withstand a protracted period of pandemic-induced uncertainty?
UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab launched to boost grassroots innovations across islands of the Indian Ocean.
UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles has officially joined the UNDP Global Accelerator Lab Network on Wednesday 21 April 2021, coinciding with UN World Creativity and Innovation Day. Represented by Melany Poorun-Sooprayen, Head of Exploration, Ayooshee Dookhee, Head of Solutions Mapping, and Avinash Meetoo, Head of Experimentation, the Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab will leverage grassroots innovations, explore emerging trends, and run experiments with multiple actors to enrich the projects of the UNDP and accelerate progress towards the 2030 UN Agenda.
Launching the Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab
The UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles multi-country Accelerator Lab is launching on 21 April at 15:00-16:30 (GMT+4). One of a few of its kind in the entire lab network, and based in Port-Louis, Mauritius, the Accelerator Lab will operate across three islands: Mauritius, Rodrigues, and Seychelles.
SIDS: Small Islands, Resilient Nations
“We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.”- Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 2015, A/RES/70/1
Mauritius, Rodrigues and Seychelles now have their Accelerator Lab
The UNDP Country Office in Mauritius and Seychelles now has its own Accelerator Lab as part of the global Accelerator Lab Network. The Accelerator Lab includes Ayooshee Dookhee, Head of Solutions Mapping, Melany Poorun-Sooprayen, Head of Exploration, and Avinash Meetoo, Head of Experimentation. The objectives set by the new team are to help the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles achieve the 17 UN sustainable development goals by leveraging on grassroots innovations and emerging trends, and by running experiments with multiple actors.