Beirut, 8 December 2017 (Communication and Information Unit)— “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underlines that the interlinked challenges require integrated solutions and new implementation approaches. Innovation is, therefore, key to explore new and integrated development approaches to make our world a better place for all, with the human being at its core.”
This was stated by the ESCWA Deputy Executive Secretary for Programme Support, Ms. Khawla Mattar speaking on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Mr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim during the opening of an expert group meeting on Innovation and Technology for Achieving the 2030 Development Agenda held between 5 and 7 December at the UN House in Beirut. The meeting aimed to discuss innovation and technology in the context of an integrated approach for Arab countries that can be employed to help in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Developed countries and some developing countries have acknowledged the significant role of innovation in the modern technological era, and its positive impact on economic growth and social services. Hence, they have devised national innovation policies and supported existing innovation systems to create an environment conducive for the promotion of innovation. Over the past decade, developing countries in Asia, such as China and Korea, made remarkable strides in technological industries. Such progress is partially driven by the adoption and implementation of ambitious innovation policies at the national level,” Mattar underscored.
She pointed that ESCWA hopes that Arab countries adopt similar approaches to promote economic development and diversification in the Arab region, raise environmental challenges and enhance social welfare through science, technology and innovation. She added that ESCWA is conducting benchmark studies and research on innovation and technology and is organizing expert group meetings gathering Arab and foreign experts to discuss and exchange views on ways to promote innovation and technology in the Arab region.
Participants included regional and international government officials from technology, public administration, planning and development ministries/authorities, experts from civil society, entrepreneurs, and international organizations and individuals.
The meeting discussed several topics that included an integrated approach to problem solving, especially in the context of the 2030 Development Agenda; innovation approaches and models that will foster social and economic development and aid in the achievement of the SDGs in the Arab region; strategy and technology foresight for the adoption and localization of emerging and disruptive technologies and the leveraging of innovation to achieve the SDGs by 2030; innovation and technology for fostering economic development in the Arab region through entrepreneurship and SMEs; innovation and technology for improved social well-being at different levels of society, such as poverty reduction, equality and social inclusion, and better health.
The meeting concluded by announcing a number of recommendations, which will be implemented in the forthcoming stage.
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