Radical transformation is required if we want to achieve the 17 SDGs by 2030, write Celine Herweijer, Global Leader, Innovation and Sustainability, PwC, and Dominic Kailash Nath Waughray, the Managing Director, Head of the Centre for Global Public Goods at the World Economic Forum.
We are now entering a “decade of action” and the period between 2020 to 2030 must see ambitions and plans turn into reality, say the authors, who add that in today’s era, the driving force will be technological innovation.
We are already witnessing the ways in which the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and global connectivity is playing a key role in our ability to achieve the SDGs.
Autonomous vehicles, drone delivery and ambitious plans for drone transportation are set to transform global mobility, with the Dubai Smart Autonomous Strategy aiming to transform 25 per cent of mobility journeys in Dubai into smart and self-driving modes by 2030.
On the issue of food security, AI, sensors, robotics and synthetic biology are also showing promising results in improving crop productivity, resilience and food distribution, while the interest in lab-grown meat is proving big-business. Stock prices surged for Beyond Meat, a plant-based meat company which floated in 2019 and counts actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Microsoft founder Bill Gates among its investors. Now, McDonalds are rolling out the company's plant-based burgers.
Meanwhile, AI, blockchain and IoT technologies are also proving instrumental in enabling renewable energy and optimising decentralised energy systems worldwide.
A viable, technology-enabled, sustainable future is within reach, and there's no doubt it’s worth the investment, with a University College London study finding the US ‘green economy’ generates $1.3 trillion and employs more than 9.5 million people.
Tech companies, governments, industry, civil society and researchers alike must be involved in unlocking the potential of these technologies for the SDGs, emphasise Herweijer and Waughray, and no doubt this will be discussed at the World Green Economy Summit, held this week in Dubai.
Government leaders and distinguished guests including the President of Comoros, Azali Assoumani, and Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, are among those attending the 2019 Summit, which aims to encourage youth participation and address some of the sustainability challenges and opportunities of a green economy.