LifeCradle by Malav Sanghavi from India and Evaporative Cooling Vest by Jordan Imahori from Canada are the winning solutions of the Vatican Youth Symposium, an event organized by SDSN Youth and the Pontifical Academy of Science (PAS) which has seen 48 delegates from more than 30 countries showcasing their innovative solutions for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. As best solutions awarded, these projects will be presented at the Low Emissions Solutions Conference during the Conference of Parties (COP22) and will be featured in a special section of the Youth Solutions Report.

Malav Sanghavi won the first place in the ranking with his LifeCradle, a social enterprise aimed to reduce World’s Infant Mortality rate in under-developed and developing countries like India, Africa and Latin America which still suffer for absence of neonatal care due to the huge equipment costs and inconsistency of electricity. Focusing on resolving these problems LifeCradle is actually developing a low cost, cardboard baby incubator, which provides basic facilities (like warmth, clean environment and monitoring) for the child's survival in the first few critical days of its life. The base made up of cardboard is designed to function as a make-shift cot for the child once it leaves neonatal care, providing it with adequate, hygienic living conditions at home. The lid, which contains all the technology, is reused for next child's LifeCradle. LifeCradle aims to reach the market in beginning of 2018 and to address the SDG 3‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’ and SDG 9 ‘Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.’

At the second place the Vatican Youth Symposium has awarded Jordan Imahori with his solution Evaporative Cooling Vest, an innovative under-development product by Aegis, a nonprofit organization, which aims to reduce heat-related deaths and medical complications in the construction industries of countries where severe heat-stress is a workplace hazard. The cooling vests use the evaporation of water to cool the user and are capable of reducing the impact of high temperatures on the wearer’s health. These vests incorporate the features of traditional high-visibility construction vests and are certified to ISO, ANSI, OEKO, and REACH standards, allowing workers to wear them in lieu of regular safety equipment. In April 2016, Aegis received funding from the University of Toronto to carry out pilot testing of product design in Qatar, which showcase that vests are effective in reducing the dangerous effect of heat on the body. This solution, which is currently focused on reaching the market of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, is addressed to SDG 8 and in details target number 8.8., which indeed states ‘protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, especially migrant worker, particularly women workers, and those in precarious employment.’

The two winning solutions, announced by Siamak Sam Loni (Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth) during the Closing Ceremony Dinner of the Vatican Youth Symposium, have been selected, among the 10 finalists of the event, by a panel of judges chaired by SDSN experts, SDSN Youth and their partners including: Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo (Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences), Dr. Betsee Parker (Special Advisor to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network), Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network & Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the SDGs), Gabriella Marino (Pontifical Accademy of Sciences) Anthony Annett (Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network) Siamak Sam Loni (Global Coordinator, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth), Virgilio Viana (Chair SDSN Amazonia), Serena Kao (Chair - UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Singapore), Katarzyna Dembska (Researcher - Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation).

The solutions awarded are a clear signal that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals is possible by investing in the creativity and commitment of youngster as well as leveraging on technological solutions able to boost the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Cooperation among young leaders from a range of cultures and various disciplines such as tech, advocacy, research and policy is for sure one of the key aspects for a successful achievement of the SDGs. In this regard the Vatican Youth Symposium has been a crucial opportunity to build up networks by means of which youth can share their own ideas and to feed the global debate on sustainable development.

Andrea Zucca and Fabrizio Saladini attended the Vatican Youth Symposium for the SDSN Youth delegation. All opinions expressed on the blog are the opinions of the author, and not that of SDSN Youth