Ms. Alonsoperez is an Electronics, Telecommunication, and Electrical Engineer, Entrepreneur, Inventor, and is a United Nations Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2012 she invented Chipsafer, a patented platform that can track cattle remotely and autonomously. She will be the discussant during the ILO-South Centre Side event on the Future of Work, South-South Cooperation and Youth Employment (www.southsouthpoint.net).
How can young people from the Global South be involved in creating a better future of work by joining forces?
I believe that our region is full of opportunities for young people (students, professionals, social entrepreneurs, etc.), who are full of energy and eager to make a difference in the world. My recommendation is always to look for a problem in the community and find a solution to it. In many cases the solutions are simpler than we think: they just need someone to push for them. There is nothing more rewarding than creating a venture or project that has an impact in young people’s lives.
This March 2019, for example, during the ILO-South Centre event on the Future of Work and South-South cooperation in BAPA+40 , I will be forwarding the Voice of Youth from Latin America and the Caribbean.
How did you start your business? What are the ingredients for a young leader?
In 2001, I witnessed how a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak created severe damages on Uruguay’s economy and on other countries’ in the region. Many years later, in 2012, after graduating as an Electrical Engineer and working with small satellites, I came across a competition organized by the International Telecommunication Union for young innovators to solve problems, in their respective regions, by using technology. I immediately thought about the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak and used my knowledge on space technology to create a system that could monitor cattle remotely. I submitted the idea and some months later I got an email saying that I had won the competition. With the cash I got as a prize, I founded Chipsafer, a monitoring platform that analyses cattle behaviour using data transmitted from trackers installed in the cattle’s collars, allowing early detection of anomalies in a remote and autonomous way.
Besides detecting anomalies in cattle behaviour and combatting cattle theft, Chipsafer can bring substantial improvement to the way farmers make their decisions on daily production, and therefore, contribute to change the way they work. However, these benefits are conditional to the extent in which countries can provide skilled labour, adequate labour market institutions as well as inclusive employment policies. In this regard, South-South and triangular cooperation would be of great help by allowing and facilitating the sharing of learning and experiences from this transition.
Countries from the Global South should join forces to surf on the wave of technological revolution and benefit from the innovative solutions it offers to overcome challenges and to achieve a better and more sustainable future.
How did you get involved with the SDG Youth initiative? What are your expectations as a young leader from the South?
In 2018 I had the pleasure of being selected by the United Nations as one of the Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals. As an SDG Young Leader, I believe that the young people should and will play a key role in the future of the world. Young people are considered as the world’s driver of change and a key stakeholder in the realisation of the Agenda 2030, as implied by the United Nations Youth Strategy, launched by UN Secretary-General on Monday 24th September 2018. I myself had the privilege of meeting a lot of young students, entrepreneurs, professionals, and activists that are making a huge difference in the world.
There are 190 million people that are unemployed, of whom 64.8 million are youth. Technological advances will certainly create new jobs, especially for female young leaders, but those who got displaced in this transition and the next generations, or young people, should be better equipped to seize the new opportunities.
According to the newly launched report (22 January 2019) of the Global Commission on the Future of Work, today’s skills will become obsolete for the jobs of tomorrow. For that reason, the Global Commission proposes a human-centred agenda for the future of work that places people, including youth, and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice.
How Can South-South and triangular Cooperation contribute to the Future of Work?
In a few weeks, I will be participating in a side event that aims to tackle the questions of the future of work for youth, with a focus on developing countries. During The Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South cooperation (BAPA+40), the ILO and the South Centre are co-organising a side event (21 March 2019) that will discuss South-South and triangular cooperation and the future of work for youth from three angles: policies for skills development, green jobs, and social dialogue. It will also provide recommendations for BAPA + 40 participants on effective integration of South-South and triangular cooperation into Youth Employment Policies.
As a discussant in the panel comprised of the Member of Global Commission on the Future of Work, workers’ and employer’s representatives and youth representation, I will raise the voice of young people, introduce the challenges for youth in the context of the future world of work, and discuss the impact of South-South Cooperation in promoting decent youth employment.
Technology is revolutionising the world, and the world of work is no exception. I believe all stakeholders, whether governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, or international institutions, must take responsibility for building the future of work that we want, with determined and collective actions at higher levels of trust and coherence. South-South and triangular cooperation must be part of the answer.