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We must come together to achieve the 17 sustainable development goals to bring about global changes that leave no one behind. A quote by Henry Ford sums it up well, If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. There is a need to accelerate global partnerships so that together we can drive the SDGs forward for sustainable development. Emerging technology is a solution that will accelerate SDG 17 because of its innovative nature.
This article focuses on the final global goal, SDG 17 – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. It looks at the role of emerging technology in revitalizing global partnerships to solve the world’s problems.
Why Do We Need Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development?
It’s important for governments, public institutions, private sector, among others, to come together to achieve the SDGs. The UN developed the goals as a framework for taking action sustainably. Each of us has a role to play in achieving the SDGs.
The UN says that a successful development agenda requires inclusive partnerships at the global, regional, national, and local levels. The partnerships need to be built upon principles and values, shared vision and shared goals with a focus on the planet.
Global partnerships will help countries mobilize resources, build capacity, and develop technologically to accelerate the achievement of the global goals.
The Concerns of SDG 17
Some issues of SDG 17, as noted by the UN, include:
Support for implementing the SDGs has been steady but fragile, financial resources remain scarce, trade tensions have been increasing, and crucial data are still lacking. The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening past achievements, with a 40% decline in trade, foreign direct investment and remittances in 2020.
How is Emerging Technology a Solution to Accelerate SDG 17?
Emerging technology is transforming every industry. PwC says that we need to ensure technologies are harnessed in the right way to fulfil their potential to revolutionize the world, transform the lives of people and unlock new pathways to prosperity, fast-tracking sustainable development globally.
Global Partnerships to Achieve the Global Goals
Nature communications notes that international partnerships in implementing the SDGs vary according to context, organizations and specific project needs. Different stakeholders come together so they can achieve the SDGs faster and with more efficiency. Partnerships allow the partners to achieve their individual goals and the common goals of coming together.
According to Stairway to SDG, it is necessary to mobilise several resources from different stakeholders to address global challenges. These stakeholders include governments, civil society, private sector, academia, and citizens. They form partnerships at the global, regional, national and local levels.
One global partnership formed to achieve the SDGs is The Nature Conservancy. Its mission is to protect the lands and waters because life depends on them. It is committed to protecting and restoring the planet’s fragile freshwater systems. The Nature Conservancy commits to conserving 1 million kilometers of rivers and 30 million hectares of lakes and wetlands benefiting tens of millions of people by 2030. Its focus is SDG 6, SDG 9, and SDG 15.
Partnerships to Achieve the SDGs Using Emerging Technologies
1. Drone Technology to Create Job Opportunities
One target of SDG 17 is to fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017. This calls for initiatives to enhance the use of emerging technologies, especially in developing countries.
One emerging technology that is being used to create employment is drone technology. Some of the job opportunities in this area include drone pilots, drone pilot trainers, software developers, production personnel, technicians, etc.
Tanzania Flying Labs is creating new jobs by upskilling local communities with the ability to use drone data to improve livelihoods. One thing it does is to create job opportunities through its business incubation program. It has successfully incubated new local “Drones-as-a-Service” companies. The organization provides assessment services on the use of drones for various applications and advice on how best to integrate them into daily workflow.
2. Platform Economy to Tackle Food Waste
Platforms are digital marketplaces that allow businesses and consumers to connect and buy and sell products or services. They match buyers and sellers and usually solve a challenge faced in society. Some businesses are using platforms to form partnerships that are accelerating the SDGs. One area where platforms are in use is combating food waste to achieve SDG 2 (Zero hunger).
Too Good to Go is an app in Europe that deals with food waste. It seeks to address SDG 2 (Zero hunger) and has partnered with hotels, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, schools, businesses etc, to sell their surplus food. Customers use the app to buy magic bags at a cheaper price. Businesses register their magic bags and customers buy them, not knowing what is inside. A magic bag can have an assortment of food that would otherwise go to waste.
The world will achieve the SDGs through partnerships at the global, regional, national and local levels. When we work towards sustainable development with a common goal, we will solve a lot of the world’s problems. By coming together to ensure that especially developing countries have the resources they need, we will move forward faster.
To accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, emerging technology will be a key player by fusing the digital and physical worlds. Ours is to learn how to use emerging technology to come up with innovative solutions that will help deal with global challenges.
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