Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, will attract a large number of heads of state and decision makers from around the world. The conference will take place on June 20-22, 2012 – 20 years after the Earth Summit, the historic United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Hence, the conference name: Rio+20. One objective of the Rio+20 Conference is to identify the right responses to such challenges.
"Technology in Action" shows, that the technologies to make development more sustainable are available today. But more responses are needed. This is why the Siemens Stiftung initiates the "empowering people. Award" and invites others to join forces to achieve collaborative success in development ventures. Following the principle "We can act now", the competition facilitates access to adequate technological solutions tackling basic supply challenges. The global competition was launched today at Rio+20 by Barbara Kux, as well as by Ulrike Wahl, Managing Director of Siemens Stiftung.
The projects of "Technology in Action"
Under the umbrella of the WindEmpowerment association, more than 30 organizations exchange knowledge and resources to train rural communities to locally build and maintain small wind turbines. The collective intelligence of the association comes together on a platform where members share, discuss, and push forward "open source" technical and social-economic solutions. In workshops throughout the world, members of rural communities have gained knowledge on the simple technology and construction methods. By enabling them to start their own small business, this improves the community level in the long term.
Yansa Group: Wind. Power. People.
The Yansa Group partners with indigenous, peasant, and fisherfolk communities to harness and sell their renewable energy resources, creating a stream of income that supports a robust local development. The initial project of the not-for-profit wind developer is a partnership with the community of Ixtepec in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to establish Mexico's first community-based, large-scale wind farm. The project will generate profit through the sale of wind energy to the national grid.
Light close to everyone
The project "Luz cerca de todos" (Light close to everyone) works to bring electric power to remote villages that are not connected to the grid in the state of Queretaro in Mexico. Siemens supported it by installing solar panels that have changed the people's life proving that bringing energy from renewable sources to the communities is a great solution. Now Siemens continues to work with the Government of Queretaro to promote the project, invite other companies to join and continue lighting remote communities – as this job can only be achieved by team work.
The Water-EnergyHub (WE!Hub) supplies communities in remote regions in Kenya with clean drinking water as well as affordable and environment-friendly off-grid energy. The WE!Hub is a joint project of the Global Nature Fund, Light for Life, OSRAM AG, and Thames Electricals Ltd. The project is funded by the European Union. The Siemens Stiftung is a further project supporter. The WE!Hubs are realized in collaboration with local partners and communities and are socially and financially self-sustainable. Thus they represent an important contribution to sustainable development in the region.
SkyHydrant water filters and Aqua Stations
The Aqua Stations are aimed at the cultivation of sustainable water supply in remote regions. They are equipped with their own water treatment plant that has been developed by the SkyJuice Foundation. The stations sell potable water to the local population, initiate entrepreneurial activities and open up new opportunities for generating income. They are connected to existing structures in the communities like markets, schools, and hospitals, so they also help to shorten the often long journeys to potable water.
Expedicionários da Saúde
Siemens Healthcare Brazil is supporting Expedicionários da Saúde (Health Expeditionary), a Brazilian non-governmental organization, in providing healthcare assistance to an indigenous Indian population in the remote Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Siemens Brazil offered its support for this expedition with monetary donations and by providing two ultrasound systems – a portable ACUSON P10™ and an ACUSON X150™. In their expedition in April 2012, they set up a Skyhydrant that will remain in the Amazon.
Fundación EHAS aims to improve healthcare structures in developing countries by closing the distance between non-physician-staffed health posts in rural areas and the nearest health center and its doctors. To achieve this goal, Fundación EHAS establishes telecommunications infrastructure and develops telemedicine services like tele-stethoscopy (for respiratory disease), tele-microscopy (diarrheal disease), and tele-ultrasound (pregnancy monitoring).
Poverty condemns half the world's population to use wood, dung or charcoal for cooking and heating. As a result, nearly two million people die each year from respiratory infections caused by smoke in their own homes. Practical Action and Bosch and Siemens Home Appliances Group (BSH) have been working with communities in Nepal to design and test smoke hoods to remove indoor air pollution. They have developed an interactive toolkit that people can use to design their own smoke hoods.
Technology for Tomorrow Ltd.
T4T produces and sells sanitary pads – MakaPads – according to the principles of sustainable development. The MakaPads are produced locally using readily available natural and recycled material. As they cost less than 50 percent of other pads, girls can more easily access sanitary pads. This helps them manage their menstruation cycles and reduces the rate of school absenteeism and dropouts. The production of MakaPads provides employment for disadvantaged members of Ugandan society.
The main goal of Ciudad Saludable is to contribute to improvements in the quality of life of the poorest populations through efficient solid waste management. This will result in cleaner cities and the creation of jobs. To achieve this goal, Ciudad Saludable supports the establishment of community-organized waste-management systems and helps waste pickers to form professional waste-picker associations, which can then negotiate with local authorities for contracts to manage a local area.
Sierra Productiva project
The Sierra Productiva project targets sustainable development for the indigenous rural population of Peru. According to the Sierra Productiva-approach, small farmers implement 18 simple technical innovations in the course of a three-year cycle, while making autonomous decisions about their future in organized groups. This will help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals of optimizing cultivation and production methods, ensuring food supply, improving health, and providing education.