Syed Saddiq launches Global Tech Innovation Challenge (Malaysia) at Sunway iLabs


Malaysian Youth & Sports Minister Y.B. Syed Saddiq today launched the Global Hackathon (Malaysia): “Reboot The Earth” at Sunway iLabs. The event was organized by the United Nations Secretary-General Youth Envoy along with UN Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT) and UN Technology innovation Labs (UNTIL) in collaboration with SAP and Deloitte.

The hackathon is being held at United Nations Technology Innovation Labs in six different countries throughout the world (Malaysia, Finland, India, Egypt, USA and Germany). Sunway I-Labs is the local partner of the United Nations Youth Envoy for Reboot the Earth Tech challenge in Malaysia.

This challenge is a social coding event that brings young computer programmers, startups, entrepreneurs and Tech/ Engineering/ IT university students and other interested people together under the auspices of the United Nations to improve upon or build a new technological solutions that addresses the current climate crisis.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres, has already announced a climate emergency. He said: “The period from 2015 to 2019 has been said to be the five hottest years on record. This year alone, we have seen temperatures reach unprecedented levels: from New Delhi to Anchorage, from Paris to Santiago, from Adelaide to the Arctic Circle. If we do not take action on climate change now, these extreme weather events may prove to be just the tip of the iceberg.”

“According to the very latest data from the World Meteorological Organization and its climate center, the month of July at least equaled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history. This follows the hottest June ever,” he added.

“Around the world, governments, businesses and citizens are mobilizing to confront the climate crisis. Technology is on our side, delivering renewable energy at far lower cost than the fossil-fuel driven economy. Solar and onshore wind are now the cheapest sources of new power in virtually all major economies.

“Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the race of our lives and for our lives. It is a race we can, and must, win,” he further said.

Participants are invited to use a well-structured taxonomy of challenges 1) Sustainable energy usage from Farm to Feed – Impact on climate and 2: Conservation of biodiversity for climate change, using available open source data and engage in a human-centered design and strategic problem-solving process. This event is aimed at identifying solutions that would drive positive change towards the global climate action.

The UN Assistant Secretary General Ms. Atefeh Riazi said: “Collaborating with partners to develop open-source solutions will enable sustainable development and help the United Nations and Member States to build a better world for all.”

Dr Elizabeth Lee, CEO of Sunway Education Group, said: “We are happy to partner with the UN Technology Innovation Lab, on impactful events like these. Connecting real life problem statements related to climate change with talented students and innovators is something we believe can create the awareness it deserves and could potentially lead to real solutions.

“More than two years ago, we established the Sunway Innovation Labs (iLabs), an official Malaysia Digital Hub and smart partnership between Sunway University, Sunway Group, and Sunway Ventures to foster entrepreneurship and stimulate market-driven innovations,” she added.

“In addition, we have ardently been promoting sustainable development and environment awareness within our own community through student activities, and forums and conferences organised by the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development. We hope that this hackathon will lead to collaborations and innovative ideas that addresses some of the most pressing challenges that our Mother Earth desperately needs.

“As a collective whole, it is our purpose at Sunway to educate as many as we can to be responsible citizens, doing our small bit for the benefit of the environment and our future generations. Let us step up our efforts to improve current practices to protect and preserve our planet,” encouraged Dr Lee.

“Reboot the Earth mobilizes creative young minds to leverage technology and develop solutions to climate change. SAP shares a joint vision with Deloitte and UN Technology Innovation Labs to unite youth for climate action with revolutionary ideas for purpose-driven innovation,” said Ann Rosenberg, Senior Vice President for UN Partnerships at SAP & Global Head of SAP Next-Gen and SAP University Alliances.

Meanwhile, President and Managing Director (Southeast Asia) Claus Andresen said that SAP continues to develop human capital for Malaysia.

“Besides today’s hackathon, SAP continues to collaborate with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) on the MyUniAlliance programme under the SAP University Alliances initiative which provides training for some three thousand students per year,” said Andresen, adding that the programme started in 2011. Eighteen Institutes of Higher Learning [IHL], including two foreign universities, have participated in the programme.

Andresen added that skilled expertise is also one of Malaysia’s greatest assets: “The workforce in Malaysia is young, educated and productive, proving to be one of the best in the region. Diversity is one of Malaysia’s greatest strengths.”

The event witnessed participants working in teams across 2 intense days of coding, with assistance from mentors who coach participants towards the development of a curated idea.

MDEC Vice President (Ecosystem Development) Norhizam Kadir said that the youth of today will be tomorrow’s leaders.

“As a key digital nation, Malaysia is equipping its youth with a holistic set of knowledge and skills,” said Norhizam.

“MDEC is constantly working with both public and private sectors to empower the nation’s youth by providing them access to the digital ecosystem. The goal is to futureproof Malaysia’s youth to drive digital innovation in the not-so-distant future,” he added.

Sunway iLabs is also one of Malaysia’s Cybercentre-Digital Hub (or also known as Malaysia Digital Hub) which has been created for startups and internet economy companies. Malaysia Digital Hubs provide rich ecosystem components, which include high-speed broadband and various soft infra offerings.

The winning solution will be incubated in one of the global UN Technology Innovation Labs to foster the ideas with the right means and expertise.

Representatives of the winning team will additionally win a trip to New York City, USA at Reboot the Earth award ceremony at the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019. Final prototypes will stand a chance to be showcased at Davos in January 2020 during the week of the World Economic Forum.

This initiative is designed as a collaborative effort globally to build climate resilience using youth led solutions to propel a dramatic solution for climate change.