It is time to apply for the ongoing UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge 2020 if you haven’t. This is a call for innovation by the United Nations Development in fulfilling SDG 14; conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
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The Ocean Challenge is in series, and it’s available for participation by different bodies. It is coming at a time when the world’s oceans and seas face unprecedented pressures. Therefore, the UN is using this as a way to shine a light on innovative, entrepreneurial and creative approaches that can advance ocean, and coastal restoration and protection.
The window for the first call is open till March 5, 2020. It is open to entrepreneurs with creative ideas to help solve ocean challenges. It’s also open to scalable solutions that help maintain marine ecosystems, and support marine life.
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The Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC)
The Ocean Innovation Challenge is a mechanism designed to accelerate progress on SDG 14. The aim of the program is to identify, finance, advise, and mentor truly innovative, entrepreneurial and creative approaches to the ocean and coastal restoration and protection that sustains livelihoods and advances the ‘blue economy’. Therefore, the challenge seeks innovations that are transferable, replicable and scalable in order to achieve maximum impact.
Basically, the innovation can include new approaches or the transfer of adaptation of existing proven approaches to new contexts and/or locales or both. Solutions can center on the reduction of plastic pollution, eliminating overfishing, or enhancing access for small scale fishers. Most importantly, it should contribute directly to the delivery of one or more SDG14 targets.
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Examples Of Innovative Initiatives That Could Be Funded
This challenge focuses on ocean pollution, with a strong focus on nutrients and plastics from land-based and ocean-based sources.
While by no means exhaustive, some general examples of the types of innovations that could be considered include:
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- Design, manufacturing, supply chain and other innovations that serve to reduce plastics utilization and/or enhance plastics recovery, recycling, and re-use.
- Design and manufacturing of truly biodegradable substitutes for plastics.
- The Design of recyclable plastic resins that can replace non-recyclable resins in similar products
- Introduction of plastics waste collection, recycling and re-use programs in developing country municipalities including mechanisms for full cost recovery (such as container deposit laws).
- Financial, policy, regulatory or other incentives that minimize loss of fishing nets and optimize their recovery for re-use or recycling.
- Economic, policy, regulatory and other measures/incentives to minimize or eliminate the use of unnecessary single-use plastic items.
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- Innovations in fertilizer design, manufacture and/or application that minimize fertilizer nitrogen loss from fields and maximize uptake by crops;
- Introduction of market-based instruments that promote more efficient fertilizer use in watersheds/coastal areas facing nutrient pollution (tradeable emission permits, pollution taxes, etc.)
- Testing policy, regulatory and/or economic incentives that promote safe collection, recovery, and re-use of nutrients from municipal and/or agricultural wastewater.
- Piloting of scalable ‘non-traditional’ wastewater collection and/or treatment approaches such as local wastewater source separation for safe collection and re-use of nutrients, e.t.c
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Who Should Apply For The Ocean Innovation Challenge
Proposals for the Ocean Innovation Challenge can be submitted by Governments, Private Entities (including start-ups), NGOs, CSOs, Academic Institutions, United Nations Entities, and other Intergovernmental Organisations.
It must be implemented in and must benefit stakeholders in developing countries, but maybe submitted by applicants in either developing or developed countries.
All proposals should include a special focus on ensuring gender equity, livelihoods of the poor and poverty eradication.
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What To Know About Ocean Innovation Challenge
The total grant ranges from $50,000 to $250,000 and the project time frame is from one to two years.
The application process is in three stages. The first is the preliminary proposal submission open from January till March 5, 2020. Next, is April 2020; successful applicants will be invited to submit a more detailed project proposal before 25 April 2020.
Thereafter, OIC Award-winners will be announced at the 2nd UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, 2– 6 June 2020.
Also, applications can be submitted in English, French or Spanish.
For more information, go their website and read more, and apply here.
Generally, if you an entrepreneur, and can proffer solutions to the unprecedented ocean challenges in the world today, do well to submit your proposal and be a part of this.
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Photo Credit: Twitter (#oceaninnovationchallenge)