UNESCO Netexplo Forum 2020

When :

from Monday 21 September, 2020
10:00
to Wednesday 23 September, 2020
16:00

Type of event :

Category 8-Symposium

Where :

Live on UNESCO website / En direct sur le site web de l'UNESCO, On-line, France

Contact :

Davide Storti (Email: d.storti@unesco.org)

The UNESCO Netexplo Forum 2020 will be held online at http://en.unesco.org/netexplo. The Forum consists of two parts: Netexplo Innovation Forum 2020 and Netexplo Smart Cities Accelerator.
The Innovation Forum 2020 will showcase 10 breakthrough digital innovations with the potential of profound and lasting impact on the digital society. The innovations are spotted worldwide through a year-long work by the Netexplo University Network, made up of globally renowned universities in the technology domain. The Innovation Forum will highlight some of the most promising global innovators in digital technologies, whose innovations have influences the development of our society through new forms of education, communication, information, solidarity and management around the globe.

The UNESCO Netexplo Forum 2020 will also comprise of the second edition of the Netexplo Smart Cities Accelerator programme. Building on its first edition, the event aims to share the best practices on Smart Cities all around the world. Cities decision-makers face a range of questions in the attempt of meeting their citizens’ most urgent needs. These vary from safety, to funding models, to infrastructure and attractiveness. There are as many solutions as there are cultures and territories. And all of them are sources of inspiration. The event aims at helping city decision-makers to seize the opportunities offered by Smart Cities to improve the lives of women and men worldwide.

Netexplo Innovation Forum 2020

17 March 2020.

The Innovation Forum 2020 will showcase 10 breakthrough digital innovations with the potential of profound and lasting impact on the digital society. The innovations are spotted worldwide through a year-long work by the Netexplo University Network, made up of globally renowned universities in the technology domain. The Innovation Forum will highlight some of the most promising global innovators in digital technologies, whose innovations have influences the development of our society through new forms of education, communication, information, solidarity and management around the globe.

10 INNOVATIONS SPOTTED WORLDWIDE

1. Amazon Bank of Codes

Brazil

Protecting the Amazon basin’s natural resources and ensuring their industrial use benefits local populations.
The ambition of Earth Bank of Codes, launched by the World Economic Forum and the Peruvian entrepreneur Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, is to promote an inclusive bio-economy. The project aims to make biological assets available to the world’s scientists and innovators, while making sure native populations benefit from the results. Under the first stage, begun in November 2019, the DNA of every living thing in the Amazon basin is to be sequenced. Data access and use will be recorded in a blockchain to make sure any profits are fairly shared. The Amazon’s natural treasures, from rubber trees to snake venom, have generated great wealth for manufacturers and pharma companies. The aim is to enable local communities to benefit from future breakthroughs and inventions.

 

2. Aleph Farms

Israel

Lab-grown, cruelty-free meat to avoid hunger for future generations.
Aleph Farms is an Israeli firm that makes meat in a laboratory. It also created a steak from cow stem cells on board the International Space Station. The process is based on a natural process for muscle tissue regeneration. The start-up identified which cells builds muscle and grew them in cow-like conditions. The aim is to create artificial, cruelty-free meat that makes efficient use of resources, as well as showing how future space colonies could sustain themselves.

 

3. Astroscale

Japan

Cleaning up space with a satellite that captures and burns up waste.
Pollution is a blight on land, sea and even in space. More and more uncontrolled satellites and other space debris are circling the earth. Astroscale, a Japanese firm, is aiming for orbital sustainability by launching clean-up satellites. The first mission, ELSA-d (End of Life Services by Astroscale - demonstration), is scheduled for 2020. It will feature a servicer and a cLinkt satellite, both fitted with magnetic plates. The aim is to show that the servicer can target, find and dispose of a junk satellite by binding with it and disintegrating on re-entry. The system could also be used to repair satellites in the future.

 

4. Climeworks

Switzerland

Capturing CO2 and giving it a positive environmental impact.
Created by two engineers as a spinoff from ETH Zurich, Climeworks has developed a technology to capture the CO2 around us for various uses. In their first plant in Zurich, it is used to make greenhouses more productive. The second facility, located in Iceland, injects C02 into the ground where is binds with a layer of basalt to form white rock. The plant currently captures 50 tons of CO2 per year. Climeworks has also opened a new plant in Italy where CO2 is combined with hydrogen to make natural gas. As of 2019, Climeworks lets individuals and corporations take out subscriptions to offset their emissions and fund the start-up’s growth. Climeworks aims to cancel out 1% of the world’s emissions by 2025.

 

5. Doconomy

Sweden

A bank card that lets consumers measure their carbon footprint and offset their purchases through donations.
Swedish start-up Doconomy joined forces with Mastercard to launch “Do”, a banking app combined with a charge card that lets users measure their purchases’ carbon footprint. The aim is to track, understand and reduce individuals’ environmental impact. Each purchase’s footprint is estimated using an index created by one of Doconomy’s shareholders, Bank of Aland. The bank calculated the CO2 generated per euro spent for each main purchase type, based on the sector’s average emissions. The Do Black card goes even further, as it lets users set a ceiling that blocks spending once an emission threshold has been reached. Users can then offset their environmental impact by making donations to UN-certified projects or sustainable development funds.

 

6. Land Life

Netherlands

Technology driving sustainable reforestation with support from local communities.
The start-up Land Life Company has developed an end-to-end reforestation service based on a series of technological tools, with the aim of bringing thousands of hectares back to life efficiently and sustainably. The tools are needed to restore ecosystems in severely degraded regions where nature cannot return unaided. Before any trees are planted, Land Life analyses the soil and environment to understand how the area deteriorated and plan the optimal approach to restore the ecosystem, supported by local communities. Land Life then uses an automated planting system and GPS-guided drills. To ensure the saplings survive the decisive first year, Land Life has designed a biodegradable cocoon that protects and waters the plant. Then Land Life monitors the reforestation over time, storing all the collected data in their base.

 

7. Masakhane

South Africa

AI supports cultural diversity through automatic, neuronal translation of every African language.
Launched by Jade Abbott and Laura Martinus, this open-source project, carried out with artificial intelligence and data experts throughout Africa, aims to apply automatic, neural network-based translation to African languages. Conventional machine learning models have to be trained with huge datasets and input from linguists. These two resources are all too rare for most African languages, although millions of people speak them. Masakhane brings together around 60 contributors who collect data in their mother tongue and train models requiring few resources. The aim is to bring more African voices into the global conversation and enable African researchers to work on international AI projects and apply the technology to the continent’s challenges.

 

8. Mon Compte Formation

France

Encouraging 25 million people to drive their development at every age.
Almost every profession is constantly evolving and most people will have several jobs in their lives. That’s why ongoing training is becoming as important as initial education. To enable everyone to play an active role in their training, the French government has launched a mobile app and website, "mon compte formation" (My Training Account) to encourage the 25 million employees to use their rights easily and independently. Developed by Caisse des Dépôts and the Employment Ministry, the account lets employees check their credits, browse a catalogue of 100,000 training sessions and, above all, book, pay for and rate one without an intermediary, even their employer. The most sought-after professions are displayed on the home page and priority is given to the programs with the best ratings from trainees.

 

9. Samaritan

United States of America

Telling homeless people’s stories to connect with others and make helping them easier 
If you know a homeless person’s story, you’re more likely to help them out some spare change. But how many of us still have cash in our pocket? Samaritan is an app that recognises nearby beacons, worn by the homeless. The individual’s story and plans are displayed on your smartphone, as well as the option of making a donation that they can use in a network of partners.

 

10. Smart E-waste micro-factory

Australia

A compact solution for local waste processing and job creation through shorter channels.
Professor Veena Sahajwalla and her team at the University of New South Wales have designed micro-factories that can recycle electronic waste on a small, local scale. As the modular plants can run in small places, they can be located where the waste is stored. The long-term goal is to enable poor waste collectors – like the kabadiwallas in Prof. Sahajwalla’s native India – to add more value through their work and gain social status. The project is all the more compelling as the Australian government has banned recyclable waste exports to boost the circular economy.

Netexplo Smart Cities Accelerator

18-19 March 2020.

The UNESCO Netexplo Forum 2020 will also comprise of the second edition of the Netexplo Smart Cities Accelerator programme. Building on its first edition, the event aims to share the best practices on Smart Cities all around the world. Cities decision-makers face a range of questions in the attempt of meeting their citizens’ most urgent needs. These vary from safety, to funding models, to infrastructure and attractiveness. There are as many solutions as there are cultures and territories. And all of them are sources of inspiration. The event aims at helping city decision-makers to seize the opportunities offered by Smart Cities to improve the lives of women and men worldwide.

10 NETEXPLO SMART CITIES AWARD WINNERS

 

1. ATTRACTIVITY

MEDELLIN

One of the world’s most dangerous cities in the 1990s, Medellin is now enjoying the fruits of its social, economic, cultural and environmental innovation. This transformation results from the city’s exemplary commitment to a shared vision:

- Prioritizing the most vulnerable populations and regions through ground-breaking social planning.

- Implementing creative mobility solutions with a unique range of services.

- Creating free zones throughout the province, particularly to attract software firms (20,000 app developers in Medellin today).

- Launching a 2012-2021 Science, Technology and Innovation program to attract local, national and foreign private investors.

- The Medellin Innovation charter to increase the city’s spending on innovation from 0.75 to 2% of its revenue.

- An innovation district focusing on energy, digital and health.

 

2. DATASPHERE

ESPOO

In 2018, Espoo, a satellite of Helsinki with 270,000 inhabitants, was voted Intelligent Community of the Yearby ICF, becoming the first European city to earn this distinction in 10 years.

The birthplace of Nokia is acknowledged for its holistic approach to modernization and for its citizens’ active involvement. Considered a Learning Cityby UNESCO, Espoo is also part of 6Aika, a collaborative network of Finland’s largest cities that tests and rolls out out smart city and educational solutions.

As part of its city-as-a-testbedapproach, Espoo is implementing the Customer-Centric Project. This initiative seeks to leverage artificial intelligence to serve citizens better and optimize the city’s budget. The project aggregated all data about inhabitants from 2002 to 2016 as regards to welfare, primary education and healthcare, i.e. 37 million contacts between citizens and city services.

The aim is to create models that predict citizens’ needs before a crisis, such as social exclusion, occurs.

With a national territory rationalization plan in progress, many other cities are following the project closely. 

 

3. EDUCATION

DAKAR

Dakar is becoming an African benchmark for education.

UVS, the online university, is based in Dakar. Across Senegal, 50 open digital spaces (ENOs)  enable students to acquire knowledge. 

Almost 27,000students enrolled in 2018. UVS offers ten bachelor’s and 10 master’s degrees. All courses are now available to employees as part of their professional development.

The university’s missions are to:

- Deliver training that is suited to each learning community’s needs through ICT

- Develop research and disseminate scientific culture

- Foster access to knowledge everywhere at all ages

- Promote digital and innovation culture.

 

4. RESILIENCE

SURAT

In 1994, an epidemic of bubonic and pneumonic plague damaged the ecosystem and caused around 50 deaths in the Surat region. It was caused by a combination of flooding and poor sanitary infrastructure.

Surat is now the fastest-growing city in India and attracts the most investments.

This achievement results from a resilience strategy developed along 7 lines with 20 goals and 63 actions, from  2016 to 2025. Projects include a program for the creation of affordable housing using new technologies, business diversification, environmentally-friendly construction standards and conservation of the natural environment. In the essential area of water, the city is rolling out smart meters, improving use of rainwater,  setting up mobile quality control and recycling wastewater.

Surat also plans to ban single-use plastic to become plastic-freein 2020.

With a population of 4.5 million, Surat is recognised by the Indian government for the quality of its Smart City project. This project is a paradigm shift compared with usual practices as it is bottom-up, with citizens closely involved in defining the vision for the city’s future. 

 

5. FINANCE

SANTIAGO

Latin America’s largest ever green bondwas issued on the Santiago stock exchange in June 2019. The US$1.42 billion bond was over-subscribed 12 times.

The funds will be invested, in particular, in infrastructure to withstand the effects of climate change on the municipal, regional and national scales. The projects will be assessed according to precise indicators. For example, the number of kilometres of electric bus lanes, how many farms are implementing sustainable practices, MW of renewable energy installed and certified sustainable buildings, etc.

The city is often considered the smartest in Latin America. The  StartupChile program, for example, is acknowledged as one of the best accelerators worldwide.

 

6. HABITAT

VIENNA

In the 1990s, Vienna was a precursor in gender mainstreaming. The city factored women’s experience into its choices particularly in terms of accessibility, safety and freedom of movement.

Following a study on men and women’s different habits, a pilot habit, Mariahilftested several solutions for lighting, ramps and pedestrian crossings, etc.

In 2008, Vienna’s urban planning strategy and gender-inclusive approach were acknowledged by aUnited Nations Public Service Award.

Companies bidding for business with Vienna must factor gender mainstreaming into their offer. Today Vienna is considered one of the world’s most liveable cities. Its approach has influenced Berlin, Barcelona, Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Aspern, a district of  30,000 inhabitants being rebuilt for 2028, is a test bed for high-tech  solutions including smart buildings supplied by smart grids.

 

7. MOBILITY

AUSTIN

The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan is a multimodal programme that seeks to address twofold growth in the city’s population every20 years.

The goal is to reduce the car’s modal share to 50% in 20 years, partly through funding from the 2016 Austin Mobility Bond.

As regards toride-hailing platforms, Austin tried banning Uber and Lyft until the State of Texas overruled the city. Austin still has a rare non-profit  ride-hailing service, RideAustin, as well as Pickup, an on-demand transit app managed by public authorities. In the self-driving vehicle field, Waymo has been conducting tests in the city since 2015.  Ford has been mapping the city and identifying autonomous vehicle market opportunities. Legislation has been adapted to foster these tests.

Micro-mobility (self-service scooters and bikes): open data; coordination zone for the 8 operators.

Bike mobility: cycling route comfort maps.

Walking: coloured pedestrian crossings to attract attention and give districts visual identity.

On the safety front, the city is implementing a zero-casualty program. 

 

8. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

TALLINN

Tallinn is the capital of Estonia, perhaps the world’s most digital country, and home to 30% of its population.

Since gaining independence 28 years ago, Estonia has worked to reinvent itself and develop through digital innovation.

The majority of Tallinn’s inhabitants use tech in their daily lives. Initiatives include:

- Obligation for all citizens to have a digital identity from age 15.

- Data interoperability through the X-Road system that lets different databases, from both public organisations and private companies, communicate. Once one authority has asked you for information or authorisation, the others are barred from asking for the same thing.

- Online consultation of inhabitants to design the city’s future

- Creation of e-residency, with the goal of increasing numbers from 50,000 today to 10 million in 2025. The status enables foreigners to create a company and manage it remotely while enjoying advantageous local tax conditions.

- The privately funded project to build a 100-km tunnel from Tallinn to Helsinki, proposed by Peter Vesterbacka, the creator of Angry Birds, would create a common region known as Talsinki. 

 

9. OBJECTIVE ZERO CARBON

SINGAPORE

Widely acknowledged as  a Smart City pioneer, Singapore is also known as a Garden City. Its unique combination of high technology and environmental awareness is mirrored in artificial trees that capture  CO2, green towers and cloud forests. In these energy-neutral glass domes, in addition to photovoltaic cells, a biomass plant generates electricity from the steam resulting from fertiliser and plant combustion. The right temperature is maintained by a huge steam turbine powered by organic waste so there is no need for air conditioning.

The city-state is also showing the way forward with high environmental standards for all public buildings, especially as regards to energy efficiency.

Singapore is one of the highest performing states in terms of CO2 relative to GDP. It is on track to achieve its goal of reducing emissions by 30% from 2005 to 2030.

 

10. TRANSPORT NETWORKS

SHENZHEN

Shenzhen has 12 million inhabitants and hosts some of China’s most innovative companies.The city positions itself as a laboratory for the Chinese government on the leading edge of sustainable development policies.Transport initiatives include the following:

- Shenzhen was the first major city in the world to switch to an all-electric bus fleet with an estimated 16,000 vehicles.

- In 2019, 99% of the city’s  21,689 taxis were electric, with 100% the target for 2020.

- Construction of 40,000 charging stations. The Shenzhen bus company has 180 depots with their own charging facilities.

- Construction of a network of 8,000 lampposts also used as charging stations for electric vechicles.