2022 Ideathon for climate change in East Asia and the Pacific

Source(s): World Bank, the
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Background information

Climate change continues to affect every corner of the world. Its impact is felt in the form of increasingly erratic climate events, such as increased intensity and frequency of flooding and droughts. 

Climate change also poses significant challenges to environmental stability, economic growth, and human development in East Asia and the Pacific. The region includes 13 of the 30 countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Without concerted action, the region could see an additional 7.5 million people fall into poverty due to climate impacts by 2030. East Asia and the Pacific are critical to combating climate change. The region accounts for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions and 60 percent of global coal consumption.

The negative impacts in the region are falling disproportionately on the most vulnerable, including low-income populations, children, women, and the elderly. Moreover, the effects of climate change will affect countries’ progress toward reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. Climate change will also have a disproportionate impact on future generations. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that youth actively participate in climate change adaptation and mitigation discussions. Young people worldwide are already actively working on developing innovative approaches to address the impacts of climate change and contribute to mitigation efforts. The approaches span from inventions for more energy-efficient systems to early warning systems and from nature-based solutions to mobile-generated data for more accurate vulnerability mapping. Youth have proven to be at the forefront of innovation, so it’s important to provide spaces for their ideas to be heard. 

Against this background, utilities in the region will need innovative ideas that allow countries to face climate change and other shocks and stresses while still providing essential services to their residents. For this, the World Bank’s Utility of the Future (UoF) Program, and the Pacific Regional unit of the Water Global Practice of the World Bank, in partnership with the Pacific Water and Waste Water Association (PWWA), are launching an Ideathon, as part of the 6th Pacific Water and Wastewater Ministerial Forum and the 13th Pacific Water and Wastewater Conference and Expo, at Nadi, in Fiji, from November 14-18, 2022. 

The competition

The Ideathon for climate change in East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) is an opportunity to crowdsource ideas from young people everywhere about how to equip utilities in the EAP region with the tools needed to address climate risk. The ideas can fall anywhere -- adaptation or mitigation or offer a combination of both -- including cutting-edge technology for early warning systems and compelling behavior change campaigns that give utilities a fighting chance against diverse threats. We are looking for out-of-the-box solutions that can prepare utilities to face the increasingly uncertain world due to the climate crisis, based on a typical situation faced by a utility in the region (see description below). The solutions will not only inform climate-related actions for utilities but will also serve as input into the creation of a climate change lens under the UoF Program, facilitating the replication of climate-targeted actions across the world. 

The case

The case at the heart of the Ideathon is around a water and sanitation utility serving the fictional city of Paradisia. While this is a simulated scenario, it is based on real situations that utilities and municipalities in the Pacific face. The Paradisia Water and Sewer Corporation (PWSC) serves the city of Paradisia. The population has been growing exponentially, and now it is mandated to provide essential water and sanitation services to 50,000 people. Unfortunately, the utility hasn’t been able to keep up with demand due to urbanization, development, climate change, and other pressures. For example, the city is particularly vulnerable to flooding due to frequent and intense hurricanes. Moreover, there are other challenges, such as tourist inflow and pollution of limited water sources due to anthropogenic and natural factors (e.g., salinity). Against this background, the utility requires out-of-the-box solutions to face its multiple challenges exacerbated by climate change. You can download the full description of the case note here.   

Who can participate?

The competition is open to individuals aged 18 – 35. Participants can be students, people in the workforce, the Young Water Professionals (YWPs) enlisted by PWWA, or people in any other occupation. We are looking for some balance between your motivation for joining this Ideathon and relevant experience in the water sector and dealing with climate change. 

The Ideathon roadmap

  1. If you are interested in participating, apply here. If you move to round 2, you will be invited to submit an initial pitch of two ideas you propose to help the utility in the form of a short 1 to 2-minute video. The ideas don’t need to be fully fleshed out. Instead, they should offer a glimpse into what kind of solutions you will explore. Not everyone needs to submit an idea; in round 2, participants can also choose to be team members. All round 2 participants and selected industry experts will be invited to vote on their favorite ideas. The top ideas will be selected, and those who pitched them will become captains. The remaining participants will be randomly placed on the teams. 
  2. The deliverable for Round 2 will be a pitch deck outlining three innovative ideas that will help address the main risks threatening PWSC. The deck will include a problem statement, solutions, feasibility of the solution, and resources needed.
  3. Three finalist teams will be invited to pitch during the 6th Pacific Water and Wastewater Ministerial Forum & 13th Pacific Water and Wastewater Conference and Expo on November 17. A jury will decide the winning team. 

Awards

The winning team will be: 

  • Mentioned on the official Conference Website 
  • Featured in a World Bank article outlining the experience of the Ideathon in the context of climate change and the summit. 
  • Featured on official World Bank social media channels, including LinkedIn and Twitter. 

Timeline

  • October 3: Ideathon individual applications open 
  • October 10: Ideathon Applications close, and the review process begins 
  • October 14: Individuals moving to round 2 are selected and invited to submit a video pitching their ideas 
  • October 19: Video submissions are closed, and the voting process begins   
  • October 26: Team captains are selected based on the top 7 ideas voted on, and participants are distributed across teams – teams are given the ppt template for submission of round 3 deliverable
  • November 4: Deadline for presentations – Review process begins
  • November 9: Three finalist teams are identified 
  • November 14: Pitch coaching session with finalists   
  • November 17: Final pitches and winner selection [day of the event]

For more information, please email uof@worldbank.org

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