UNICEF establishes key global innovation center in Stockholm

27 September 2021
Anwar and Dina present their idea in the UNICEF Innovations Lab at Start-Up Za'atari
Anwar, 14 years, and Dina, 15 years, with their invention – a lamp powered by a power bank to help children in Za’atari Refugee Camp to do their homework when there is no electricity. The girls presented their idea, developed in the UNICEF Innovations Lab, at Start-Up Za’atari, an event hosted by UNICEF and The One Foundation.

STOCKHOLM/NEW YORK, 27 September 2021 – UNICEF has established a global center for innovation in Stockholm, building on Sweden and UNICEF’s shared commitment to design and scale up innovations to match today’s challenges with tomorrow’s solutions.

”We welcome the establishment of the UNICEF innovation center in Sweden,” said the Minister for International Development Cooperation, Per Olsson Fridh. ”International development cooperation must be catalytic and innovative. Traditional aid alone cannot solve the challenges facing the world. Children and young people are our future, and innovation is an essential piece of the puzzle for future development assistance.”

By locating the central innovation center in Sweden, UNICEF and Sweden will cooperate to build a robust global innovation ecosystem working towards a brighter world for every child. This includes engaging Swedish businesses, academia and civil society who are collectively delivering international development assistance with a lens on sustainability and innovation.

”The challenges the world’s children are facing today and in the near future are vast and unprecedented in many ways,” said Fayaz King, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director of Field Results and Innovation. ”It is crystal clear that we must seize opportunities to collaborate and innovate at every turn, in our ongoing pursuit to better the world for every child.”

Having the center in Stockholm also offers an opportunity to build on promising Swedish approaches to engage children and young people in innovative thinking and solution design, and replicate this opportunity globally.  The heart of expertise come from youth themselves, in all their diversity, who offer a wealth of ideas and creativity on issues that matter to them, including climate change and mental health.

The UNICEF Office of Innovation in Sweden is expected to have around 100 employees. It will be connected as a global innovation network with UNICEF and partner thematic hubs, including learning and health, located around the world advancing innovative solutions for all children’s wellbeing.

About UNICEF Sweden

The Swedish National Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF Sweden) mobilises resources for UNICEF’s disaster and development work around the world and works for real change for children and young people. The assignment includes influencing decision-makers, informing and educating about children’s rights and reviewing and ensuring Sweden’s compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Agenda 2030. UNICEF Sweden is one of 33 national committees of UNICEF around the world.

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