Kopernik launches the VR for SDGs platform to accelerate the achievement of sustainable development

Kopernik launches the “VR for SDGs” platform.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed development gains for millions of people in poor countries, creating an even more sharply unequal world, according to a UN report published earlier this year. COVID-19 related travel restrictions have also limited the ability of those working on addressing challenges, commonly faced by underserved communities to understand and develop appropriate solutions in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The VR for SDGs platform has been developed to help articulate challenges that need to be addressed to achieve the SDGs, through 360-degree/Virtual Reality (VR) videos. These are especially useful in the time of COVID-19 related travel restrictions, when it is not possible to visit field locations.

We believe that 360-degree/VR videos have the power to allow viewers to experience social and environmental challenges in a way that conventional images or videos cannot, and provide a more immersive experience.

The VR for SDGs platform showcases 360-degree/Virtual Reality (VR) videos featuring common challenges faced by underserved communities that need to be addressed in order to achieve the SDGs

The VR for SDGs platform is intended to be a reference for development organizations, companies, academic institutions, governments, and programs interested in addressing the unmet social and environmental needs of underserved people in the developing world. By articulating social and environmental issues and their nuances through 360-degree/VR videos, it is our intention that those who are in a position to do so, can start to develop innovative and effective solutions to solve these problems, and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Some content published on the VR for SDGs platform also contains interventions or solutions implemented by organizations and agencies to tackle unmet social and environmental needs.

As part of this initiative, we partnered with RICOH and launched the first VR for SDGs campaign and recruited several fellows as part of the program. The fellows have had an opportunity to learn about 360-degree video production and each received a Ricoh THETA 360-degree camera. The fellows identified, and with their 360-degree cameras, captured a range of challenges in their hometowns in various parts of Indonesia. These videos have now been published on the VR for SDGs platform.

Currently in its beta version, the platform contains more than thirty VR videos of wide ranging problems including plastic pollution and waste management issues, agricultural challenges faced by smallholder farmers, indoor air pollution, informal mining activities, and traffic congestion and air pollution in urban areas.

We believe that complex challenges can only be solved by collective action and collaboration. Through the VR for SDGs platform, we are working with various partners and contributors who share the vision to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. We have already secured a number of partnerships with development sector organisations and are looking forward to expanding these even further.