Our distinguished colleagues, partners and friends.

Distinguished representatives from the business, government, media, and non-for-profit sector,

Everyone who has taken the time to be with us here today,

Xin Chao and a very good morning to you.

For the past few months, we have all felt the impact of Covid-19 outbreak in our daily lives globally.  The loss of life has caused unspeakable pain to millions of us. Schools are closed, businesses face extreme financial hardships, many have lost their jobs and income, and isolation has caused psychological stress, to name a few.  

Recognizing these threats, the Government of Viet Nam has responded early and efficiently to contain the outbreak by closely monitoring the spread of the disease. These efforts are commended as a great example by many internationally.

As a long-standing partner of Vietnam, UNDP has offered its full support to these efforts. In the same spirit, we are delighted to partner with Ha Noi Youth Union and AngelHack to launch Viet Nam’s first online COVID-19 Hackathon to find innovative solutions to address impacts of Covid-19 in six categories: government, environment, health, education, inequality and economy.

We see this hackathon only as a starting point to a longer journey. Before we officially announce the hacking to begin, I wish to share with you three brief points to help us understand why this Hackathon.

1.     Firstly, we need to accelerate inclusive innovation to achieve the SDGs

We need to create a space to bring together innovators from all backgrounds to collaborate and create solutions to our shared challenges like exclusion and environmental degradation.  Only by accelerating bottom-up grassroots innovation and local solutions, we can bring collective intelligence to bear and address such challenges effectively. Hackathons like this one help us crowdsource digital ideas and solutions and promote open innovation.

As UNDP we want to make sure that in response to such crisis, No One Is Left Behind. To address the challenges faced specifically by the vulnerable groups such as the Elderly and Persons with disabilities, we are calling for solutions in the category on Inequality.

2.     Secondly, we need to foster the growth of Tech for common good and greater Social Impact

The pandemic has triggered an unprecedented demand for digital technology and has revealed successful solutions such as for population screening, tracking the infection, remote learning, and collaboration and designing targeted responses. The COVID-19 pandemic has led many to reconsider the technical skills they have at their disposal, and how they can be used for the common good. Many open source communities are emerging, which have demonstrated the power of global transparency, cooperation and collective action.

Covid-19 also fundamentally disrupts existing business models, it creates new markets and demand for new products and services.  There already was a growing awareness that businesses must be socially responsible and protect our environment. This is demand will be intensified by the Covid-19.  Through this Hackathon we hope to identify and support socially responsible innovators.

3.     Finally, we need to “Build back better”

COVID-19 comes against the backdrop of an escalating climate crisis and an unsustainable model of development based on ever-growing exploitation of natural resources that pushes against the limits of our eco-system. We do not yet have a clear idea of how COVID came about. But there is a general consensus that to prevent such global crisis in future, we need to address multiple interlinked challenges from urbanization to growth in animal-sourced products, coupled with the destruction of animal habitats on land and under water. As we look towards the future in a post-COVID world, we must shift away from the previous environmentally unsustainable development path to low-carbon development that minimizes environmental degradation, shifts consumption and production patterns, uses resources efficiently, and fosters the circular and sharing economies. The ambitions of the SDGs demand that we work together, across sectors in all stages of generating, adopting and adapting new technological innovations.   

With that, again I would like to offer my deepest appreciation to all of you innovators joining the hackathon and our partners on this initiative. We look forward to unleashing the creativity of people to #HackCovy and seeing all the innovative solutions to accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

Thank You, Xin Cam On

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