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XPRIZE and ASPIRE $15 million Feed The Next Billion competition to secure food supply

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Today, XPRIZE, in partnership with ASPIRE and with the support of The Tony Robbins Foundation, is excited to announce the launch of XPRIZE Feed The Next Billion, a four-year competition that hopes to revolutionize the global food supply chain and its impact on communities around the world, transforming the near trillion-dollar meat industry in the process. Through the development of cultivated chicken or fish alternatives, teams of global innovators will work to ensure the world’s growing population will have equitable access to high-protein, nutritious, quality food that allows everybody to live active and healthy lives.

Launched during a surge in global food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing global population, new social mobility, increased urbanization, and climate change, XPRIZE Feed The Next Billion is the first challenge XPRIZE has launched in partnership with ASPIRE, the  dedicated  project  management pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) which funds research and runs global tech competitions. In addition to ASPIRE and The Tony Robbins Foundation, XPRIZE will be working with The Good Food Institute, an international nonprofit focused on cultivated meat and plant-based alternatives, which will act as a team success partner throughout the competition. 

This competition comes after the release of XPRIZE’s Future of Food Impact Roadmap, an in-depth analysis of global food system challenges, that identified 12 radical breakthroughs which could establish a more food secure and environmentally sustainable world by 2050 — allowing humanity to overcome the challenges needed to help the 815 million people facing chronic malnourishment today, and prepare for a future with an even larger global population. Amid these 12 breakthrough opportunities, the need for alternative proteins at-scale was identified as a critical impact area that requires significant technological advances, decreased price points, and notable shifts in consumers’ preferences – all while maintaining positive health and environmental benefits as compared to animal-based proteins.

“Billions of individuals do and will desire higher quality protein as a food source, but the earth is incapable of providing this with traditional livestock. A much more sustainable, scalable methodology is required,” said XPRIZE Founder Peter H. Diamandis, MD, “XPRIZE Feed The Next Billion seeks to create poultry and fish that is affordable, sustainable, more nutritious, and a lower cost than mechanisms now in place. We believe hundreds of entrepreneurs will focus on driving breakthroughs in this critical and important area to help feed the world.”

“Even though it seems like a formidable challenge — global hunger is one of the most solvable problems in today’s society,” said His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary-General of the Advanced Technology Research Council, which oversees ASPIRE. “With XPRIZE Feed The Next Billion, we have a unique opportunity to enable innovators to develop solutions that improve yield, productivity and sustainability across the entire global food ecosystem. Abu Dhabi has been instrumental in developing the global food security ecosystem, and we are continuously uncovering cutting-edge agriculture solutions that will shape the future of food production. Through our partnership with XPRIZE, we seek to unearth new technologies that will become solutions for all, helping people around the world access safe, sufficient and affordable food. We’re excited to bring together top international talent and global innovators to develop solutions to answer one of the world’s most critical challenges.”

As part of the competition, XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion will ask the winning teams to develop multiple consistent cuts of a meat alternative that replicates the look, taste, smell, feel, cooking behavior and nutritional properties of a structured fillet of fish or chicken breast, while having a lower comparable environmental footprint. All teams will need to demonstrate an ability to scale production for global distribution, a crucial step towards addressing food insecurity and revolutionizing the food supply of communities in all corners of the world.

“In 2018, I suggested that XPRIZE run a competition to end global hunger, an issue that will only be magnified as the population continues to grow,” said Tony Robbins, the United States’ number one life and business coach and founder of The Tony Robbins Foundation. “With XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, we are taking it a step further, rethinking how and where food is produced, and finding a new way to provide plentiful, sustainable and nutritious food to the next billion people on the planet.”

Registration kicks off today and will run through April 28, 2021. Grand Prize Winners will be announced in 2024. To learn more about XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, visit xprize.org/feed.

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Widodo emphasizes importance of G20 focus on resilient health systems,

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The G20 and advanced economies must work together to create a more resilient and responsive global health architecture to face future threats and pandemics, said President Joko Widodo of Indonesia in his address to the Davos Agenda 2022.

He said the International Monetary Fund should be tasked to mobilize resources to revitalize global health architecture. This should include a global contingency fund for medical supplies, building capacity in developing countries to manufacture vaccines and the creation of global health protocols and standards.

“The costs will be much lower than the losses we sustained due to the vulnerability of the system during the pandemic,” he said.

In discussion with Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Widodo highlighted that “the G20 will play an important role in mobilizing the development of this global health architecture” and added: “I trust that advanced economies will not object to supporting such initiatives.”

Widodo – whose country holds the presidency of the G20 during 2022 – invited all global business leaders to contribute their ideas to the G20’s three key goals for 2022: creating a more resilient global health system; optimizing digital technology to support societal transformation; and driving a fair and affordable transition to clean energy and a circular economy. “The benefits must be felt by wider society,” he said, adding that six of Indonesia’s sectors are “wide open” for foreign investment – export-oriented labour-intensive industries (including health), renewable energy, infrastructure, automotive (especially electric vehicles), tourism and value-added mining.

In response to a question on how Indonesia – a nation heavily dependent on coal-fired power – could accelerate its own energy transition, Widodo said that developing countries need technology transfer and financial support from advanced economies to ensure the transition does not burden their citizens. Indonesia needs $50 billion for its renewable power sector and a further $37 billion for forestry, land use and marine sectors. “Concrete outcomes can only be achieved through strong cooperation,” he said. “Technology and financing will be key.”

The president pointed out that, as part of its roadmap to reach net zero by 2060, Indonesia had slashed the coverage area of forest fires sevenfold, from 1.7 million hectares in 2014 to 229,000 hectares in 2021. The number of hotspots fell over the same period from 89,000 to just 1,300. The country has restored 3.74 million hectares of peatlands since 2016 and rehabilitated 50,000 hectares of mangrove forests in the past year. Its mangrove-rehabilitation target is 600,000 hectares by 2024 – the most ambitious such programme in the world, providing, he said, a “carbon sink equivalent to four tropical forests”.

To finance the green transition, Widodo has initiated a carbon trading system that will deliver “results-based payments” for actions that reduce carbon emissions as well as a carbon tax on coal-fired power plants, due to start in April.

“Indonesia has the potential to be a global market leader in carbon trading and is predicted to surpass the carbon trade potential of Peru, Kenya and Brazil, as countries with the same tropical forest cover,” he said. The government also plans to raise capital by issuing environmental and social bonds, and through REDD+ projects that reduce deforestation and promote sustainable forest management.

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Davos Agenda Session on Space and Climate Opens Up New Frontiers

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European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer connected live to a session on Thursday at the Davos Agenda 2022 from the International Space Station, somewhere high above the Pacific, to discuss how space research can improve life on Earth.

While in orbit on a six-month mission with the European Space Agency (ESA), Maurer will support a wide range of science experiments and technological research, including those that address transmissions of disease, the reduction of carbon emissions and human health-related activities. Knowledge gained through his mission will contribute to development that benefits life on Earth.

“We have worked hard in the past few weeks and months to send back cargo that we harvested for scientists to analyse all these samples that we produced in space, and to produce science and knowledge for humanity out of it,” he said.

He added that the cross-country and international collaboration aboard the space station should also be a model for how the world tackles major challenges, such as climate change. From his view, Maurer described the beauty of the planet, but also pointed out that he could see the impact of climate change from space.

“When we fly around the Earth (16 times a day), we cross over areas that are very arid and dry and I can see scars on the planet where people are digging deep to extract resources. So we are actively reshaping the planet. We are cutting down trees and burning down rainforests. I see the flames. I also see the flooding.”

Back on Earth, Al Gore, Vice-President of the United States (1993-2001); Chairman and Co-Founder, Generation Investment Management, explained how space technology and artificial intelligence can help address climate action. He highlighted the work of Climate TRACE, a global coalition created to make meaningful climate action faster and easier by independently tracking greenhouse gas emissions with unprecedented detail and speed.

“Some things you can see directly from space, like methane, but the difficulty of measuring CO2 emissions against a highly varied CO2 background on the Earth make it necessary to use AI to get precision we need,” he said. He added that if you consider something like GPS, it is clear how quickly the opportunities offered by space tech and space exploration can become integrated into our lives.

But the data and knowledge that is gained from space should not be limited to those who own satellites, said Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates. “If only countries with access to satellites get access to the data, we deny other countries the opportunity to benefit from that knowledge,” she said.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2022, space is increasingly crowded and commercialized. While the diversification of actors is for many an exciting development, dated space governance frameworks are coming under considerable pressure, exposing fault lines between the ambitions of different players and the acceptability of their actions.

Echoing this message, Josef Aschbacher, Director-General of the ESA, noted that the volume of satellites indicates that regulation is important.

However, it will have to keep up with a fast-changing industry, which, according to Chris Kemp, the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Astra, is currently seeing a revolution of sorts. “Access is increasing all the time thanks to significant falls in the cost of putting satellites into space and this has enabled a new generation of entrepreneurs to build companies, to take these companies public and provide new capabilities.”

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World Economic Forum Annual Meeting rescheduled to 22-26 May

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The World Economic Forum is pleased to announce that it will hold its Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, from Sunday 22 to Thursday 26 May. Under the theme, Working Together, Restoring Trust, the Annual Meeting 2022 will be the first global in-person leadership event since the start of the pandemic.

The Annual Meeting 2022, returning to Davos-Klosters after a two-year hiatus, will offer world leaders an opportunity to take stock of the state of the world and shape partnerships and policies for the crucial period ahead.

Topics on the agenda will include the pandemic recovery, tackling climate change, building a better future for work, accelerating stakeholder capitalism, and harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, said: “After all the virtual meetings taking place in the last two years, leaders from politics, business and civil society have to convene finally in person again. We need to establish the atmosphere of trust that is truly needed to accelerate collaborative action and to address the multiple challenges we face.”

The World Economic Forum will continue to communicate closely with the Swiss government on the public health situation in Switzerland. The meeting will take place as long as all necessary conditions are in place to guarantee the health and safety of its participants and the host community.

During the Davos Agenda 2022, heads of state and government and international organizations shared their priorities for a challenging year ahead. They joined leaders from business and civil society and spoke on the global economic outlook, inequality, healthy futures, climate and resilience.

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