Smart Sustainable Development (SSD) 

Conference and Project Showcase (Virtual) 14 February 2024 

4.00 to 7.45 PM NZT (UTC+13h) 

SSD 2024 SDG Project Winners🎉

First Place - NZD 2500

Second Place - NZD 1500

Third Place - NZD 750

Third Place - NZD 750

Smart Sustainable Development (SSD) 2024 is a conference and project showcase event for the community of sustainable practitioners to present research works and projects with an innovation focus, and see what other organisations are doing in this space. 

A unique opportunity to build a community of sustainable practitioners, form relationships, showcase applications and technologies with an innovation focus, and see what other organisations are doing in this space.


Opening Speech

Karim Dickie 

President of the United Nations Association of New Zealand

The United Nations Association of New Zealand was established in 1946 and is a national community organisation and registered charity. Its goal is to help New Zealanders understand the United Nations and to promote engagement with the United Nations system. UNA NZ works with others to raise the importance of finding ways to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global security and United Nations renewal.


Karim has worked across a range of Government departments, including on the Children’s Action Plan, a cross-government agency initiative hosted at the Ministry of Social Development, and for the Ministry of Health in the Office of the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority.


In 2016 he launched the Caribbean Council (NZ), an organisation aimed at promoting links between New Zealand and countries of the Caribbean. In addition, he is a Board Member of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Commonwealth Youth New Zealand and the Royal Commonwealth Society - Wellington Branch. He studied at Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University, graduating from the former with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Ashir Ahmed

Associate Professor, Kyushu University & CTO, SocialTech, Japan

Reimagining Healthcare Delivery Platforms to Reach the Unreached 

Dr. Ahmed, a visionary innovator, is dedicated to utilizing technology to achieve social goals. He established the Global Communication Center (GCC) within Grameen, fostering a team of researchers at Kyushu University. Their impactful projects, including GramHealth, GramCar, GramAgri, and GramClean, have made a significant difference. Dr. Ahmed actively facilitates collaborations between Japanese organizations and social businesses, promoting positive change. Since 2017, he has organized the renowned International Conference and SocialTech Summit, focusing on Digital Health. With a Ph.D. from Tohoku University and experience at Avaya Labs and NTT Communications in Japan, he combines his expertise with a passion for cooking, writing non-fiction, and hosting cultural shows. Dr. Ahmed is a versatile leader driving meaningful technological advancements for societal well-being. 

Emma La Rocca

Fashion Designer, emroce

Promoting Zero Waste Design Techniques to Drastically Reduce Pre-consumer Textile Waste

Emma La Rocca is a zero waste fashion designer. She is committed to reducing pre-consumer textile waste by educating individuals within the fashion industry, including university teachers and students, on the many ways that we can design waste out of the production process. Emma is the owner of emroce the world’s first zero waste swimwear brand. which serves as her testing ground for zero waste pattern techniques and business models. These innovations are then presented to larger fashion companies, where small changes can be made to create a substantial positive impact. Emma's zero waste design methods seamlessly integrate into current production processes, offering significant financial benefits alongside their environmental advantages.

Research (Extended Abstract / Opinion Article)

Maximum word count of 2,000, with not more than 1 Figure/Table 

Articles will be peer-reviewed and published by Frontiers in Sustainability

SDG Projects (Awards)

Complete or ongoing projects strongly aligned with SDGs and the Best projects will be recognized and awarded ($1000-$3000)


Dr. Syeda Sadia Farzana

As one of the winners of the SASD 2022 award, I still feel enormously proud of winning the award. I don't think the feeling will ever go away. I was up against tough competition from other exemplary individuals and leading teams from other universities and organisations. It's just wonderful to be recognised for the efforts and milestones I was brave enough to make visible to everyone. Winning this award has inspired me to continue my enthusiasm and move forward with my efforts which will hopefully bring further possibilities throughout my career. This is an award that doesn't just only celebrate what someone or a group of people have done, but the passionate efforts made towards innovation that impact on the education of others. I went to win this award last year, and I strongly encourage others to submit an entry that demonstrates your most innovative practice. If you're not sure on what you could submit, look at what previous candidates did and think about how your own practices could be presented.

Christian William 

Participating in the Smart Aotearoa Sustainable Development Showcase 2022 deeply enriched my life, both professionally and personally. Our team entered with the project titled "Supporting Education & Employment Pathways for Pasifika People," rooted in our core belief that every individual should have the opportunity to discover and pursue their true calling. Earning second place at the showcase was truly humbling for us.

This experience was not the end, but merely the beginning of our work in this space. My passion for helping others realise their professional dreams has now blossomed into an exciting new AI-driven platform that I’m building. Unlike the common narrative of AI taking away jobs, I envision it as a tool that can empower individuals in their career journeys.

I'm profoundly grateful to the Smart Aotearoa Sustainable Development Showcase Organisers for the invaluable platform they provide, fostering the exchange and spread of impactful ideas and causes. I am eager to see the next wave of innovators it will inspire in 2024.

Bruno Balducci

When I decided to enter Smart Aotearoa last year, it was for the experience of taking part in an event focused on new ideas in sustainable development. My hope was that it would motivate me to work on a more innovative project than I had previously, as well as to engage with people who are actively looking for ways of building a more sustainable future ‒ and this is exactly what it did! Much to my surprise, our research on tracking learner development in sustainability received an award. It’s wonderful of course to see your work being recognised, but I really didn’t expect something as abstract as our research topic to win anything. In any case, it was great fun from the outset, and I particularly enjoyed being able to showcase the project to a keen and sympathetic audience. What's more, it has inspired me to keep researching in the fields of education, technological application and sustainable development, no matter how unpromising the topic may seem at first.