Technology can serve all three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and environmental – at the same time. This is the main finding of UNIDO’s Industrial Development Report (IDR) 2016, to be presented at a special seminar at UNU HQ in Tokyo on 18 December 2015.
Entitled “The Role of Technology and Innovation in Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development”, this flagship report was based around a series of UNU-MERIT Working Papers, co-authored by among others Director Bart Verspagen, Profs. Adam Szirmai and Wim Naudé (MSM), Drs. Neil Foster-McGregor, Paula Nagler (MSM), Alejandro Lavopa, and Jojo Jacob, as well as PhD Fellows Mary Kaltenberg, Ibrahima Kaba, and Simone Sasso, among others. Additional research assistance was provided by PhD Fellows Juan Carlos Castillo and Sheng Zhong.
The report says that in the coming decades radical innovations like the mobile internet, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things are likely to revolutionise production processes and enhance living standards, particularly in developing countries. Yet while there is clear evidence that technological change contributes to the prosperity of nations, the debate continues about what deters countries from promoting technology and innovation more intensively. Although technology is linked to sustainable growth, there has been uncertainty about whether it can simultaneously create social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability.
The authors argue that rapid inclusive and sustainable industrialisation can be achieved if policymakers steer the industrialisation process, by applying sound policies and avoiding past mistakes. See below for the report overview.