A lady wearing a blue sinh skirt, her head held high, looking into a virtual reality headset with the United Nations logo printed on it – this image was the United Nation’s hallmark for its UN Day event this year.
UN Digital attracted over 300 guests to the Major Platinum Cineplex at Vientiane Center on Oct 24. The event paired an unprecedented display of mobile, interactive and green technologies with the exhibit of the UN family’s broad range of work in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in Lao PDR.
The Government of Lao PDR, together with 192 other member states, endorsed the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) last year. These global goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Their aim is to shift the world onto a sustainable development path, with 2030 as the target date. Lao PDR has already incorporated these global goals into national strategies and plans, and launched its own national SDG 18, “Lives safe from UXO,” on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summits this past September, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Guests at today’s event learned more about the SDGs at eight interactive stations. They had the opportunity to experience the first-ever virtual reality film produced for Lao audiences, which immerses the viewer in the working reality of a UXO clearance team.
They tried a range of UN-produced apps on Huawei mobile devices, met Noi, a young girl representing all Lao adolescent girls in stop motion animation, took a virtual trip to a southern Lao forest in the Immersive Biosphere Booth via 360 degree photography, had a virtual experience of United Nations Volunteer work, viewed stunning images flying high above Lao PDR from aerial imaging drones and interacted with innovative community health services. These stations were manned by staff members from the 20 agencies of the UN family working in Lao PDR, from UNESCO to WHO.
This interactive experience had the purpose of introducing the UN’s work of supporting the government’s national development goals in an engaging way, answering the question of how technology benefits people on the ground and works for poverty eradication.
“New technologies are driving rapid global change. The United Nations wants to harness mobile technology to meet pressing global development goals, for the benefit of all people, leaving no one behind,” said Ms. Kaarina Immonen, UN Resident Coordinator in her opening address at today’s event.
During this first part of the evening, the audience took an audiovisual tour of the UN’s work through films showcasing the benefits of technologies for communities in Laos. Guests also watched short trailers produced by the UN for global audiences, raising world-wide issues such as climate action with the help of the Angry Birds, amongst others.
The event was also attended by Mr. Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, and another high-ranking government officials and diplomats.