The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

UNOPS co-hosts hackathon in the fight against climate change

On the island of Antigua, UNOPS, together with Ocean Generation, brought together world-class programmers and developers to provide real-world solutions to climate and environmental issues.

Following a successful hackathon – or ‘codefest’ – in 2018, Dadlihack 2.0 took place over several days this February at the Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology, and UNOPS Antigua and Barbuda Science and Innovation Park. Several ministers from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda marked the inauguration of the event, welcoming leading programmers and tech minds to share knowledge on innovation and entrepreneurship.

DadliHack brought teams from around the world together with international technology, media and renewable energy companies – including Sony and Spotify in addition to partners from the UNOPS Science and Innovation Centre based at the Ideon Science Park in Sweden.

The various teams took part in exchanging knowledge with locals to design real world solutions for changing climates.

”With a 98 per cent dependency on fossil fuel energy, [and] its limited geographical and population size, Antigua and Barbuda has great opportunities to be the starting point, test-bed and accelerator of new national small scale infrastructures for self-sustaining clean energy micro-power-grids and sustainable smart solutions, which Sony and many other companies are working with,” noted Johan Grundström Eriksson, Advisor Innovation & Incubation, Sony in Lund, Sweden.

UNOPS Executive Director Grete Faremo noted: “Driving innovative ways of doing things together with not only our established partners, but also grass-root organizations, small businesses, tech companies and young people, is essential. Only together can we build opportunities and hopes for a more sustainable future for all.”

After three days of intense work and collaboration, each team had two minutes to pitch their disaster relief ideas to a panel of local and international judges. The competition was tight with team Jaguar, the youngest participating team, winning with their simple yet progressive data analysis system. In action, their idea would log data from events like Sargassum seaweed occurrences and meteorological data, which would feed into statistical algorithms for analytical and predictive work.

The event concluded with Fire Tech, the United Kingdom-based provider of hands-on, creative tech education for 9-17 year olds, announcing that they would provide specially-curated education technology workshops and courses to inspire young people in Antigua.

The hackathon series aims to generate novel, real-world solutions for communities impacted by climate change, by bringing together local, regional and international tech communities to innovative, inspire and learn from one another.

Climate change already affects many vulnerable communities in the Caribbean and small island developing states, which are exposed to rising sea levels, altered rainfall patterns, and increasingly severe storms. Finding new, technological solutions to adapt is critical.

"In the midst of natural disasters and changing climates, technology is now increasingly a lifeline, from early warning systems to resilience and adaptation,” said Founder of Ocean Generation, Daisy Kendrick.

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