Dubai: In 2015, the United Nations (UN) drew up 17 goals for the world that it saw crucial to achieving a more sustainable future for all by the year 2030. As citizens of the earth, we can now do our part and offer real solutions to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the Hack for Earth Foundation and what better place to congregate global minds than at Expo 2020 Dubai?
Founded by Ann Molin, the Swedish non-profit organisation aims to find sustainable digital solutions to the 17 SDGs through hackathons, which it calls competitions in innovation that can last from 24 to 48 hours. “It is time to bring the Expo 2020 spirit to life by connecting minds and creating the future,” says Molin in an introductory film for the hackathon. “We invite you to join the biggest online hackathon ever.”
Hack for Earth, the foundation’s first project, is an online global hackathon organised in collaboration with the UN and the Sweden Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. For the development of solutions, the project will scale through four steps:
Dream for Earth
The world is invited to join a three-month digital campaign, which started on May 17 and will last till August 8, led by ambassadors of the initiative who are business leaders and organisations in the Hack for Earth partner community along with global thought leaders and role models.
Of the 17 SDGs ranging from climate action to ending hunger which goal resonates with you the most? All submissions from across the globe to the Dream for Earth website (www.dreamforearth.com) will make it to the Swedish pavilion in the form of an exhibition, shared on screens and other interactive tools with visitors.
One of the ambassadors of the Dream for Earth campaign, Jamie Cho, Chief Operating Officer of software firm Pastbee Korea, dreams of a world with no hungry children and no poverty. Cho hopes to fund free lunch days for people in need on a daily basis.
Jan Thesleff, the Commissioner General of the Sweden Pavilion, too, took the website to share that he dreams of a world where there is gender equality, a world that empowers women and girls.
The most dreamed goals for the Earth will lay the groundwork for the hackathon challenge. Though the campaign ends sometime before Expo kicks off in October, visitors will still be able to share their dreams at the Sweden Pavilion's Dream for Earth exhibition.
Hack for Earth
All 192 participating countries and their citizens can join the online hackathon, where ‘hackers’ will group into teams and use their tech-savvy skills to solve the SDGs. Interested hackers, who only need to be able to communicate in English and have access to a computer and the Internet, can sign up on the hackforearth.com website, which is set to launch on September 1, 2021.
If you're worried about finding potential teammates, then there's a solution for you: a collaborative platform that goes by the name of Airtable will help interested parties connect with each other via email or LinkedIn.
Hack for Earth will officially commence online on October 22, 2021, once the teams have selected their challenges that are being formulated in collaboration with the UN and SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network) Youth.
According to Molin, there will be seven categories based on the SDGs along the lines of 'Food', 'Water', 'Health' and more to choose from, each consisting of five challenges. Previously shared dreams from the Dream for Earth campaign will also influence the finalised set.
Throughout the two weeks hackathon period, the teams will work on their solution while having access to mentors, workshops on relevant subjects and support from the organisers. The deadline for submitting solutions is November 7.
Build for Earth
On November 19, through a livestream ceremony, the appointed jury for the competition will name the top three winners from each of the seven categories. These winning teams will be then flown to the Sweden Pavilion to compete for the Hack for Earth Award, where they will pitch their solutions to a live audience.
Though only one team will be crowned victorious, an acceleration program hosted by the Hack for Earth Foundation, Build for Earth, will continue to support all seven category winners by helping them connect with the right organisations, people and investors.
Pitch for Earth
On Earth Hour Day, March 26, 2022, the winning teams will be invited back to Expo 2020 Dubai to share their progress with the jury. They will be given live feedback on how far they have come in creating actionable tools on the Swedish pavilion stage.
So, head over to the Dream for Earth website to tell your potential teams of hackers and problem solvers what you think needs fixing first to make the world a better place.
- The writer is an intern with Gulf News.