Socialization and Ideation Workshop of the ASEAN Blue Innovation Challenge

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Vientiane, 13 June 2024—The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Lao PDR, in collaboration with UNDP in Indonesia, is hosting an ideation workshop for the ASEAN Blue Innovation Challenge (ABIC).  

The ABIC is an ASEAN-level regional competition on the blue economy. The 12-month ASEAN Blue Economy Innovation Challenge, supported by the Government of Japan and UNDP, aims to enhance the growth of the blue economy in 10 ASEAN countries and Timor-Leste by nurturing innovative solutions in the blue sector that address challenges and drive progress on issues including climate change, marine plastic pollution, sustainable fisheries, and sustainable tourism. Sixty successful innovators across ASEAN countries will receive financial support of up to US$ 40,000 each, technical mentorship during the incubation phase and access to potential investment and partnership through the business matchmaking activity. 

The ideation workshop is designed to foster innovative ideas from local innovators, introduce them to ABIC and promote the development of a blue economy in Lao PDR as a new engine for the country’s economic growth. The event brought together participants from various sectors and provinces, from profit-oriented to non-profit organizations who expressed interest in this relatively new topic and in joining the innovation challenge.   

The workshop had the honor to welcome Mr. Junya Nakano, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Japan to Lao PDR, who expressed that, “the ASEAN region boasts a diverse array of marine and freshwater resources that significantly contribute to the global economy. The ABIC stands as a conduit for private entrepreneurs, inventors, academics, and researchers to collectively drive change through sustainable solutions. Designed to spark innovation, this initiative will offer financial backing as well as incubation support.”

During the workshop, Ms. Martine Thérer, Resident Representative of UNDP Lao PDR, called for active participation, encouraging all participants to use this opportunity to learn more about the blue economy and the proposed initiative. “I urge you, the talented minds of Lao PDR, to seize this opportunity to visualize new possibilities and create transformative solutions to manage fisheries sustainably, develop responsible tourism, and strengthen sustainable water management – the three main areas of focus of this initiative in Lao PDR,” remarked Ms. Thérer.

Lao PDR’s abundant freshwater resources hold significant potential for harnessing the blue economy and transforming it into a catalyst for sustainable development. UNDP has been supporting the Government of Lao PDR in safeguarding and sustainably utilizing its natural resources, including water resources. Through the Ending Plastic Pollution Innovative Challenges, UNDP Lao PDR strives to tackle plastic pollution in water bodies, including rivers, by supporting transformative ideas through funding and conducting incubation training to maximize success. UNDP also supports integrated water management approaches through joint projects with the Government of Lao PDR.   

Interested applicants seeking financial and technical support to work on projects relevant to the blue economy can apply for the ABIC until 30 June 2024 at midnight Jakarta Time. Apply or get more information through www.undp.org/indonesia/blueinnovation. 

 

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