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.

In the context of planetary crisis, which strongly impacts the economies of Mauritius and Seychelles, islands relying mainly on tourism, the Accelerator Lab comes at the right time to propel innovative local solutions to a forefront. Through an extensive Global Network of 91 Labs serving 115 countries, 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.

Harnessing the knowledge of the people to develop solutions that can be universally applied

In his keynote speech, Professor Anil Kumar Gupta, founder of the Honey Bee Network, emphasized the importance of grassroot innovators in finding solutions to the complex challenges of today’s world : “We have to learn from those who know, and they are not only in the labs, not necessarily in the big institution or corporations, but they are also at the grassroots level.”  Professor Gupta added that the Accelerator Lab Network is a beautiful opportunity to connect innovators from all over the world. According to him, Accelerator Labs will help to “harness the knowledge of the people to develop solutions that can be universally applied”.

Through conversations with innovators from Mauritius, Rodrigues and Seychelles, the Mauritius and Seychelles Acc Lab Team detailed their interdisciplinary and consultative approach. The heads of the Lab explained their roles which encompass meeting multiple development actors to discover, map, test, validate and upscale grassroots solutions on the three islands. Replying to Rebecca Espitalier-Noël from Foodwise, Verdaine St-Pierre from Centre de Formation Agricole Frère Remy, and Craig Francourt from the Global Shapers Community of Victoria Hub, the Acc Lab Heads stressed the importance of sharing knowledge and working together outside traditional silos. They invite the youth and all innovators from the three islands to join the initiative and build together “the largest innovation ecosystem of the region."

A new momentum for economic growth and job creation across our Island States

During the launch, Ms. Amanda Serumaga, UNDP Resident Representative for Mauritius and Seychelles, indicated that the Accelerator Lab is designed to provide the best plans to cope with today’s complex challenges. Mentioning unemployment, women empowerment and the green recovery, Ms. Serumaga specified that the new team is called to “explore emerging technologies” to address such challenges, and trigger “a new momentum for economic growth and job creation across our Island States.”

In her intervention Ms. Gina Lucarelli, UNDP Global Team Leader for Accelerator Labs, explained that the “prudently optimist previsions” for the 2030 agenda have been downed by COVID-19 and its repercussions. According to Ms. Lucarelli, “We more than ever need to elevate the experimentations of the grassroots innovators (…) and bring them to an achievement for the sustainable development cause”. In her conclusion note, Ms. Lucarelli stated “We are looking forward to see the contributions of this Acc Lab, (…) and of the ecosystem of the region, to this global endeavor.“

Professor Theesan Bahorun, Executive Director of the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) saluted the initiative of UNDP Accelerator Labs, and mentioned the various schemes proposed by the MRIC to promote innovations in Mauritius. According to Professor Bahorun, the MRIC just as the ACC Labs, has a key role to play in fostering grassroots solutions in Mauritius.

Catalysts for a next generation of developmental solutions

Mr. Christian Grün, representative of the Federal Republic of Germany, a core partner of the UNDP Accelerator Labs Global Network, stated that Acc Labs “have the potential to be catalysts for a next generation of developmental solutions.”  He added that Germany will continue to be a resolute supporter of the UNDP and that his country is looking forward to “deepening and intensifying collaboration on the Acc Labs, to see how they accelerate the holistic implementation of the 2030 agenda.”

For H.E. Mr. Louis Sylvestre Radegonde, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles, the UNDP Accelerator Lab Network is “an Incubator for the Future “. Mentioning the impacts of the pandemic on Seychelles, which depends mainly on tourism, the minister emphasized “the need to diversify and innovate”. According to him, the Accelerator Lab and its “radical approach to do development differently”, will provide novel business models for Seychelles, and foster new partnerships between the islands of the Indian Ocean.

 

For more information on the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab contact:

Melany Poorun-Sooprayen

Head of Exploration

UNDP Mauritius & Seychelles Accelerator Lab

melany.poorun-sooprayen@undp.org

 

Ayooshee Dookhee

Head of Solutions Mapping

UNDP Mauritius & Seychelles Accelerator Lab

ayooshee.dookhee@undp.org

 

Avinash Meetoo

Head of Experimentation

UNDP Mauritius & Seychelles Accelerator Lab

avinash.meetoo@undp.org

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