What is COP26?

COP26, or the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties UK, is a global event taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, 1-12 November 2021.

More than 200 state leaders are expected to commit to enhanced ambitions against climate change during the event following the adoption of the Paris Agreement international treaty on climate change where countries voluntarily set an agenda to foster stronger action against global warming.

Originally due to be held in November 2020, the conference was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What is “Road to COP26”? Who is involved?

Road to COP26 is a campaign of activities implemented by the British Council and funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Nepal. The campaign provides opportunities for young people, leaders and women / girls to take part in climate change dialogue using creative platforms, highlighting how creativity, innovation and enterprise can be harnessed to help deliver creative solutions to the global challenge of climate change. Activities are delivered by Nepal-UK partnerships brokered through the British Council’s national, UK and international networks of organisations and experts.

Road to COP26’s Innovation Grant Programme explores innovation through the creative sector of crafts. It is jointly delivered by Kathmandu University’s Schools of Arts and School of Engineering, Applied Arts Scotlandand Edinburgh Napier University. Additional partners include the National Innovation Center and is supported by the British Council’s global programme Crafting Futures.

What type of ideas is appropriate for the Programme? What stage does my idea need to be?

Ideas focused on the circular economy, sustainable material development, those that concern the sustainable use and management of natural resources by applying indigenous knowledge and traditions are encouraged to apply. We are also interested in ideas that can improve existing market opportunities for the craft sector by harnessing the power of digital technologies and light mechanisation.  

Much of climate change action in Nepal is concerned with the economic empowerment of communities and those people who are the first to feel its effects. Economic empowerment allows people to invest in multiple streams of income therefore guaranteeing ‘options’ against unforeseen outcomes.

Development of craft and other vocational skills has been consistently supported by the Nepal Government to enable economic gains for its labour force. There is still a lot of room for experimentation and innovation in craft and related creative sectors that could generate new opportunities, ideas or industries altogether. We are open to any idea that can help deliver positive outcomes for those vulnerable to climate change effects as long as these are grounded in nature-based making traditions and are able to preserve traditional livelihoods, identities, skills and other intangible heritage of national value.

Ideas can be at different stages of development. At the least, we expect applicants to have discovered and defined their ideas against the following indicators:

  • People: Whom does the idea concern, benefit and impact? Who is involved in its delivery?
  • Planet: What environmental impact will the idea have? how will the idea support climate change resilience? How do the idea and its delivery sustainably manage natural resources? What resources are required for the idea to be delivered? Who is managing these resources currently and how?
  • Profit: What is the economic value of the idea? Is the idea based on a market need? Is the idea viable as a product/service?
  • Purpose: What larger goals does the idea contribute to? Are there outcomes beyond people, planet and profit that the idea is concerned with?

How do I describe what is innovative about my idea?

If your idea bridges an existing gap, reinvents a process to be more strategic/effective, can develop from the learning and knowledge of other sectors/expertise, or negotiates between the different parameters of a business’ performance (people, planet, profit, purpose) to realise a solution, then tell us in your application. Consider why your idea is the most effective, relevant and impactful version of what is possible at this time.

Innovation can be a small part of your larger idea, it can be part of the process or the goal itself. But what it needs to be is sustainable, integrated, inclusive and impactful.

What do you mean when you say people, planet, profit and purpose?

The triple-bottom-line of ‘people, planet, profit’ is a framework that assesses the performance of a business across all three areas, and moves beyond business models that focus purely on profit (often at the expense of people and the planet). In recent years, a fourth bottom-line of ‘purpose’ has been suggested that incorporates wider social impacts, including across culture, heritage, spirituality and faith. The Programme aims to highlight the various ways an idea, a business may influence or impact on the environment and society, from a group to a village, nation to a global community. It is now clear that systems that prioritise economic gains over others are unsustainable, and we must turn our attention to formulating new ways of working that value environmental protection, social equity and humanistic value systems in the development of sustainable businesses. 

What do you mean by craft?

Definitions of craft tend to vary. For the purposes of this Programme, we define craft as the skillful manipulation of raw materials into objects through the direct, manual application of indigenous and vernacular processes and experience. Craft objects and processes have distinctive values and are procured for their functional, artistic, cultural, religious, educational and/or social value to the domestic or international market. They are often associated with specific places, communities or people. Some craft skills and objects may have been passed on for many generations; others may be more recent responses to changing markets, equipment and skills.

What do you mean by climate change and climate change resilience?

Climate change is a critical global challenge faced by humanity. Although Earth’s average temperature has seen fluctuations in the past, this time the change is rapid and has been associated with increasing gas emissions which cause a greenhouse effect within the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to global warming. Global warming in turn leads to climate change, where sea-levels rise, glaciers melt, weather patterns fluctuate more extremely, and natural disasters are more frequent.

Climate change resilience signifies the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to hazardous conditions caused by climate change. There are many ways to strengthen resilience to climate change, from local to global. 

What do you mean by nature-based solutions?

Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously benefitting biodiversity and human well-being.

Do I/we need any academic qualifications to apply?

No. We believe ideas and innovation can originate with anyone, anywhere and be delivered through any discipline, so we welcome applications from anyone.

We are a team/community, can we apply?

Yes. Individuals and teams can apply. Teams can be an institution, company, partnership, group or community. For team applicants, we require a representative(s) to be named on your application and to attend the incubator event. Other options will be provided for teams who are selected to progress their ideas to the grant / mentoring stage.

Do I need to commit to the Programme timeline?
Yes, for the incubator event. Applicants should review the Programme timeline and make sure they will be available for the key dates of the incubator event. Only those ideas that have gone through the incubator event will be eligible to apply for the additional support of grants and mentoring. The timing and schedule for mentoring will be tailored to the availability and needs of each grantee. Therefore, when applying please focus on the dates for the incubator event.

Is there an opportunity to find out more about the innovation grant programme?
Yes. Kathmandu University, the British Council and Applied Arts Scotland will host an orientation webinar from 4 to 5 PM (Nepal Standard Time) on Friday 22 January 2021 about the Innovation Grant Programme.

To register for the webinar please fill out this form.

Can you help me with my application?
We are committed to making the application process as inclusive and accessible as possible. If you have queries or require support with your application, please email cop26@kuart.edu.np and we will endeavour to help.

Please note, you can submit your application through our digital form or as a short video.

Why do you need personal information from me (e.g. age, gender)?
The programme is collecting personal information from applicants for statistical purposes. The information you provide in your application will help us to understand our reach, the effectiveness of our communication and the work we are doing. This information will be aggregated for reporting and you will not be identifiable in any reports. We are committed to data privacy and will not share your personal information outside the project partners without your explicit approval. 

For Programme participants, we may request to use some of your personal information to tell the story of the Innovation Grant Programme. This will be done with your permission only. Personal information will be retained for the duration of the project (until February, 2022). 

Why are you encouraging applications from females, young people, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities?
Innovative ideas can come from multiple sources. We want to support ideas that benefit the people most affected by climate change, and believe that we should value their voices and experiences in creating solutions to support climate change resilience. 

We recognise that not everyone has equal access to resources and opportunities, and this means that climate change impacts people differently. For example, women and girls in Nepal are more susceptible to the impacts of climate change because they have been traditionally disenfranchised in terms of land ownership. Similarly, people from marginalised communities and people with disabilities are also vulnerable and require affirmative actions to remove barriers that may be deterring them from equal participation in society. 

We are encouraging young people to apply because climate change is an intergenerational challenge, and because young people will have to live with the effects of climate change for the longest.

For all of these reasons, we are making concentrated efforts to realise a diverse group of participants on the Programme.

What about intellectual property? Who owns my / our ideas if we participate in the Innovation Programme?
Participants on the innovation programme are not required to share, transfer or assign their IP with or to organisers or project partners. Those applying to work alongside or with others (e.g. organisations, institutions and communities) should have the required permissions in place in advance of joining the Programme. We will follow World Intellectual Property Organisation’s protection afforded to traditional knowledge for this Programme.

Similarly, placement in the incubator programme does not grant any participant the right to use any IP associated with the Programme partners, organisers and funders. 

 What is the incubator event?
The incubator event is a multi-day event co-delivered by Nepali and UK experts, delivered online with the opportunity for some participants to attend in person if they wish. The programme includes training and mentoring, group and individual activities, the purpose of which is to strengthen the capacity of participants to support the development of their ideas in the direction they wish to take them. We will be working with leaders in business, environment, civil society, social enterprise, craft and related sectors to deliver an exciting opportunity for professional growth.

Up to 50 participants from across Nepal will participate in the incubator event from their respective locations through digital platforms, with a small number (subject to Covid-19 guidance) able to attend in person.

Is there a cost to participating in the Programme?

No, there is no charge to apply for or (if selected) to attend any of the Programme activities. Placement will be made strictly through our Innovation Grant Programme call, application and selection process.

Pyangaun by Aman Shahi

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