Monica Medina, Assistant SecretaryBureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
Thank you so much everyone for coming out today to witness this incredibly inspiring event; and my sincere welcome and thanks to these innovators for their presentations. This is exactly the kind of creativity, ambition, and entrepreneurial spirit we need to overcome the climate crisis before us today.
My name is Monica Medina, and I have the privilege of leading the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science. You can think of us as America’s diplomats for a healthy planet. Our work takes us deep space to the deep ocean, and everywhere in between. And on any given day, at almost any given moment, my team is at work on behalf of building healthier, more sustainable world.
We all know that challenges before us are many, and are connected. From climate change, to biodiversity loss; to stemming the tide of plastic pollution, to addressing environmental security threats; to building ocean conservation, and advancing space diplomacy. And so much more. Of course, there are no simple solutions. And if will take all of us working together in governments, businesses, philanthropy, civil society. That’s why efforts such as today are so important.
Connecting entrepreneurs on climate is about capitalizing on the innovative spirit by connecting people, ideas, opportunities, and action. It’s about bringing together the kind of talent and energy you saw on this stage with the private sector expertise in this room. And it’s about supporting entrepreneurs who are building enterprises and spurring employment in emerging markets.
So our judges have the difficult job or ranking what we just saw. There are four criteria they are considering.
- Criteria 1: Potential for Impact: What impact would this technology make? And can this impact scale?
- Criteria 2: Novelty & Competitive Positioning: Did each entrepreneur demonstrate a strong understanding of their competitive advantage, compared to other potential competitors?
- Criteria 3: Confidence in Technology: Are the technological claims credible, backed up by modeling, third party validation, or other justifications?
- Criteria 4: Confidence in Team & Company: And finally, is the team well-rounded and experienced? Have they demonstrated impressive traction relative to their maturity stage?
Earlier this year at the UN Ocean Conference, we hosted a similar event with entrepreneurs focused on solutions to the ocean pollution crisis. And the ideas and solutions we just as creative and inspiring. We look forward to many other opportunities to showcase entrepreneurs at the upcoming Our Ocean Conference in Panama, the UN Water Summit in New York, and in conjunction with the plastic pollution negotiations we are launching later this month in Uruguay.
We stand at a crossroads, facing a climate crisis, a pollution crisis, a nature crisis. Down one road leads to more of the same—more pollution, rising temperatures and sea levels, loss of biodiversity, greater environmental injustice, greater insecurity. The other road leads to a better future where we live sustainably with nature. Thankfully, we have chosen that better road, and we are well on our way.
I would like to thank our entrepreneurs, and I know there are many more of you in this audience, for showing us the way. I would like to thank our supporters and judges, both for their participation today and for their commitment to creating a pipeline of the kinds of innovative ideas we need to build that better world. For today is about more than a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit. It is also about hope. Hope for a better world for our children and grandchildren. Thank you.