IBM is accepting proposals for the next cohort of the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, which will focus on water management solutions. This program applies IBM technologies, such as hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence, and an ecosystem of experts to enhance and scale projects focused on populations vulnerable to environmental threats.
According to the World Health Organization, over 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries. This challenge is expected to be exacerbated in some regions as result of climate change and population growth.
In alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, IBM will look to support projects that help improve equitable access to safe drinking water for all, improve water quality by reducing pollution, increase water-use efficiency across all sectors, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, increase sanitation management, and reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity – among other purposes.
The RFP process will include input from IBM across disciplines, and from representatives from organizations such as Water.org and the United Nations Development Programme. The selection criteria will consider the applicant's capacity and readiness to support communities who are especially vulnerable to water-related threats, technical feasibility and sustainability for the envisioned solution, and transparency on measurement and reporting – along with others.
"Water management for the world's most vulnerable communities is a tremendous challenge," said IBM VP and Chief Impact Officer Justina Nixon-Saintil. "Following our first two cohorts on sustainable agriculture and clean energy, now we look forward to working with organizations with initiatives that scale technology solutions that will support communities in overcoming water challenges, including shortages, pollution, or conservation."
This year's RFP process will include input from Ben Mandell, Utility Services Expert at Water.org and Mary M. Matthews, Head of the UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge and interim Head of Water and Ocean Governance Programme – together with other partner experts. They will share their input and expertise throughout the selection cycle.
"Innovation in the water management space is key for meeting UN SDG 6," said Mandell, one of the judges for the water cohort selection. "Organization initiatives that are selected to participate in the IBM Sustainability Accelerator will have a significant opportunity to make an impact with the help of IBM's technology, expertise, and network across its large ecosystem of partners."