Can young coders help solve the climate crisis?
The UN’s Youth Envoy launched a global competition earlier this month, “Reboot The Earth,” with support from the UN Office of Information & Communications Technology, Deloitte and SAP, to try and answer that question, fostering collaboration between the United Nations, academia, civil society, and young people to address the climate emergency.
Jayathma Wickramanayake’s office describes the competition as a “global hackathon,” where teams of computer programmers, scientists and others, will try to solve a local climate crisis, that may be unique to each location in line with specific community needs, by creating new software, or improving upon existing programs.
The hackathon will take place at United Nations Technology Innovation Labs in five different countries (Malaysia, Finland, India, Egypt and Germany), this month. Through a series of Tech Challenges, one team from each country will be selected to travel to New York City to attend a “Reboot The Earth” awards ceremony, during the UN Climate Summit on 21 September.
The winner from each country will get the chance to have their solution showcased at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, in January 2020, and the overall winner has the opportunity of seeing their software proposal developed at one of the UN Technology Innovation Labs.
In an interview with UN News, Wickramanayake said young people are key to solving global climate challenges, and drivers of change and innovation: “With the global climate movement led by young people, the United Nations supports youth’s effort in driving climate action,” said the Sri Lankan-born envoy.
Since the launch of the Youth 2030 Strategy, the United Nations has been scaling up global, regional and national actions to meet young people’s needs, realize their rights and tap their possibilities as agents of change.
As the Youth Envoy explains, Reboot The Earth is about creating a platform for young people to share their best innovative ideas and solutions with the United Nations, making them equal partners in the global fight against the climate crisis.
“Reboot The Earth presents young people with the opportunity to not only showcase their potential and ideas, but also to be recognized at the United Nations Climate Summit in September 2019.”