The launch event for Acc Lab Samoa

Samoa has become the latest addition to the United Nations Development Programme’s global network of more than 90 Accelerator Labs when it launched its own earlier in April.

It marked the beginning of a new set of approaches that the UNDP Multi-Country Office in Samoa can now use for addressing complex development issues and doing things differently to achieve better results, in collaboration with national partners. Each Lab has chosen an area of focus, determined by the most pressing issues their countries are facing. Acc Lab Samoa has chosen digital transformation, in line with the Government of Samoa’s national priorities.

At the launch event for the Lab, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) – which will be the Lab’s main partner – said this matches the Government of Samoa’s vision that led to the implementation of necessary overarching policy directions for development, and building resilient, critical infrastructure such as the Tui Samoa and Manatua submarine cables, to support and drive these developments.

The Ministry applauds the Acc Lab’s decision to zoom in on the ICT Sector to harness these innovative initiatives to be on par with the rest of the world as technological development lies at the core of these. The last decade has seen a significant growth in the ICT Sector in Samoa.

(l-r) CEO of the Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development, Faauiga Mulitalo, Acc Lab's Head of Solution Mapping, Mataao Maria Bernard & CEO of the Bureau of Statistics, Ali'imuamua Malaefono Ta'aloga

 

“This has largely been made possible with the Samoan Government’s commitment to ensuring that, in addition to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030, Samoa does not lag behind its regional and international counterparts and has built the technological infrastructure to support its developments, by providing an enabling and conducive environment for ICT development through improved connectivity, and access to relevant and affordable ICT for All to drive digital transformation,” said Fualau Talatalaga Mata’u, CEO of MCIT.

This has in turn promised continued socio-economic growth, innovation and better delivery of public and private services in the islands and abroad. This is in addition to supporting and driving entrepreneurship initiatives by the. emerging business youth community.

The Acc Labs are UNDP’s answer to a rapidly changing world made even more so by COVID19, climate change, misinformation and a plethora of other challenges. The Acc Labs aim to address these through innovative learning approaches to reduce the gap between what we are doing now, and what needs to happen.

Acc Labs follow an interesting learning loop to build and accelerate learning. While traditional development focuses on detailed planning followed by intense execution and end of cycle monitoring, Acc Labs focus on quick exploration, hypothesis generation and testing. As a novel approach to development, Acc Labs use processes like sensemaking and horizon scanning to identify emerging patterns including challenges and opportunities in the local context, where to direct attention and what should be prioritized. With a core belief that those closest to the problem often find the best solutions, Acc Labs also look for citizen-led solutions. With these insights and bright sparks, Acc Labs create a portfolio of potential solutions that can intervene at multiple points in the system and test them rapidly. This cycle enables Acc Labs to unearth understanding about what works and what does not while solving challenges.
 

(l-r) CEO of local tech company, SkyEye, Faasootauloa Sam Saili & Acc Lab's Head of Exploration, Taimalelagi Kaisarina Salesa at the launch event for Acc Lab Samoa

 

“We are committed to our vision of making a real difference in Pacific people’s lives by supporting countries to accelerate progress on human development. We have the SDGs at the forefront of our focus, and at the heart of our work is our pledge to ‘leave no one behind’,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Samoa, Jorn Sorensen. 

“We are confident that with our Acc Lab bringing more innovation, and our track record of working across the goals, this provides us with valuable experience and proven policy expertise to ensure we all reach the targets set out in the SDGs by 2030. We humbly acknowledge that we cannot do this alone. Achieving the SDGs and ensuring the Acc Lab work to its full potential, require the partnership of governments, private sector, civil society, and citizens alike to make sure we leave a better planet for future generations.”

-ENDS-

For media queries, please contact:

Laufaleaina Lesa, UNDP Multi Country Office, Samoa|Tel. +685 23670|E: laufaleaina.lesa@undp.org 
www.ws.undp.org   @UNDP in Samoa, Cook Islands, Tokelau & Niue   @undpsamoa

 

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