Rapid technological change is a double-edged sword

17 May 2019

The UN forum on science and technology for development addressed the opportunities and the risks of new technologies. During its twenty-second session, the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) presented a report on ‘the impact of rapid technological change on sustainable development’ with special focus on the key principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “We need a painfully honest discussion on the impact of frontier technologies – including the good, the bad and the ugly,” said the head of UNCTAD’s division on technology and logistics Shamika Sirimanne. The report elaborates on the opportunities offered by rapid technological change with regard to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) which include a) accelerating and monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, b) improving food security, nutrition, and agricultural development, c) promoting energy access and efficiency, d) enabling economic diversification and transformation, productivity, and competitiveness, e) promoting social inclusion, f) confronting disease and improving health, and g) improving access to educational learning and resources. In the end, it accentuates the importance of international cooperation and multistakeholder engagement and provides policy recommendations to reap the benefits of STI for sustainable development.

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The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.

 

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