Prof Fu speaks at UN DESA Webinar titled 'Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs and Covid-19 recovery'

TMCD Director Professor Xiaolan Fu recently spoke at a webinar organised by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), on the topic 'Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs and Covid-19 recovery'. Please see her speech below, you can also listen to the webinar here.

''The Covid-19 pandemic has exerted a significant negative impact on the global economy. World trade and FDI could both drop by 30% to 40%, according to WTO and UNCTAD. We will see a subsequent fall in incomes and job opportunities, increases in inequalities and millions of people may be pushed back to poverty. All this will further derail the global efforts to implement the SDGs.

Looking forward to the post-coronavirus economic recovery, emerging technologies can play a transformative role in offering solutions to the challenge of great lockdown, enhancing the resilience of the global production system and supply chains, and fostering new drivers of economic growth. This is an action area where STI advice and economic policy interface with each other.

Firstly, innovative technologies have played an important role in the fight against Covid-19. Not only robot cleaner in hospitals, drone delivery of medicine, food, and contact tracking, but also tele-health, e-business, online education, online entertainment, and online office systems all have grown rapidly.

Secondly, some sectors such as various e-business have already grown rapidly due to the increasing demand. We will see new industries emerge in the reshuffle and relocation of the GVCs. Not only digital economy but also public health provision. They will be new engines of economic growth.

Thirdly, digital transformation of existing industries will make the production process less affected by restrictions on human mobility. Therefore, digital transformation including smart manufacturing, smart services, and digitized green transformation supported by 5G, big data, cloud, and blockchain will support the way to a sustainable recovery.

However, this digital transformation requires essential digital skills, digital infrastructure, and a favourable business environment. The developing countries, especially the low income countries will be left behind again if they have to build up all these on their own. International technological, financial and policy cooperation and coordination need to come into force now if we are serious about the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.  The TFM online platform for knowledge sharing shall be actively used for knowledge sharing''.