Open Geneva

31 May 2021, Geneva, Switzerland - The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Open Geneva Association have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote the education and practice of open innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The MOU was signed by the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR, Mr. Nikhil Seth and the President of Open Geneva Association, Dr. Thomas Maillart in May 2021.

The Memorandum formalizes, establishes and enhances the ongoing cooperation between the two Signatory Parties, to design and run open innovation practices with sustainability, comprising inclusivity, accessibility, spaces of non-judgement and of shared practices, as well as with participatory and bottom-up approaches. The MoU is complementary to the recently signed Agreement between UNITAR, the Geneva School of Economics and Management of University of Geneva and the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University, aimed at setting global standards for SDG Education and open innovation.

The Signatory Parties have established a track record of designing and running open innovation practices that involve multiple stakeholders as well as participatory and bottom-up approaches.

Through implementation of the MoU, stringent performance measurements on the ways open innovation fosters the SDGs will be established, through certificates of participation and of achievement to beneficiaries. The Signatory Parties will collaborate on common research on open innovation performance, such as collective intelligence stemming from expertise and cultural background diversity, effects on cultural change comprising inclusion of large populations in the innovation process for the SDGs and, business and consumer engagement.

Among other forms of cooperation, research and development will be explored around emerging technologies to track activities, measure performance and record achievements by individuals and groups of innovators, supporting the development and establishment of open innovation standards and governance.

The signed MoU intends to expand the practice of open innovation globally through hackathons, and will set research and technological foundations for the standardization of the practice of open innovation for the SDGs. For this purpose, new synergies and collaborations with international organizations and private sectors are procured to emerge.

About Open Geneva

Open Geneva is a non-profit association whose mission is to promote and stimulate open innovation in the Greater Geneva area by bringing together innovators, bringing their ideas to life, communicating their projects and supporting their development in the fields of art, science, technology and society.

The main activity of Open Geneva is the organization of the Open Innovation Festival in Geneva. During this festival, public institutions, universities, research centers, local and multinational companies, associations and citizens organize moments of innovation and sharing, such as workshops, hackathons and conferences.


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a principal training arm of the United Nations, working in every region of the world. We empower individuals, governments and organizations through knowledge and learning to effectively overcome contemporary global challenges. UNITAR was established in 1965 as an autonomous body within the United Nations with the mandate of enhancing the effectiveness of the work of the United Nations and its Member States. In 2020, UNITAR’s reach extended to more than 300,000 beneficiaries through mostly e-learning and webinars, face-to-face seminars and workshops, or other training-related events. (

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