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NEC at the Development 2030 Conference: Sharing Crucial Knowledge and Spearheading Co-creation Towards a Sustainable Future

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to deliver "peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future” by 2030. NEC is actively doing its best to lead the charge towards a brighter tomorrow, and a big part of its strategy involves innovating solutions with international organizations.

To be a part of important knowledge sharing discussions and explore new co-creation opportunities, NEC attended the Development 2030 conference held at the Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland in October 2023.

At the event, three key individuals from NEC's strategic team for a sustainable future took the stage - NEC Senior Director Kentaro Maekawa, NEC India Deputy General Manager Varun Malik, and NEC Assistant Manager Mariko Kitahama. They participated in a workshop titled "The role of ICT solution providers in achieving the aspiration to 'Leave No One Behind' - How can tech solutions be a catalyst of change in the fight against climate change, health crises, and food insecurity," where they introduced NEC's approach towards accomplishing the SDGs and how their co-creation initiatives are aiming for new heights.

First, Maekawa presented some of NEC's most intriguing projects, ranging from laying undersea cables that support communication networks used every day to efforts aimed at answering questions about the origin of life through space exploration.

Maekawa shared statistical data illustrating the need for the SDGs: 700 million people face hunger, and 850 million people lack proper identification, which in turn prevents 25 million children from receiving the vaccinations necessary for a healthy life.

With so many people being left behind, the question arises - what should we do? NEC proposes a framework called "Digitalization for Leave No One Behind." It starts with digital identification using biometric technology to make aid recipients visible (Step 1), followed by supply chain visualization and improved traceability to deliver aid efficiently and appropriately (Step 2), capacity building to promote self-reliance and growth after aid (Step 3), and scenarios for realizing a sustainable society based on these steps (Step 4). This vision is aimed at being realized through co-creation with international institutions and NGOs.

What can be done, and what can digital technology achieve?

Next, Malik presented several concrete ideas. Malik explained that the NEC approach involves undertaking co-creation projects with international organizations, while leveraging on NEC’s state-of-the-art technologies.

Together with the UNDP, India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Spices Board India, an e-Spice Bazaar proof of concept was established to ensure spice traceability. Where small farmers could previously not get fair payment for their spices due to lacking quality certification on their spices, NEC’s blockchain-based solution that provides end-to-end traceability allowed full visibility of supply chain and quality certification of the spices, allowing these small farmers to get fair value on their produce.

Another collaboration that Malik introduced was with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW), and the Government of India. The Krishi-Nivesh one-stop agriculture investment portal allows farmers and agri investors to check their eligibility for helpful government schemes and apply for subsidies that ultimately help boost their earnings.

These are just some of NEC’s important collaborations that Malik shared on at the event. He believes that such collaborations are crucial to solving the world hunger issue. “By working closely with our partners and speaking directly to farmers and other stakeholders, we can get an accurate picture of what we need to do to solve these problems, and how our technologies can be applied or developed to provide optimal solutions.”

“It feels rewarding to know that our work is providing both children and adults with the opportunities they need to lead healthy, prosperous lives.”

Renewable Energy, Global Health, and Safety for All

Malik handed the time over to Kitahama, who shared further on NEC’s SDG-focused collaboration projects. With 660 million people still lacking access to electricity and the internet in 2030, NEC Hybrid Storage Solutions aims to provide battery storage and solar panels which supply stable and eco-friendly energies to regions in need.

Kitahama enthusiastically spoke the project’s achievements. “One of our clients shared that they have a mobile base tower station in a rural area with off-grid. They previously ran diesel generators for 24 hours. After introducing our system, they can dramatically reduce the required diesel generator running hours with saving over 50% diesel fuels. Essentially, our client was able to drastically reduce their Green House Gas emissions.”

NEC is focusing on bringing a more healthy and safer society through its technologies. Kitahama also went into detail about the development of a health check mobile app that supports maternal and child health recording, and how NEC’s AI is being used in assisting more efficient operation to remove hazardous landmines.

NEC also collaborated with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Simprints Technology Ltd., that lead to the development of world’s first scalable child fingerprint identification solution designed to help create digital identities for children 1-5 years of age and boost immunization coverage in developing countries.

Identifying New Problems to Develop New Solutions For

Aside from hosting the special seminar session, NEC also set up a booth to share more details on our activities with event attendees, and to be a part of the high-level conversations on achieving SDGs. Maekawa comments: “It’s so important for us to come to events like this, where we got to meet and speak to like-minded individuals and organizations striving towards the same goals. There is no single solution to solving every problem, but by working with the right people, we can find many new solutions that cumulatively have the power to improve lives for the masses.”

If you have interesting proposals or ideas on how we co-create a sustainable and ideal future for all, do reach out to us.

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