TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION REPORT 2021 Catching Technological Waves: Innovation with Equity, Scaling up frontier technologies for the SDGs
- What is the impact of frontier technologies on inequalities?
- What are the challenges and solutions for scaling up STI solutions to access electricity, sanitation, and clean water?
- How can governments facilitate the scaling up of such STI solutions, and what is the role of innovative finance and partnerships to kickstart and accelerate this process?
The answer to these questions is critical for the achievement of the SDGs.
Innovation drives prosperity, and frontier technologies (e.g. AI, robotics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology) could be transformative in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But rapid advances can have serious downsides if they outpace the ability of societies to adapt or are designed without taking into account the unique realities, socio-political and economic contexts of different societies. The implications could be serious for developing countries – if poor communities and countries are either overwhelmed or left behind.
Poor communities are harder to reach. In many cases, the barriers are not technological but economic and social. Frontier technologies make it technically possible to disperse many important services or products to poor communities. Nevertheless, installing, managing, operating, repairing, financing, and collecting payments from hundreds, if not thousands, of widely dispersed facilities will be logistically and administratively complex. There are endless examples of STI for improving access to electricity, clean water, and sanitation, but these tend to be restricted to pilot projects and fail to scale up. Moreover, poverty, hunger, climate change or inequalities in health or education are complex and multidimensional. Technology is rarely a solution on its own.
The webinar will disseminate the key messages and recommendations of UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2021, focusing on scaling up science, technology and innovation (STI) for inclusive and sustainable development. The webinar will cover challenges and solutions for scaling up STI solutions to access electricity, sanitation, and clean water. It will cover private sector initiatives, policy instruments that governments could implement to facilitate the scaling up of such STI solutions, and the role of innovative finance and partnerships to kickstart and accelerate this process. The webinar will serve as a platform for peer learning by discussing and disseminating strategies for scaling up STI for the SDGs. The event will also serve to discuss ITT’s Utilities 2.0 leapfrog model for emerging economies, particularly for low-income communities – a systems-based approach to building infrastructure for water, electricity, sanitation, and beyond.
- Ms. Shamika N. Sirimanne, Director of the Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD
- TIR 2021: Mr. Clovis Freire, Economist, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD, Team Leader of the Technology and Innovation Report 2021
- Utilities 2.0: Mr. Shashi Buluswar, CEO, Institute for Transformative Technologies
- Mr. Alfred Watkins, Chairman, Global Solutions Summit
- Ms. Susan E. Cozzens, Professor, School of Public Policy, Georgia Tech
- Mr. Manoj Gupta, CEO of Tata Power Renewable Minigrids
- Ms. Deepali Khanna, Managing Director, Asia Regional Office, The Rockefeller Foundation
- Mr. Angel Gonzalez Sanz, Science, Technology and ICT Branch, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD