IICPSD - UNV Joint Webinar Showcased Digital Development Solutions from SDG AI Lab and UN Volunteers

June 5, 2020

Istanbul, Turkey, June 2, 2020 - UNDP IICPSD SDG AI Lab in collaboration with United Nations Volunteers organized the webinar “Data Science for SDGs, UNV – IICPSD Digital Transformation Partnership” that showcased the digital development solutions from UN Volunteers. The event also raised awareness on the importance of volunteerism, digital transformation and digital solutions for accelerating the progress towards achieving the SDGs.

UNDP IICPSD and UN Volunteers recently partnered to scale up volunteerism to support digital transformation globally. As a part of this partnership “UNV – IICPSD Digital Transformation through Volunteerism”, UNDP IICPSD has been promoting volunteerism modalities of UN Volunteers and engaging UN Volunteers to SDG relevant research streams under IICPSD’s SDG Artificial Intelligence Lab initiative. The SDG AI Lab provides research and advisory support on cutting edge digital solutions for harnessing the potential of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies for sustainable development and strengthening UNDP’s internal capacity for the increasing demand. 

On the work of SDG AI Lab and UN Volunteers Digital Transformation through Volunteerism partnership, Mr. Sahba Sobhani, Director of IICPSD, quoted:

"One of the critical factors in the digital transformation is creating the necessary capacity to be able to absorb the advanced inputs coming from the private sector and academia. This requires an understanding and command over how to utilize these technologies and the ability to integrate them into day-to-day use within the organization. In line with these, UNDP IICPSD established a partnership with UN Volunteers to facilitate the private sector engagement in digital transformation. In addition, to effectively utilize the advanced technological inputs in the development sphere, UNDP IICPSD founded the SDG Artificial Intelligence Lab. The SDG AI Lab aims to identify the needs and solutions with appropriate technologies and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of development projects through digital solutions."

Mr. Dmitry Frischin, UN Volunteers Regional Manager for Europe and CIS, presented the opportunities that can be brought by integrating of UN Volunteers modalitites and higlighted the importance of volunteerism for sustainable development. “The United Nations Volunteers is an integral part of the global volunteer family, serving to enrich with innovations, interaction, partnerships and new techniques for the better future”,  – Dmitry says. 

UNDP IICPSD SDG AI Lab presented the results from digital solutions while showcasing the contributions of UN Volunteers to digital transformation. These solutions provided insights regarding how AI, ML and GIS technologies may be utilized in the development sphere in different contexts, from social media analysis to using GIS for natural hazard risk mitigation.

For IICSPD, building up the necessary skills, know-how and understanding to respond to the increasing demand of digital solutions, is a key strategic objective. The webinar showcased that technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are crucial in accelerating the achievement of the SDGs as they offer the potential to work better, faster and more efficiently.

The global COVID-19 outbreak further increased this need and showed that the capacity to undergo digital transformation and utilize digital solutions is essential for enabling sustainable development worldwide. The webinar “Data Science for SDGs - UNV IICPSD Digital Transformation Partnership” offered important insights to showcase how digital solutions and volunteerism modalities can be leveraged to scale up and enhance the SDG implementation work of UNDP and its stakeholders.