India-Based Software Engineer Wins First Prize in United Nations #LinksSDGs Data Visualization Challenge

PI/2158-ENV/DEV/1640
15 March 2016

India-Based Software Engineer Wins First Prize in United Nations #LinksSDGs Data Visualization Challenge

NEW YORK, 15 March (Office of Information and Communications Technology) — The United Nations announced today that Abdulqadir Rashik has won the Unite Ideas #LinksSDGs Data Visualization Challenge.  Mr. Rashik, a software engineer, entrepreneur and founder of India-based Miavy Systems, was awarded the Challenge’s top prize for his submission “Links to Sustainable Cities”, an interactive visualization that identifies and maps the links between Sustainable Development Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and the other 16 Goals.

The project was a collaboration between the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Division for Sustainable Development and the Office of Information and Communications Technology.  The global data science competition aimed to engage the public in sharing ideas about how to visualize the interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 global goals and 169 targets that form the basis of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

By identifying the number, type and directionality of links, the tool identifies which goals would most likely create opportunities for, or barriers to, the development of cities and communities that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.  These include ensuring decent work and economic growth, facilitating industry innovation and building resilient infrastructure, encouraging responsible consumption and production, and reducing income inequality.

“Sustainable development as an approach tries to understand the world in an integrated, systemic way and seeks to understand the multiple relationships that exist among all these goals,” said Nikhil Chandavarkar, Chief of the Division for Sustainable Development’s Outreach and Communications Branch.  “A challenge going forward is to better understand them and map them in a way that is easy to understand, while preserving the complexity of the whole.  This challenge allowed us to tap the creativity of the public to start to unravel that complexity and we are thrilled with the result.”

The project was a collaboration between the Division for Sustainable Development and the Office of Information and Communications Technology.  The solutions submitted as part of the #LinksSDGs Challenge will be used to identify further research opportunities and guide policy decisions around the implementation of global sustainability initiatives.  In accepting his first-place award, Mr. Rashik noted:  “If my solution results in uplifting the standard of living of even a single family, I would count it as one of my greatest achievements.”

#LinksSDGs is the third challenge issued by Unite Ideas, a big data crowdsourcing platform developed by the Office of Information and Communications Technology to facilitate collaboration among academia, civil society and United Nations offices, and to mobilize data scientists and software developers worldwide to help tackle the complex issues faced by the Organization and its Member States though the creation of open source solutions.  To date, academia, the general public and private companies have responded to the Unite Ideas challenges with more than 35 open source solutions, many of which will be used by the United Nations or shared with Member States.

“The many interlinkages between factors like climate, energy, economic development, land use and income inequality, means the demand for analytical modelling tools has increased dramatically since the introduction of Agenda 2030,” said Salem Avan, Chief of the Office of Information and Communications Technology’s Global Services Division.  “The need to develop new ways of looking at data to support better and faster decision-making can only be done through partnerships, including with highly talented and creative individuals with new ideas and a strong will to help improve human lives.”  He added:  “We extend our sincere thanks to all those who took the time to develop some outstanding solutions.”

In addition to Mr. Rashik, other finalists were second place, Jorge Martinez Navarrete; third place, Wouter Eekhout of Leiden University Centre for Innovation; and joint-fourth place, Sandeep Konam, Michael Rosenberg, Minyoung Rho, Ticha Sethapakdi, Allison Fisher and Robin Park of Carnegie Mellon University.

The winning #LinksSDGs solution, along with other finalist submissions, can be viewed at unite.un.org/ideas.  For more information, please contact Ms. Taija Sironen at e-mail:  uniteideas@un.org.

For information media. Not an official record.