Hyundai Motor Company and the United Nations Development Programme have celebrated one year of their partnership through the “for Tomorrow” global project aimed at spreading messages of sustainability to people around the world and turning their proposals for sustainable local innovations into globally impactful initiatives.
Over the past year, for Tomorrow, via 91 UNDP Accelerator Labs in 115 countries, has connected innovators from around the globe who are solving local challenges by making cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The UNDP Accelerator Labs are a driving force behind the identification of local innovators in the Global South. They have learned from these innovation-seekers who face the effects of climate change, poverty and other challenges, with a resolve to contribute to the sustainable growth and management of our shared communities.
Marking the one-year anniversary, Hyundai Motor and the UNDP Accelerator Labs virtually hosted the livestreamed event, Dialogue for Tomorrow, during the 76th annual United Nations General Assembly on September 29.
“At UNDP, we believe bottom-up innovations are critical if we want to accelerate progress towards the Global Sustainable Development Goals,” said Joseph D’Cruz, the UNDP Special Advisor for Strategic Planning and Innovation. “We designed this one-year anniversary to connect the members of the for Tomorrow community, strengthen the bonds that hold us together and foster solutions that are driving the much needed change in cities and communities around the world.”
Thomas Schemera, Hyundai Motor Company Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer, said: “Celebrating one year of the for Tomorrow platform is a meaningful milestone for our entire team. We’ve had the opportunity to review, engage and enable innovators who have worked diligently to create a more sustainable future across the globe. As a sustainable tomorrow can’t be achieved without a concerted effort, we’re thrilled to have played a role in creating a platform that cultivates civic innovations and corporate citizenship on a global scale.”
The Dialogue for Tomorrow was part of the UNDP’s annual official events schedule as well as an official part of the UN Innovation Network Program during the UNGA.
The various grassroots solutions submitted to the for Tomorrow project include:
- Solar Tuk Tuk – a solution that transforms motorcycle taxis in Central America into solar-powered electric vehicles, reducing CO2 emissions and noise pollution
- Solar e-Cycles – solar powered electric cargo tricycles in Kenya for those with mobility needs, access to electricity and revenue
- Imagination Solar Car – Sierra Leone’s first locally made solar powered car, built with bamboo sticks and outfitted with a large solar panel to promote clean and pollution-free transportation
- Informal DIY Remote Gas Stations – mobile gas stations in Indonesia’s rural areas created with jerrycans and other recyclable materials to address the shortage of rural gas stations
“These solutions come from people, bottom up, which are informal, organic and creative, but also sustainable, practical, resilient and holistic,” said Paola Constantino, Head of Solutions Mapping for the UNDP Accelerator Lab in Guatemala.
De la Pena, CEO of the Shared-Use Mobility Center and Chair of the Global Partnership for Informal Transportation, said: “The mission of the Global Partnership for Informal Transportation is to elevate and change people’s perspectives on these informal transportation solutions, as well as the inventive energies that go into innovating them.”
Benjamin de la Pena and Paola Constantino exchanged views on informal transportation, participants’ grassroots solutions and their impacts on cities and urban lives. The panel discussion was followed by a live Q&A session, during which the selected innovators of the for Tomorrow community shared their ideas and discussed the potential of grassroots solutions to address today’s most pressing sustainable and equitable challenges.
Since its inception in September 2020 at the 75th UNGA, the for Tomorrow initiative has promoted over 72 grassroots innovators in 44 countries globally by sharing their stories and allowing them to connect through the platform with other innovators.