Global Climate Innovation Portfolio
A problem-driven approach to action for our children’s earth
The UNICEF Climate Innovation Portfolio identifies, validates and scales transformational and frontier innovations that respond to key programmatic challenges that, if solved, will unlock faster progress for a climate secure and resilient future for children and young people.
The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis.
Almost every child on earth is exposed to at least one of the major climate and environmental shocks and stresses. From megadroughts and blistering heatwaves to staggering flooding, half of the world's children, totaling one billion, are deemed to be at extremely high risk due to a deadly combination of high exposure to climate hazards and inadequate services to support them.
Specific global challenges tackled by the UNICEF Climate Innovation portfolio include:
- Climate and environmental policy development lacks meaningful engagement from young people.
- Climate resilience and disaster risk reduction resources lack integration in emergency response.
- Without environmental sustainability and disaster risk reduction/mitigation, children’s lives, rights and futures are at risk.
- Information gaps in the demand and supply for sustainability services limit market-shaping capabilities.
The UNICEF global climate innovation portfolio aligns with a diverse partner network to champion impactful solutions, especially with and for communities in the over 190 countries where we have presence. With a shared purpose, we catalyze increased investments to source, pilot, iterate, and scale solutions so that they help change these communities’ realities and hopes around climate change. The UNICEF global climate innovation portfolio is one of the 9 UNICEF global innovation thematic portfolios. UNICEF defines innovation as a new or significantly improved solution that contributes to progress for children and accelerates results for children or young people.
UNICEF’s climate change innovation portfolio is currently scaling transformational climate solutions across 22 countries in four thematic areas: Air Pollution, Climate Policies for Children, Waste Innovation & Circular Economy, Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction.
Solutions part of the UNICEF Global Climate Innovation portfolio are sourced internally from the network of UNICEF country offices through internal innovation challenges. Climate solutions are also sourced externally through collaboration and partnerships with leading climate innovation accelerators and UN agencies. Lastly, we source solutions from brilliant young innovators in the communities where we work. Today, there are 3.8 billion people under the age of 30 - the largest generation that the world has ever has and we believe that if young people are equally and inclusively empowered to innovate, the potential for tackling the climate crisis unlimited.
Multi-faceted approach to raise awareness and take action to address air pollution and climate change by championing young people as climate changemakers. This initiative combines multiple applications and narratives including interactive policy scorecards, two-way communication between young people and policy makers, a teen parliament to interpret and compare policies, and a space for organizations to share research and project information.
Mongolia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo
Tool for global, regional, and country-level information and visualization system to analyze child-sensitivity considerations in new and updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to shed light on how children’s rights are being considered in climate action.
Global, Egypt, Equador, Malaysia, Malawi, Turkey, Uruguay
Online platform and provision of micro-grants facilitating youth-led climate action through local indigenous partnerships and narratives. This solution reimagines youth participation in climate and environmental action by championing local narratives and context-based innovation among young people through an innovative engagement framework.
Solution that aims to provide youth with certified solar technician skills; address systematic barriers to girls' entry into solar tech; employ a social business model that provides the YOSO School Solar certification, with graduates contributing back to the school through a work-study programme for one year; and installing solar panels in rural schools or community/health centers to reduce school costs.
East Asia & the Pacific Regional Office (Spark Incubator Winner)
Innovation lab using digital and non-digital technologies, expertise, and a center of excellence to address systemic challenges related to solid waste management. This solution provides leadership, best practices, research, support, and training to craft and deploy solutions to develop a circular economy for plastic.
Biohacking lab addressing biowaste by fostering innovation, education, skills development, and meaningful youth engagement. The initiative is creating eco-entrepreneurial solutions for a greener future by providing space and equipment for innovators, students, and teachers to experiment with biowaste repurposing, testing ideas and social innovations.
GIS platform for enhanced climate resilient humanitarian preparedness and response. This platform is designed to host, manipulate, and display spatial data related to various risk factors, including security data, humanitarian access information, climate risk indicators, and more. The project's goal is to provide decision-makers with valuable information for risk analysis and response planning in complex environments, such as Somalia.
Drone system technology for climate crisis recovery that can provide connectivity (internet and mobile services) to risk assessors in remote communities, facilitating real-time monitoring and rapid assessment to aid national coordination of disaster response.
Guatemala (Spark Incubator Winner)
Today, there are 3.8 billion people under the age of 30. If the largest generation of young people in the world are equally and inclusively empowered to innovate, the potential for progress is unlimited.
Unfortunately, the reality is that only 2.4% of climate finance from major Multilateral Climate Funds goes towards child-responsive activities. To bridge this gap UNICEF and a consortium of leading global innovation accelerators have joined forces to launch Innovation30 – Young Climate Innovators Shaping the Future.
The initiative focuses on transformative innovative solutions to climate change and places the global diversity of young innovators center stage as stakeholders, technical experts, and designers driving our climate solutions. Investing in their innovative ideas means investing in a climate-resilient future for all.
By curating an active pipeline of bold, localized climate solutions ready to scale, the initiative is expanding the sourcing frontiers of social innovator talent.