India’s fight against climate change and disasters needs your bold tech solutions

This year has been an eye-opener in many ways for all of us. The ongoing pandemic, along with the two Cyclones, put to test the disaster management techniques and solutions that countries like India have at their disposal. It also revealed how the earth heals itself if we restrain our practices that are exacerbating climate change and most importantly, it made us question what is important. But more than anything else, the continued spread of COVID-19 brought to the forefront the need to focus more on innovation.

People are finally understanding the need for technological innovations in different areas, as we combat newer problems that were once unfathomable. This need has been recognised by various national and global agencies for some time now, with their increasing thrust on innovation. One such avenue which crowds-in key innovations to address the dire needs of our times is the TechEmerge Resilience India Challenge.

A technology challenge, organised by the World Bank in partnership with Government of India’s National Disaster Management Authority and CES, TechEmerge Resilience India, is inspiring key innovators to offer unique solutions to problems like disaster preparedness, response and resilience to climate change, within the restrictive environment of the pandemic. TechEmerge Resilience India is a call for all tech innovators across India and the world with cutting-edge and relevant solutions to these challenges, with a deadline of July 20, 2020.

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What is TechEmerge Resilience India?

TechEmerge Resilience India is an initiative that is eager to find solutions for key resilience problems that are particularly crucial for India, as well as the world. A part of the ‘Global Tech Challenge’ presented by the World Bank Group and CES®, it aims to bring out the most promising disruptive technology (DT) innovators and help solve key global challenges. TechEmerge Resilience India 2020 is focusing on two key topics – Disaster Management during COVID-19 Pandemic & Resilience to Climate Change and Disasters.

Disaster Management during COVID-19 Pandemic

The disaster management solutions in this front were welcomed since its launch on June 9 and grabbed quite a few eyeballs. The key solutions in this front were focused on tackling the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and its economic, social impacts, while dealing with challenges thrown by the cyclone and monsoon season in India. Economists have been noticing that the continued inflation and unemployment paired with the despair and apathy of COVID-19 can have long-standing irrevocable damages to the economy in India and other key countries as well. The entries in this track invited unique solutions in the field of integrated health and disaster data solutions, disaster preparedness for high-risk communities as well as automated early warning and post-disaster impact assessment. The application for this track was closed on June 22, 2020.

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Resilience to Climate Change and Disasters

This track focuses on finding solutions that can build greater resilience to the recurring cycle of disasters and impacts of climate change being experienced across India. The TechEmerge Resilience India 2020 is still accepting entries and solutions for this track. Tech innovators and strategists who either have prototypes or proven thesis in the avenue of Risk Information & Resilience Analytics, Hyperlocal early warning systems, Building resilience and mitigating risks or local resilience and response capacity can submit their entries here. The application for Resilience to Climate Change and Disasters will remain open till July 20, 2020.

Why should you participate?

Technology and data have the power of understanding any large-scale problem and can often help us with innovative solutions that are the need of the hour. The ideas and innovations that have been accepted at TechEmerge Resilience India will be assessed by a reputed jury including IBM and NASSCOM, and the most relevant selected solutions will receive grant funding from a pool of up to US$1 million and a chance to work with State Disaster Management Authorities. But more than that, this medium offers you the platform to actually contribute to causes that require attention and bring about transformational changes in the disaster management system.

How can technology help tackle climate change?

India recently received its first-ever climate change assessment which captures the grim reality of where we actually stand. Not only are we headed for a rise in temperature by 4.4oC, but our sea level is also projected to rise by 30 cm by the end of this century. The facts and projections of this report highlight that we need to tackle this problem, and we need to do it now. The easiest way to begin is by opening the arena for everyone, in the hope of eyeing a new ground-breaking solution that can help us slow this down. The use of emerging technologies like AI, IoT, Blockchain can revolutionize the way disaster managers and decision makers acquire, analyze and act on extreme events and impacts of climate change. To meet these challenges in disaster preparedness and climate adaptation, and to utilize the innovative resources already available, there is a need to bridge the awareness/tech transfer gap and bring together demand and supply – those who are dealing with disasters and climate change challenges and those with technological solutions – to facilitate the integration and scale up. TechEmerge Resilience India does exactly that.

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The added benefit

In addition to the social as well as emotional satisfaction of being a part of a cause much larger and much more important than our regular life, the TechEmerge Resilience India Challenge also offers some attractive benefits that will motivate innovators to give their level best. After the applications at the TechEmerge Resilience India Challenge are evaluated by a reputed jury, selected winners will have access to a pool of up to US $1 million in grant funding for deployment, supported by UK’s DFID. In addition to this, they will also receive an opportunity to work with Disaster Management Authorities (DMAs) to actually deploy their solutions. The top five innovators will also get an opportunity to showcase their solutions at Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is scheduled for January 2021 in Las Vegas.

India has been one of the few countries that have managed to tackle various disasters with spectacular finesse. However, there are some avenues that require increased attention, and extreme weather events caused by climate change are at the top of the list. The possibility of disaster brings with it the wrath of despair that is particularly hard for developing countries like India, especially its vulnerable and migrant population. This initiative aims to acknowledge this high-risk and provide tangible solutions that will help us build resilience to, and manage, the future calamities better. The key outcome from the TechEmerge Resilience India Challenge, is to mobilize the enormous innovation and technology solutions that will help India combat the issues of climate change and disaster management. If you think you have a practical and pragmatic solution, then send in your applications before July 20, 2020.

( Originally published on Jul 09, 2020 )

(This article is generated and published by ET Spotlight team. You can get in touch with them on etspotlight@timesinternet.in)

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