16 November 2018, Bangkok - The Royal Thai Government and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched a new Regional Innovation Centre, in Bangkok, this Friday, to spearhead novel development solutions, to support countries across the region.
The Regional Innovation Centre will be on the forefront of spotting, understanding and integrating new development approaches into the work of the governments across the region, as well as UNDP, and other partners.
The Asia Pacific region hosts two-thirds of the world's megacities, represents over 40 percent of the global economy, and is home to massive technological innovation. The Centre will tap into this enormous potential to try to resolve some of the toughest development challenges, such as poverty, inequality, urbanization, and helping communities to adapt to climate change.
“UNDP is committed to working with countries in the Asia Pacific region to harness innovation brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific. “It offers tremendous opportunities to take forward strategic innovations that are evidence-based and inclusive both in terms of design and impact that will help in achieving the SDGs in the region and across the world.”
Through research and development programmes, targeted policies, and a series of initiatives over the past several years, the Government of Thailand has been driving innovation across multiple sectors including the automobile, food, fashion and software industries.
“The Royal Thai Government shares this strategic and regional vision of addressing key present and future development challenges through innovation,” said Dr.Thosaporn Sirisumphand, Secretary General at the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Thailand. “Through this collaboration with UNDP we will be able to facilitate learning and sharing among countries in the region, and showcase successful approaches and solutions both from Thailand and the region.”
In recent years, UNDP in Asia and the Pacific has leveraged innovation to generate new development responses and robust development solutions, and unlock partnerships with Governments, the private sector, academia and innovation networks. For instance, in Thailand, UNDP works with government to apply innovation in the public health service. The prototype in a hospital has significantly cut queuing time and is being replicated across hospitals in Thailand.
The Innovation Centre will approach its activities through a portfolio of experiments that address systemic risks of countries in the region, and articulate appropriate interventions that can be scaled for wider impact.
The goal is to drive new learning and to instill a culture of innovation in government departments across the region, as well as in UNDP and its partners. Through the collective effort of stakeholders and an extensive innovation network, the aim is to support region the achievement of the SDGs, in Asia and the Pacific.
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