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UNDP Launches Accelerator Lab

UNDP’s vehicle for fast-tracking development solutions harvests local expertise, identifies grassroots innovations and taps into a global network

A fast-paced world, climate change and development challenges demand re-imagining our approaches in order to provide solutions that plug in to the needs of modern societies and create a sustainable future for all. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Lao PDR caters to this demand by launching its Accelerator Lab within a global network of 60 labs serving 78 countries.

From Algeria to Zimbabwe, UNDP is changing its way of actioning its mandate of working towards a sustainable life in dignity and prosperity for all. Realising that the speed and complexity of today’s social, economic and environmental problems are fundamentally different from previous eras in history, UNDP is creating a new way of working in development, with the help of its Accelerator Labs. Partnering with the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany, the global network of Accelerator Labs will work together with national and global partners to find radically new approaches.

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The Accelerator Lab in Lao PDR will map local grassroots solutions, test them and, if found viable, scale them up to quickly answer important challenges. Examples of such development challenges that UNDP’s Accelerator Lab would want to engage with in Laos are the global plastics crisis, and youth employment.

Working together with the Ministry of Planning and Investment, as well as with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as first ports of call, and line ministries depending on the issue addressed, the Accelerator Lab will ensure that efforts are not happening in silos, behind closed doors.

“UNDP recognises that traditional approaches, that are generally designed in a linear fashion, often do not consider the interconnectedness of environmental, social and economic factors. With the Accelerator lab, we want to quickly identify burning issues that affect people and economic development, explore and map the solutions that already exist, experiment what could work and share widely in Lao PDR and with the rest of the world,” says Ricarda Rieger, UNDP Resident Representative.

“To understand the root cause of the issues, it’s important that we understand the ecosystem and the nature of the today’s challenges. We will also need to map out and explore stakeholders and encourage cross sector collaborations. This initiative will allow us to work with unusual partners to tackle development issues, to develop prototype for testing, and to share among learning network,” says Maniphet Phengsavatdy, Head of Exploration at UNDP’s Accelerator Lab in Lao PDR.