On his recent visit to the Republic of Estonia in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted technology and innovation as crucial factors in spearheading the global sustainable development agenda and in finding sustainable solutions to critical social and environmental challenges.
The Secretary-General stressed the need for science, technology and education to address the challenges of economic dynamism, social progress and environmental sustainability. He said that the goals of sustainable development must be marked by the best possible scientific knowledge. The goal is to protect the exhaustible resources of the planet and support action to address climate change issues.
Mr. Ban said that apart from science and technology, the second key element to combat climate change and poverty is innovation. He noted the efforts that Estonia is making by having one of the fastest broadband services in the world and practicing e-government for more than a decade, having online capabilities for voting and paying taxes.
He remarked that innovation and technology does not necessarily imply hi-tech for every situation. He quoted examples such as fuel-efficient cook-stoves that can cut respiratory disease and save the environment, and solar-powered fans that can dry fruit, meat and fish to extend their shelf life and reduce waste. Mr. Ban also pointed out that a large part of the world remains cut off from technological advances and policy makers are often unaware of the solutions that modern technology can bring to todayâ€™s challenges.
He said that the power of science and technology can be harnessed for all-round sustainable development across different geographies and economies. Technology gaps need to be closed, and countries such as Estonia can play a vital role as innovators and donors. Pro-poor research that addresses the needs of the worldâ€™s poorest and most vulnerable people must be promoted. Digital divide must be bridged by making information technology more accessible and expanding the scope of education.
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