UNDP lead says technology should enable inclusive growth
Steiner tells WGS that innovation should benefit society, not increase divisions and inequality
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Achim Steiner has said that governments must ensure that technology and innovation are inclusive and a benefit to society, and not increasing divisions in society.
Speaking at the World Government Summit, Steiner, a renowned expert on sustainable development said that technology must not increase divisions and social inequality or solely to drive economic growth, but be utilised for sustainable development and equitable growth.
"When we discuss government of the future, one might be tempted to say that government will be less central to what happens next in terms of technology and entrepreneurial vision. Indeed, there are times when the government stands in the way of innovation and public policy hinders progress. However, it is up to governments to implement policies that ensure inclusiveness and that technology contributes to solving problems rather than amplifying them by leaving people behind," Steiner said.
Steiner emphasized that, when deploying technology, social impact should be taken into consideration. "In recent times, we have seen what happens when too many people are left behind and marginalized, therefore, making them prone to questioning the authority of their government. It is essential that societies are governed in a way that ensures happiness, fulfilment, and the ability to educate its children to be part of a supportive society."
He continued: "With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for the first time in history, countries have agreed to be guided by a common, universal development agenda. There is global recognition that in the last 20-30 years, we have prioritized economic growth, assuming that wellbeing would follow. We have been reminded recently that this is a mistake - equality, sustainability and opportunity for future generations is what enables wellbeing. This is what our societies should pursue at the beginning of the 21stcentury."
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organisations.