By tapping into emerging local expertise, including that of young people, the initiative, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), aims to foster innovation to resolve some of the country’s most pressing development challenges
‘Young people are our future. If we are to realize the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we must ensure that their voices are amplified, and their participation promoted at every step.’ This was at the heart of the message delivered by Valérie Taton, UNICEF Representative in Timor-Leste, at the recent launch of the country’s first-ever Accelerator Lab.
Timor-Leste has been chosen to host one of the global network of 60 Accelerator Labs serving 78 countries around the world.
The Accelerator Lab initiative provides a platform for creativity, sensemaking, exploration, experimentation and solutions for sustainable development, driven by UNDP in Timor-Leste in partnership with UNICEF.
Opening remarks at the event were also delivered by H.E. Dr Jose Ramos Horta, former President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and Nobel Laureate; Tuya Altangerel, UNDP Resident Representative; and Roy Trivedy, the UN Resident Coordinator in Timor-Leste. More than 150 invitees representing government, development partners, donors and UN staff took part in the launch event, turning out to see first-hand some of the innovative work being done by young people, change makers and entrepreneurs in Timor-Leste.
The displays of innovative solutions by youth included robotics, 3D printed material for education and other uses, social enterprises, a youth group that provides a platform for young people to discuss issues they face and identify how to resolve them, youth promoting maternal nutrition, and arts and craft using bamboo and other materials.
Through the Accelerator Lab, UNDP and UNICEF aim to support innovation and solutions driven by youth and community members across Timor-Leste.