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UNIDO Director-General highlights importance of advanced technologies in achieving SDGs

by Dubai Forum
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PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, US, 29th September, 2022 (WAM) — Gerd Müller, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), has affirmed that advanced technologies are transformative for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 9: “promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development” and for “progress through innovation” – which is UNIDO’s mission.

Müller, who is also the Co-Chair of the US edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS America), made this statement during a speech he delivered virtually before attendees of the inaugural ceremony of the summit.

The UNIDO Director-General further explained that “these technologies will also help to achieve SDG 2 and reach a world without hunger.”

“Considering the challenges we see every day around the world, it is clear we must accelerate our progress, particularly on combatting climate change and achieving SDG 13 on climate action and the Paris Agreement.

“Extreme weather events, such as flash flooding, forest fires and drought are becoming both more common and more unpredictable,” he added.

Underscoring UNIDO’s efforts to reduce emissions and aid developing countries, Müller said, “In recent years, UNIDO has rolled out a number of pilot projects for advanced manufacturing in developing countries. For example, we reduced target emissions in the Colombian automotive sector through digital twinning. In Namibia, satellite imaging is now used to combat invasive species and thus increase food security. In Ghana, Blockchain has been deployed to increase quality and transparency in cassava value chains.”

“In 2021, our Global Call on Cleantech and sustainable land management attracted 300 entries from innovators worldwide. Successful solutions included using AI to create urban-specific digital labs; clean and efficient batteries; and circular production for greener concrete,” he continued.

“But we must all go further,” Müller interjected, noting that the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a stark and clear warning that if the world continues at its current pace, the ecosystem changes for people, planet and prosperity will be profoundly negative.

“So, the theme of GMIS America, ‘Advancing Global Industrialisation and Net Zero’, is the right focus,” he went on to say, and paraphrased Professor Joseph Stiglitz’ saying that “advanced technology is not simply for saving labour costs. It can save our planet”.

“It is vital that we work closely with private industry to decarbonise production,” he noted. “At UNIDO, we assist governments and manufacturers with greening their value chains, reducing harmful emissions through a circular economy approach, and enhancing resource efficiency.

“Social sustainability is also vital: innovation can contribute to fairer trade and investment. It can improve industrial safety and human wellbeing. It can make business more transparent. But we cannot hope to achieve this without bridging the digital divide between developed and developing countries, which continues to grow.

“The gap between large and small firms has also widened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with multinational companies often far better equipped to transition to digital production than SMEs.”

Stressing the urgent necessity of partnerships in bridging this gap, Müller concluded by saying, “Forging robust partnerships is key to reducing these inequalities. We must not leave SMEs behind. Governments, the private sector, the research community and civil society need to work together and complement each other. Forums such as GMIS can help us bridge the gap between dialogue and action.”

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