Text: Oksana Udovyk, Head of Experimentation, UNDP Accelerator Lab Ukraine Editing: Euan MacDonald, Communication Unit, UNDP Ukraine
This year, for the first time, UNDP Accelerator Labs, in partnership with the Biomimicry Institute in the United States and a number of Ukrainian Non-Governmental Organizations invited innovators, engineers, designers, and inventors to participate in the national selection round for the Global Biomimicry Challenge – an international contest supporting biomimicry-based solutions. Last year, the United Nations Development Programme created a network of 60 innovation labs covering 78 countries to design and test new solutions for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Kyiv is the location of one of them.
What is Biomimicry?
Biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges. These nature-inspired solutions and their integration into society have been at the heart of our Accelerator Lab’s mission since it was first launched in September 2019. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, biomimicry offered creative solutions and lessons from nature to respond against the crisis.
About the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge
The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, hosted by the Biomimicry Institute, is an annual competition that unites hundreds of students, professionals, and global innovators to address critical global issues and with nature-inspired solutions. The Challenge is to create nature-inspired innovations (products, services or systems) that align with one (or more) of the 17 SDGs, to make human life more sustainable.
About the Ukrainian National Selection Round of the Challenge
The national selection round for the Global Biomimicry Challenge was co-organized by the UNDP Accelerator Labs in partnership with the Biomimicry Challenge in the United States and a number of Ukrainian NGOs. Participants were selected based on their projects’ coherency with the concept of biomimicry, its potential to be further developed, and prospects for global innovation. The finalists of the Ukrainian National Selection Round go on to participate in the Global Design Challenge, representing Ukraine at the international level of the competition.
After a competitive national selection process involving many applicants, three finalists were chosen for their inventive projects and designs. They will be competing in the Global Challenge.
About the Local Mentors
The finalists in the challenge also had local mentors based in Ukraine, from both UNDP Ukraine and NGOs. These mentors included:
● Klaudia Shevelyuk from Change Agency Responsible Future, is a UNDP national consultant on sustainable development under the project “E-learning for sustainable development.” Klaudia advises Ukrainian and international organizations and businesses on sustainability strategies, policies and programs as well as on non-financial reports, life-cycle assessments and stakeholders engagement.
● Mykola Riabyka is an ecologist from Plato. The organization works to adapt urban space to climate change, on the practical implementation of nature-based solutions and advocates the formation of a comprehensive climate policy in Lviv.
● Iryna Galiuk is green economy projects’ coordinator at PPV Knowledge Networks, an economic development agency operating in Lviv. Within the Green Economy Department, she advances sustainable practices in the local and regional economy through analytical studies, consulting and project implementation.
● Kateryna Strypko is head of CO “CF “Fund for the protection of biodiversity of Ukraine.” Together with the fund’s team she works to educate people about the value of biodiversity for life on Earth, and about ecosystem services that nature provides people. She and her team also implement projects that protect Ukraine’s biodiversity.