The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Saudi Arabia launched the Saudi Accelerator Lab
Today, UNDP officially launched its Accelerator Lab in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Accelerator Labs are part of a global initiative consisting of 91 labs supporting 115 countries to accelerate learning to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The launch introduces UNDP's novel approaches in development and highlight the organization’s work to leverage innovation through its partnership network. Participants from the Government, civil society, academy, as well as from the private sector exchanged ideas on the future of development.
The main objective of the Accelerator Labs is to accelerate learning to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
The Saudi Accelerator Lab launched under the theme of "Innovation for Positive Change: Local Reality and Challenges" at the UN house in Riyadh. The opening remarks were given by His Excellency Mr. Faisal Kattan, Assistant Deputy Minister, Senior Economist and Advisor to Minister of Economy and Planning and His Excellency Dr. Adam Bouloukos, UNDP Resident Representative.
His Excellency Dr. Adam Bouloukos mentioned in his opening remarks that ‘Saudi Arabia is in a unique moment of rapid change, change that is ensured by the combination of vision at the highest levels of Government, fiscal space, and political stability. But, all that is not enough without good ideas, without innovation that brings solutions from both within the Kingdom and beyond to bear on the problems that face us. I am confident that the UNDP accelerator lab is one critical piece of that innovation puzzle.’
In 2019, UNDP built the world’s largest and fastest learning network on sustainable development challenges.
They started with 60 Lab teams covering 78 countries and are now expanding to 91 Labs covering 115 countries. With the aim to create actionable intelligence, test solutions with national partners.
The accelerator labs are part of UNDP’s global policy teams and country offices. There are 270 Lab team members who bring bright, unusual talent into the development sector. 68 percent have experience in prototyping; 55 percent can work with citizen generated data; and 29 percent can perform tasks related to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Aligned with UNDP’s vision of gender equality, more than 50 percent of the labs' new innovation experts are women, driving our exploration and elevation of women-led solutions.
24 percent of the lab teams are repatriates — a source of pride for us that our Labs are attracting national talent back to developing countries.
Accelerator labs are part of UNDP’s drive to be an incubator for the future. To accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda, we need to be fast and curious. The Accelerator Labs are designed to close the gap between the current practices of international development in an accelerated pace of change. They model a new capability to make breakthroughs on the future of development: inequality, decarbonization, the 4th industrial revolution and new forms of governance.