Rapid technological change offers opportunity but also new challenges to sustainable development

19 Jan 2019

The UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Inter-sessional Panel 2018-2019 convened on 15-17 January 2019, in Vienna, Austria. During the panel, an issues paper was introduced on the impact of rapid technological change on sustainable development. The draft issues paper, which is prepared by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretariat, examines the opportunities, risks, and challenges brought about by rapid technological change. It also looks at the role of science, technology, and innovation (STI) policy. The paper further identifies strategies, policies, and immediate actions required to use STI to empower people, especially those who are vulnerable, and ensure inclusiveness and equality. One of the key messages posited by the paper is that rapid technological change offers significant opportunities to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.. That said, it also poses new challenges for policy-making, threatening to outpace the capacity of governments and society to adapt to the changes new technologies bring about.

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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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