Saturday 15 May 2021 - 12:22:08 am

'CovHack Virtual Innovation Challenge' registration opens

DUBAI, 17th May, 2020 (WAM) -- Registration for the 'CovHack Virtual Innovation Challenge' has opened, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE announced on Sunday.

The CovHack Innovation Challenge is running under the theme ‘Circular Economy for Food’ that corresponds to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. It aims to discover innovative ways of building resilience in local and global food supply chains through shifting towards a circular economy in the post-COVID-19 world, and as mankind plans for the future.

Innovate4Good, I4G - a sourcing, networking, and innovation platform for the impact startup ecosystem - is inviting innovative and ambitious change makers from the MENA region and beyond to join its CovHack Virtual Innovation Challenge.

The challenge is taking place in collaboration with UN75, MOCCAE, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Catalyst (a Masdar-BP Initiative), Youth 4 Sustainability, and STRATECIS.

Online registration is open until 18th June 18 to startups, entrepreneurs, SMEs, young professionals, tech talent, and individual innovators under two categories - Early-Stage Startups and Teams.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said, "The UAE leadership realises the severity of the challenges facing humanity at present, and the vital role innovation plays in addressing them."

"Targeting the crucial topic of food security," he explained, "the challenge builds on our country’s solid track record in bringing people together to come up with ground-breaking solutions to urgent global issues, as well as in supporting those who need it the most."

This CovHack Challenge is particularly significant, as it is taking place in the context of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

To mark the jubilee, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has launched the ‘world’s biggest conversation’ to listen to the views of the public, and notably young people, about the world’s challenges and potential solutions.

Since the start of the initiative in January 2020, findings from 186 countries have indicated overwhelming support for global cooperation, and even more so since the COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, climate and the environment topped the list of issues that will most affect the future in the survey of over 40,000 respondents.

All participants in the UN75 dialogue will contribute to the world’s biggest conversation towards the United Nations’ centennial in 2045.

Participants will submit their solutions related to the circular economy for food across three innovation types – technologies, services, and products. The theme encompasses eight focus areas, including water efficiency, energy efficiency in agriculture, sustainable innovation in soilless growing media, sustainable greenhouse technologies and smart farming, food loss and waste management, distribution channels and delivery, sustainable packaging, and urban farming.

Speaking on the organisation’s involvement in the challenge, Fabrizio Hochschild, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Preparations for the Commemorations of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, said, "We will miss an unprecedented opportunity if we don’t use this crisis not only to recover but to recover better – in a manner that sets our communities, our countries, and our world on a healthier path economically, environmentally, and socially."

"The circular economy is one very important field where new, inspiring, and ground-breaking solutions can be found and achieved," he added.

"The UN75 Global Dialogue is about allowing people everywhere to have their say on the world they want, where they see the threats, and what their expectations are of global cooperation to address them. So, do join the conversation and speak up! Your voice will be heard," Hochschild asserted In the first round, judges will shortlist 20 of the best ideas in each of the two categories. The 40 startups and teams will then undergo mentorship to help them further develop their ideas and prototypes into viable solutions before the final project submission.

Twenty solutions will then be chosen to proceed to the semi-finals. The event will culminate in the CovHack Virtual Demo Day on 20th and 21st July. The winner in each category will receive incubation, mentorship, and acceleration opportunities.

WAM/Nour Salman/Tariq alfaham