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COP28 Global Innovation Hub – A Gigaton Opportunity: Tools and initiatives delivering on the gigaton scale towards 11 billion flourishing lives

December 1, 2023
Dubai, UAE
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Mission Innovation’s NCI and the UNFCCC Global Innovation Hub co-hosted the event “A Gigaton Opportunity: Tools and initiatives delivering on the gigaton scale towards 11 billion flourishing lives”, with the goal of establishing a network of incubators/accelerators supporting the exponential uptake of sustainable start-ups delivering on a future where 11 billion live flourishing lives on a regenerative planet in balance. where initiatives and tools to support an expanded innovation agenda were presented. The initiatives presented have a strong focus on global sustainability, with many of focusing on the global south.


Massamba Thioye, Project Executive, UNFCCC Global Innovation Hub

Dennis Pamlin, Executive Director, Mission Innovation NCI / Senior Advisor, RISE

HE Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, Minister of Labour and Skills, Ethiopia

Eleanor Webster, Head of Mission Innovation Secretariat

Smita Rakesh, Partner, Social Alpha

Niclas Carlsson, Director, International market development, The Energy Agency, Sweden

Caitlin Nash, Co-founder, Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG)

Leandro Costa, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Innovation Park Tech in São José dos Campos

Marvin Henry, Climate Action and Avoided Emissions, WBCSD

Andrew Stokes, Senior Advisor, Innovator Support & International, Catapult Energy System, UK

HE Muferihat Kamil Ahmed highlighted that Ethiopia supports a new generation of solution providers rather than only focusing on how to reduce old problems, as the focus on core human needs fits well with their current plans and needs. She also stressed that it is time to consider Africa and Ethiopia as a major and leading solutions provider in international initiatives going forward.

Eleanor Webster discussed what is needed to take impactful action in relation to climate issues, and to move from only technological and sectorial thinking and instead include, such as discussing geography, politics, and societal trends. She gave the example of “Energy-relevant innovation”, stressing the need to not assume that a current solution is what fits best for a sustainable future and having “the right solution for the right place”.

Smita Rakesh discussed prioritizing human needs and solutions that provide an improved quality of life for the population in India, as well as targeting the crucial markets where human needs are facing challenges (e.g. food security and female hygiene), and using these principles as a fundamental KPI when picking solutions to support.  

Leandro Costa, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Innovation Park Tech discussed the role that start-up companies have as a key actor group that can be “ESG [Environmental, Social, Governance] enablers” and supporting them in adapting to different markets to enable a global impact. He also highlighted local Brazilian examples of start-up that conduct forward-looking work to support sustainable ecosystems, such as regenerating the Amazon rainforest and forecasting natural disasters.

Niclas Carlsson from the Sweden Energy Agency discussed the need for supporting organizations and countries to shift the focus to the Global South and to provide arenas that allow for international collaboration and the support for small and medium-sized companies.

Caitlin Nash from Global Innovation Initiative Group talked about “building heroes” showing that transformation is possible to achieve. As an example, she used start-up competitions that have allowed them identify and supported start-ups in Africa that can solve core human needs, such as housing materials from recycled plastics to integration of various safety response mechanisms to allow for unified and more effective response in times of crisis.

Marvin Henry from WBCSD discussed that many existing companies struggle to show the environmental impact they can have, and how their guidelines of avoided emissions can help assess the impact that solutions can have beyond the direct organization or solution provider. He elaborated the need to have customized and geographically relevant assessments to properly assess and compare solutions in their relevant contexts to unlock maximum potential of solutions that are being financed.

Andrew Stokes presented how the identification of systematically impactful solutions, supported by both industry and academia, and their focus need to be split been existing and scalable solutions and emerging solutions with high potential. The initiative is based on collaboration and sharing of ideas and resources between stakeholders and nations to open new markets.