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Which innovations will bring us closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals?

12/06/2019

As we get closer to 2030, we will increasingly need to collaborate and to draw on the strengths of different actors to address the challenges we face. In the context of EXCO, the first Italian Expo on international cooperation, FAO, the Future Food Institute and the PRIMA Foundation (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Areas) organized a hackathon on the SDGs, centered on the challenge of “How might international cooperation and collaboration contribute to the transition towards the sustainable development framework?”

The ten-day event kicked off on May 7 at FAO headquarters. Participants from a wide variety of backgrounds, including academia, NGOs and civil society organizations, private companies, governments and international organizations and media came together to innovate around three themes: People, Planet and Prosperity. Following an initial brainstorm, participants chose to work on ideas that would contribute to six goals in particular: SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, and SDG 13: Climate Action.

The three winners of the hackathon were honored during a ceremony on May 17 at EXCO:

  • Mwape K. Mubukwanu, from Zambia, was chosen for her project on sustainable nutrition, which seeks to improve child nutrition and maternal child health using local foods (Goal 2).
  • Manfredi Valeriani, from Italy, was selected for “Luisa”, a digital storytelling platform named for Luisa Guidotti Mistrali, a missionary and doctor, which uses personal stories to teach others about the 2030 Agenda (Goal 4).
  • The third winner, Eliot Gee, from the United States, created a digital platform to connect farmers with scientists with the aim of fighting climate change (Goal 13).

Roberto Ridolfi, Assistant Director-General of FAO’s Programme Support and Technical Cooperation Department, was delighted about the interest this event has raised in various countries and the active participation it generated. Cristina Petracchi, the head of the FAO e-learning Center, welcomed the hackathon as a unique opportunity to come up with ideas that could make a difference. “It is through brainstorming and collaborative processes like this hackathon that innovation is generated,” she said. “We must work together to come up with sustainable solutions for our planet, to reduce food waste, improve the efficiency of food systems, use green energy and create gender and culturally sensitive societies where solidarity, integration and tolerance are a priority.”

"Only through concrete solutions will the international community be able to respond to the challenges of sustainable development,” said Angelo Riccaboni, the Chair of PRIMA Foundation. “It is crucial to actively engage researchers, young leaders and innovators in the implementation of Agenda 2030 in order to promote sustainable development.”

The three winners have been awarded a scholarship to attend the Future Food Institute’s “Future Food 4 Climate Change” summer school. The programme, developed in partnership with the FAO e-learning center and supported by the UN and Youth Climate Leaders Network, will train the next generation of “climate shapers” through a series of programmes which aim to accelerate action on climate and the SDGs. “We are confident that we are investing our resources in the best possible way,” said Sara Roversi, the founder of Future Food Institute. “Through education for the future, young leaders will shape the climate crisis starting from ag-food tech.”

The summer schools will be held in New York (July 10-17), Tokyo (August 1-8) and Iceland (September 1-7).

For more information on the programme and how to apply, please visit https://futurefood.network/institute/summerschool

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