The work of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) is vital for one reason – too few sustainability initiatives have focused on the importance of transformative solutions. There is increasing recognition that ICT can play a role in improving socio-economic development, creating low carbon economies, and governance and transparency, not to mention enabling billions of people to communicate and collaborate. We are entering a new era where the private sector will solve problems, and create new business models.
As a member of the SDSN Leadership Council, I strongly believe that we can mobilize leaders from academia, business, civil society, and other development organizations to promote problem solving and practical solutions for the pressing challenges of sustainable development. The focus on solutions that show the potential of technical and business innovation should not be under estimated – and clearly a win-win in a time where global challenges have never been greater.
During the COVID-19 crisis, lockdowns and other social-distancing rules have forced schools worldwide to shut their doors, locking out a peak of 1.6 billion children. Unless the international community acts now, the consequences for this generation – especially its poorest members – will be severe and long-lasting.
After four decades of sacrificing state capacity on the altar of the market, Western countries are facing another large-scale crisis that has revealed the flaws of that approach. The question now is whether the old orthodoxy will finally be replaced.
By forcing much of the world to go online, the COVID-19 crisis has rapidly broadened the global technology debate beyond questions of surveillance and privacy. The digital policies that governments adopt today will increasingly shape how we work, learn, and entertain ourselves – and how we manage future crises.