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Discussion on technological innovation for SDGs takes center stage

This panel event was a precursor to the upcoming SDG Hackathon 2019 on the 6th, 7th and 8th of December, and the Women SDG Challenge Cup 2019 on 8th December. The three-day event by Jazz in partnership with Code for Pakistan and OPEN Islamabad will be held at the National Incubation Center Islamabad. The event will be attended by digital bloggers, tech analysts, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The SDG Hackathon is a community-building endeavor, and aims to promote creativity, innovation, and civic engagement, while also spreading awareness about the Sustainable
Development Goals and about the potential use of technology and digital tools to address social and civic issues.

In her speech, Bokhari praised the Hackathon as a way to engage youth, foster innovation and support the government in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals.

“It’s heartening to see young people engaged in the process of delivering the SDGs. I strongly believe that young people are agents of change,” said Bokhari.

She also spoke at length about how the Pakistan Citizen Portal is an example of innovation and the use of technology to better serve citizens. She highlighted efforts on part of the KP government to help communities through technology. Most important of which, she said, is the Mera Bacha Alert app recently launched by the KP government to help recover missing children.

She also stressed on how the Ministry of Law and Justice is striving to stay up-to-speed with technological innovations for successfully delivery of SDGs 5 and 16. “At the Ministry, we’re using innovation to achieve SDG 16, by codifying and making laws available online, on a website and app. Another example is our collaboration with SOC
Films and the European Union to spread awareness about the legal handlings of cases of honor killings by leveraging the reach of social media”, said Ms Bokhari.

Ms Bokhari’s keynote was followed by opening remarks from Aisha Sarwari, Head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability at Jazz, and then a panel discussion focusing on a Multi-Stakeholder Approach for Innovation in Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The panel was moderated by digital blogger Muzammil Hassan, and speakers included Dr Ayesha Khan (CEO, Akhtar Hameed Khan Resource Center), Rohma Labeeb (Accelerator and Partnerships Lead, Invest2Innovate), Ali Ibrahim (Stream Head Corporate Sustainability at Jazz), and Dr Saima Hamid (Vice-Chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Women’s University).

“The aim of Hackathon is not just to provide a platform for tech savvy youngsters to showcase their hacking skills as a way to benefit the communities in which they exist, but also to encourage process-based technological learning”, said Aisha Sarwari.

The panelists then engaged in a discussion around the need to create linkages and build communities to allow for diverse stakeholders to come together to co-create solutions and deliver the SDGs, as well as the need for a data-driven approach.

Hamid Akhtar, President, Code for Pakistan, closed the evening by underscoring how the SDG Hackathon is the ideal opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to come together, learn from one another and come up with solutions to social problems.