The UN Foundation, the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service and the Global Innovation Exchange Announce the Second Annual Solutions Summit in Support of the Sustainable Development Goals

Ten Finalists To Present Their Sustainable Solutions At The United Nations Headquarters On September 21

New York, New York

September 21, 2016


Megan Rabbitt

Today, the UN Foundation, the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN NGLS), and the Global Innovation Exchange, in collaboration with the SDG Philanthropy Platform, the Global Entrepreneurs Council, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network announce the second annual Solutions Summit to take place on September 21 at UN Headquarters.The effort was also supported by three private sector leaders who are working to integrate an SDG solutions-based approach into their business: Qualcomm Wireless Reach, MasterCard and Guggenheim Partners.

During the Solutions Summit, a group of selected global innovators will present their sustainable solution pitch to an audience of senior policymakers who have the means to pave solid regulatory foundations, investors who care deeply about long-term change and impact, and industry leaders who are able to deploy quickly and at scale. The gathering will serve as a catalyst to convene resources and talent around solution-makers.

“If the global community is to live up to our commitments to end extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change by 2030, we will need to see more solutions that tackle these issues and help reach the most vulnerable people as quickly as possible,” says Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation. “The Solutions Summit will help spotlight exceptional innovators who are developing solutions that are making progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”

The first Solutions Summit in 2015 immediately followed the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by all countries. It showed that people already have extraordinary solutions in progress to some of our most complex challenges. For 2016, the Solutions Summit will highlight projects that advance the objectives of 5 conferences centered on themes where the international community has identified the need for early action on the SDG agenda: the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, the UN Habitat III Conference, the UN Climate Change Conference, the Open Government Partnership Global Summit, and the UN Oceans Conference.

The ten finalists were identified through a global call for solutions and selected through a transparent and participatory process coordination by UN NGLS. “We convened a regionally and gender balanced Selection Committee of leading innovators and technologists from around the world to review nearly 440 applications,” explains Susan Alzner, Head of the UN-NGLS NY office. “The Committee and the Solutions Summit co-organizers worked together to assess projects for their potential to create significant positive global impact if scaled.”

All applicants could select to have their profile and project information uploaded to the Global Innovation Exchange – an online community of more than 10,000 innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors addressing global challenges. The Exchange connects innovators including students, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and civil society organizations to global funding, markets, and support to help accelerate their vision. Funding opportunities on the Exchange range from awards and prizes to grants and seed funding.

2016 Solutions Summit Finalists

Rainier Mallol, Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemiology (Dominican Republic)

WHO reported the incidence of dengue cases increased from 2.2 million in 2010 to 3.2 million in 2015. Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemiology’s (AIME) platform provides critical information for disease prediction and outbreak management via machine learning and artificial intelligence with the goal to identify the location of the next disease outbreak up to three months before it occurs. AIME can predict the outbreak of Dengue Fever with 87% accuracy through an algorithm that uses 11 different variables like weather data, construction data, dengue death data and other points.

Christopher White, Atmocean (United States)

Carbon sequestration, or the drawdown of carbon already in the atmosphere, is one potential solution for climate change. Atmocean leverages the natural power of the ocean to green arid lands and freshwater to rural coastal areas. It starts offshore with wave energy converters that operate ocean pumps driven by waves that move pressurized sea-water to an onshore desalination plant where the sea water can be converted into fresh water. The fresh water is then delivered to drip irrigation pipe networks, creating new agricultural cropland in the rural coastal desert regions.

Zubaida Bai, Ayzh (India)

Female refugees and migrants continue to suffer from a lack of access to essential health products around vulnerable times of menstruation and childbirth. Ayzh has an innovative model for developing and distributing simple, low-cost products that meet the unique needs of women in low-resource settings, targeting the entire continuum of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health. Since 2012, Ayzh has sold more than 250,000 products to more than 300 institutions in 15 countries.

Emmanuel Noah, BenBen (Ghana)

In Ghana, land-records are paper based which are easily lost, destroyed or corrupted. The lack of trust in these analog records leads to long court cases and often violent disputes. Without trusted land records financial institutions are unable to provide loans, individuals cannot prove ownership, and land investment stays stagnant. BenBen is an interactive map platform and census database that aims to tackle the inefficiencies of land administration to promote investment, reduce poverty and encourage transparent natural-resource management.

Fabrice Schnöller, DareWin (France)

Can whales help us minimize the effects of climate change, keep our oxygen supply intact and increase food production? DareWin aims is to bring to light the complex language of whales to unlock some of the mysteries of these highly evolved, large brained, sentient life forms. With advanced filming, recording and free diving techniques, DareWin translates their language and brings these animals depth, awareness and global importance to millions.

Asher Hasan, DoctHERs (Pakistan)

Three out of every four female medical school graduates in Pakistan is excluded from the health workforce, while 90% of families in urban slum and rural areas lack access to affordable, quality healthcare. doctHERs is an exclusive network of home-based, female doctors that creates inclusive employment for women in emerging markets while delivering high-quality healthcare in communities to prevent maternal-child mortality. doctHERs has launched 8 telemedicine clinics, treating more than 15,000 patients in just over 12 months while generating over $140,000 in operating revenue.

Zuraina Zaharin, Ecoloo (Sweden)

2.5 billion people have no access to proper sanitation. Ecoloo is a sustainable toilet system that uses a special formulated bacterial culture to treat human waste and transform it into natural fertilizer. In nearly ten years Ecoloos have been installed in more than 16 countries including Kenya, municipalities in Borneo, festivals in Portugal, factories in Mongolia and Korea, off grid housing for disaster areas in Malaysia and the Philippines, UNDP headquarters in Uganda and UNESCO heritage sites in Jordan. Plans are underway to begin producing up to 1 million toilets per year.

Ida Jeng, REFUNITE (Denmark)

In the past, people missing family who had exhausted personal networks could only turn to international humanitarian agencies, often having to wait for months or years without updates. REFUNITE set out to change this in 2008 with the first-ever global, web-based search tool for refugees. Now with 500,000 refugees looking for family through the platform, REFUNITE is currently the largest user-driven family tracing platform in the world. Today, REFUNITE registers 100,000 refugees and displaced persons annually and has successfully reconnected more than 20,000 family members.

ElsaMarie D’Silva, SafeCity (India)

According to UN Women, 1 in 3 women face some kind of sexual assault at least once in their lifetime. Yet 80% of girls and women do not talk about abuse for multiple reasons – fear, cultural issues, victim blaming – being a few. To mitigate the lack of reporting and create safer public spaces, SafeCity crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces via a web app. Women and girls can report their experience anonymously, allowing them to read other’s experiences thus giving them courage to break their silence.

Hend Alhinnawi, Syria Tracker (United States)

After the conflict broke out in Syria in March 2011, a group of concerned citizens created Syria Tracker, a crowd sourced online platform that allows people in Syria to share what was happening to and around them. Since its launch, hundreds of thousands of eyewitness and other reports have been submitted, giving ordinary citizens a chance to tell the world their stories.



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