Designing a Sustainable Future using ICTs

1319 Registered Allowed team size: 2 - 5

This campaign is over.

starts on:
Nov 08, 2021, 09:00 AM
ends on:
Nov 24, 2021, 10:59 PM


  • Sustainability is defined as a balance between the environment, equity, and economy. Catastrophic impact on people’s livelihood caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was a major setback on transformations put forth in the 2030 Agenda.
  • It was fairly noted by the UN Secretary-General that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are now more important than ever and that “now is the time to secure the well-being of people, economies, societies and our planet”[1]. Therefore, it is crucial that we develop sustainable solutions that guarantee equality and better future for all.
  • The world of technology is changing at a fast pace and communities around the globe are joining the digital revolution to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. In line with Resolution А/70/1 and Resolution А/70/125, the WSIS Process implementation activities have been aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, thereby highlighting the direct linkages between WSIS Action Lines and SDGs.
  • We believe that with the power of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) we can achieve global sustainable development. ICTs serve as a catalyst for change. They can help accelerate progress in upscaling solutions in education, health, governance, finance, climate, agriculture, and energy. They are also a means to raise public awareness, protect data, ensure digital security, deliver quality goods, create new jobs, improve connectivity, and achieve innovation across multiple sectors.

    [1] The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021. The United Nations.



What is the Hackathon About?

The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) of the United Arab Emirates in cooperation with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2022 is organizing an International Hackathon across three challenge areas to promote achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using ICTs. The Hackathon is organized as part of TDRA’s efforts towards the community and its responsibility to push forward digital transformation on national level and sharing knowledge on international platforms. Interested stakeholders are invited to analyze available data and come up with solutions to challenges in one of the following categories.

  1. Digital Safety: for solutions that support online safety including privacy, deterring intruders, protecting children and detecting criminal tendencies.
  2. Blockchain for a better life: for blockchain solutions that improve our lives in any field such as health, transportation, service provision and many more.
  3. Climate Change: for solutions that mitigate the impact of climate change or other weather phenomena on people.

We wish to inform all the participants that submission of a full-built solution is not a requirement. We are looking for a well-thought-out and well-presented idea/concept. Please provide video links/screenshots of the proof of concept should you have any to ensure a well-informed judging process. Kindly use the presentation template that can be found in the Submission Guidelines section. More information on the requirements are available on the same page.


Why should you participate?

Because your ideas can make a difference and help towards achieving safety for all in digital space, improving goods and services in healthcare, transportation, and other sectors through innovative solutions, mitigating climate change and building a sustainable environment.                                                                                                                                           

Who can apply and how?

  • The Hackathon is open to individuals with specific emphasis on healthcare, science, computer science, design, engineering, ICT, and other related fields.
  • Teams should consist of a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 persons
  • Participating teams are highly encouraged to ensure gender balance thus promoting women’s participation in the Hackathon.
  • To the extent possible, the teams should encompass both technical and functional competencies.
  • Age 18–50 years


Apply if you

…are passionate about technology and innovation for positive social, economic, and environmental impact

…would like to promote access to safe digital information and content that protects minors, respects data privacy, and contributes to well-being of people and the environment

…are in a team of motivated people and would like to further develop your idea or an existing project that contributes to sustainable development

…understand and can create solutions that are intrinsically useful and appealing to wider community


How to apply

As a team (between 2 to 5 persons; gender balance would be ideal)

NOTE that you can also apply individually (to get matched with an existing team that wishes your support over the course of the Hackathon). Projects submitted by 1 person will not be considered.  


Timeline and Selection Process

8 - 23 November 2021: Registration to the Hackathon platform

8 - 24 November 2021: ICT ideation phase and project submission

25 - 29 November 2021: Selection of top 3 in each challenge category and the Grand Winner

14 December 2021: Winner announcement at UNPSF


A representative from each winning team will be given a chance to attend the United Nations Public Service Forum that will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 13 to 15 December 2021. The winners will be announced on the second day of the event, 14 December 2021.

Note: A complimentary pass to EXPO 2020 hosted in Dubai will be given to everyone attending the UNPSF. The Government of the UAE will organize a visit to EXPO 2020 both the day before the Forum opens and immediately after the close of the Forum on 12 and 15 December respectively.

Dubai EXPO 2020 is the first World Expo ever hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Through the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, the World Expo aims to inspire people by showcasing the best examples of collaboration, innovation and cooperation from around the world.

Digital Safety

for solutions that support online safety including privacy, deterring intruders, protecting children and detecting criminal tendencies.

  • Proportion of Internet users amounted to 51% of the world population and 87% of the population in developing countries by 2019.[1] This number is increasing at a fast pace and despite vast social and economic opportunities created by digital technologies and access to Internet, there is a risk of growing cyber-incidents.
  • Increased rate of online security issues particularly during global pandemic leaves individuals, governments and organizations vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Lack of resources, awareness and capacity is another challenge for developing and least developed countries (LDC), as well as for Small and Medium Enterprises in private sector.[2]
  • According to one study, more than 80% of reported cybersecurity incidents were phishing attacks.[3] This puts at risk digital safety of youth around 70% of which are using Internet.[4] They constitute the greater proportion of active online users and there is an urgent need for ICT solutions that could step in to provide digital safety for all.
  • Many efforts have been undertaken in response to security issues in the digital space such as establishing Cyber Incidence Response Teams (CIRT), developing guidelines on online safety, and promoting multi-stakeholder dialogues on ICTs for building security and confidence. This topic is aligned with WSIS Action Line C5 (Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs) and links to several SDGs including Goals 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10.


[1] Role of ITU in building confidence and trust in the use of ICTs. International Telecommunication Union. 

[2] Role of ITU in building confidence and trust in the use of ICTs. International Telecommunication Union. 

[3] Top cybersecurity statistics, trends, and facts. CSO Online.

[4] ICT Statistics. Facts and Figures. International Telecommunication Union.

Blockchain for a better life

for blockchain solutions that improve our lives in any field such as health, transportation, service provision and many more.

  • Innovative blockchain technology has attracted a growing interest in such sectors as telecommunications, healthcare, governments, and supply chain to name a few. 
  • It has a potential to build an inclusive, transparent and accountable digital economy[1] and has certain benefits in the areas of data security, digital infrastructure, and management.
  • Recent examples of the use of Blockchain in various countries to develop digital solutions to reduce poverty (Goal 1) in Thailand, to improve healthcare (Goal 3) in Cuba, to contribute to gender equality (Goal 5) through promoting financial independence of women, and to reduce inequalities (Goal 10) through improving Internet connectivity in schools demonstrate the capacity of this technology’s use for achieving sustainable development.[2]
  • We believe Blockchain’s potential should be leveraged by organizations and governments to improve well-being of people and look for solutions and innovative ideas where blockchain contributes to a better life for all.


[1] Blockchains and the G20: Building an Inclusive, Transparentand Accountable Digital Economy. Centre for International Governance Innovation. 

[2] Harnessing rapid technological change for inclusive and sustainable development. UNCTAD pp 13-17. 

Climate Change

for solutions that mitigate the impact of climate change or other weather phenomena on people. 

  • Climate change issues such as rise in temperature of the Earth’s surface, warming oceans and sea level rise has an impact on sustainable development and well-being of people and environment. In addition, people’s approach to sustainable development such as to climate action (Goal 13), life below water (Goal 14) and life on land (Goal 15) is one of the contributing factors to whether the climate change can be mitigated effectively.
  • In this regard, WSIS Action Line C7 (E-environment) promotes the use of ICTs to protect the environment, ensure sustainable allocation of natural resources and works towards realization of Goals 9, 11, 13, 14 and 15.
  • While being part of the problem and adding to the growing levels of global e-waste and carbon emissions, ICTs are also a solution in forms of digital opportunities connecting people and workplaces reducing waste and commute, as well as devices and satellites helping monitor and measure climate change.
  • Cities are estimated to incur 80% of the global costs of adapting to climate change. Installing “smart infrastructure” such as smart electricity meters to improve monitoring of energy consumption and smart traffic lights to reduce pollution and traffic jams is one of the solutions.[1]


[1] Climate Change. International Telecommunication Union. 

Social Share

View All Notifications