UNDP Panama Accelerator Lab

Panama’s Accelerator Lab is working to understand how strengthening solid waste management practices in rural municipalities can help create pathways to optimize national recycling strategies and work towards a circular economy. 

Panama’s UNDP Accelerator Lab is part of the second cohort of 32 Accelerator Labs that started operation in 2020, officially launching on January 15, 2021. It will advance progress on two frontier challenges: solid waste management and the informal labor sector.  

The Lab has explored points of leverage to improve solid waste management (SWM) and pathways for municipalities to become environmentally sustainable by applying ethnographic methodologies, such as participatory observation and in-depth interviews, as well as collective intelligence methodologies such as citizen science and microsurveys.  To better understand the complexity of SWM, the Lab has partnered with a variety of local and international actors, including the University of Panama’s Center for Anthropological Research, Ocean Conservancy, and the National Movement of Recyclers of Panama (MNRP), to map the waste value chain in rural municipalities, inform local institutions of marine waste origins by combining traditional data collection and new technologies, and involve the private sector to explore opportunities to address closed-loop recycling.

The Lab is also conducting a series of internal workshops with the country office to promote a robust culture of innovation and creativity within the UNDP,  allowing for exploration and identification of key stakeholders outside of the organization. 

Our team

Jennifer Hotsko
Head of Exploration 
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Anibal Cardenas
Head of Solutions Mapping
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Larissa Demel
Head of Experimentation
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Our learnings

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Our partners

We would like to thank our partners for their collaborative work with the UNDP Accelerator Labs. Building and strengthening alliances is the core of UNDP and the Accelerator Labs’ model. Please reach out if you are interested in partnering with us, we would love to hear from you. 

Visit the UNDP Panama website for more information.