UNDP Accelerator Lab Thailand and Youth Co:Lab incubate Thai-Lao multisectoral teams to innovate creative ideas to tackle cross-border air pollution, presenting to policy planners and competing for awards for idea scale-up in local areas.

April 1, 2024

Bangkok - 1 April 2024 – UNDP Accelerator Lab Thailand and Lao PDR, along with Youth Co:Lab under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the Embassy of Luxembourg, and GIZ, have brought the three Thai-Lao multisectoral teams that have made it to the final round of Clean Air Without Border innovation challenge, the Thailand-Lao PDR cooperation project to innovate solutions for air pollution problems. The three finalist groups present their ideas to the committee at the United Nations Office in Bangkok to compete for the award of $6,000 USD to support the implementation and expansion of their ideas in the respective areas. The three teams that advanced to the final round include Nikorai, Voice Fight Dust, and AiroVet, who will be presenting their solution ideas to the judging committee representing various relevant agencies, including the Department of Pollution Control of Thailand, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, the Northern Breath Council of Thailand, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Lao PDR, the National University of Laos, a Lao-based social responsibility consulting firm, and the UNDP in Asia-Pacific.


In March 2020, when PM2.5 level in Chiang Mai province reached 170 micrograms per cubic meter, which is considered to have a significant impact on health or falls into the red category, it has affected the health of Thai and Lao people, as well as neighboring countries severely. Therefore, since 2021, the UNDP Accelerator Lab in Thailand and  Youth Co:Lab have been promoting a co-creation approach to address and respond to air pollution in the areas. In 2023, we joined hands with UNDP Accelerator Lab Lao PDR expanded our effort to foster cross-border collaboration. Ten multisectoral teams from both Thailand and Lao PDR have exchanged information, jointly unpacked and analyzed problems with other stakeholders in the area, and then adopt design thinking methodology to generate ideas that address and respond to the challenges in the area and can be implemented practically. These ten teams have come up with diverse ideas, ranging from utilizing agricultural wastes—one of the causes of air pollution—to creating useful products, and facilitating cross-border communication.


The issue of air pollution reflects the nature of a new generation of development challenges that transcends borders, systematically interconnecting environment, health, social, and economic aspects. It is akin to the tip of the iceberg, as it is a daily-life concern but rooted deeply in structural causes embedded within the economic and social systems including corruption issues and disparities between farmers and capitalists, leading to unsustainable land management practices like illegal burning of farm waste that causes air pollution. Hence, UNDP's development approach to address these urgent and complex challenges emphasizes grassroots innovation rather than solely relying on top-down policies, which may not respond to local contexts. It also advocates for systemic solutions rather than silo approaches, aiming to accelerate Thailand’s progress towards achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Read more: https://t.ly/KeW0N

For press release in Thai, read here



Contact Persons:

Pattamon Rungchavalnont, Head of Solutions Mapping, UNDP Accelerator Lab Thailand: pattamon.rungchavalnont@undp.org 

Nutthapon Rathie, Head of Experimentation, UNDP Accelerator Lab Thailand: nutthapon.rathie@undp.org 

Nitchakan Daramatat, Youth Engagement and Social Innovation Officer, UNDP in Thailand: nitchakan.daramatat@undp.org 

Karnklon Raktham, Head of Communications, UNDP in Thailand karnklon.raktham@undp.org