Recent data from the UNESCAP Committee on Trade, Investment, Enterprise, and Business Innovation in Thailand indicates that the progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region has been slow. According to this finding, the area is not on track to reach any of the 17 SDGs and might achieve merely 9 out of 104 indicators by 2030. ESCAP's earlier estimates had predicted the attainment of the SDGs by 2052, but the current pace of progress reflects that it may take until 2065 to achieve them due to a series of recent crises.
The Asia-Pacific region is facing multiple challenges that are hampering its socio-economic growth. The pandemic has caused significant impacts, pushing millions back into extreme poverty. Apart from that, the lingering issues of climate change, natural disasters, and pollution are heavily affecting the region, which is responsible for more than half of global carbon emissions. Additionally, Asia-Pacific is experiencing high displacement due to disaster-related incidents. Reports by ESCAP reveal a considerable rise in inequality for 85% of the population since 2000. Moreover, an estimated 52% of the region's 4.3 billion people lack access to the Internet, which could worsen existing inequalities and leave societies vulnerable.
(ONE OF THE) KEY SOLUTIONS
In light of these challenges, it has become increasingly evident that new and emerging technologies are crucial in addressing them. These technologies can aid the region's recovery from the pandemic, prepare for climate change, and mitigate the effects of natural disasters by enhancing productivity, efficiency, income, and quality of life. Furthermore, emerging technologies present significant prospects for achieving the SDGs. However, it is important to note that these technologies' accelerated development and adoption will rely heavily on collaboration among all sectors.
According to ESCAP, here are some key technology dimensions that all sectors must collaboratively drive toward helping all countries in the region meet Sustainable Development Goals;
Planning and coordination through a well-formulated strategy for increased usage of new and emerging technologies for sustainable development.
Strengthening institutional and digital infrastructure through support for building synergies across countries’ respective policy regimes concerning new and emerging technologies.
Strengthening R&D, innovation, and demonstration through support for riskier, early-stage innovative technology solutions from ideation to implementation.
Augmenting financing for scaling up innovations and commercialization to support the growth and development of MSMEs.
Supporting the workforce through capacity-building, training, exchange programs, and labor policy interventions.
Establishing multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaborations.
To effectively harness the potential of emerging technologies for sustainable development, it is essential to establish enabling ecosystems that comprise viable policy options, capacities, investments, innovative business models, and partnerships. Adequate technical know-how, access, abilities, and skills to absorb, deploy, and adapt technologies, sufficient finance and investments, and cooperation at all levels are equally crucial. By prioritizing these areas, humanity can overcome challenges and drive economic growth while promoting social and environmental well-being.
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