G-STIC Shows ICT Delivers People-Centric Sustainable Solutions

Approximately 1000 people from more than 60 countries came together from 23-25 October in Brussels to discuss solutions in support of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through science and technology. CSCP coordinated the cross-cutting theme on ICT solutions supporting SDGs and sustainable lifestyles.

With the overall conference looking into sectors such as energy and water, Marco van der Ree, Senior Advisor of the CSCP, coordinated and facilitated the cross-cutting theme “ICT as Enabling Technology”, in partnership with GeSI, Imec/ENoLL and VITO. Sustainable lifestyles and more sustainable production processes created through the achievement of the SDGs through ICT were discussed. Over the two days a broad range of partners participated, providing perspectives from multiple stakeholders in business, the academic sector, civil service and government. Topics covered included connectivity, user-centric co-creation and innovation, ICT as a transformative and disruptive driver for change, inclusion versus exclusion, the human side of technology, customer/citizen perspectives, women in innovation, and youth as a powerful resource for new ideas. Many potential solutions were presented.

 Key Findings of the crosscutting theme:

From a cross-cutting perspective, ICT can provide many solutions to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. There are four areas that need to be addressed.

  1. Connect the Unconnected – Connectivity needs to be inclusive (including women, people with disabilities, vulnerable groups, and people in war/humanitarian situations.) A focus on education is required and existing best practices need to be identified, scaled and replicated.
  2. Collaborative innovation needs to be strengthened by creating inter-disciplinary innovation spaces for joint application, co-creation, and implementation. Living Labs calls this the quadruple helix: government, the private sector, citizens, and academia.
  3. Solutions that deliver sustainability should be identified and fast-tracked for replication. These solutions need to empower people, taking a “user-centric approach” to influence consumption behavior and provide the opportunity for more sustainable lifestyles.
  4. We have to be cognisant of and address the risks. We need to be aware so current patterns of disempowerment and exclusion don’t get replicated or exacerbated by digitalisation.

In conclusion, it is necessary to develop a set of ICT-specific principles of responsible digital transformation, engaging all relevant stakeholders in a transparent and participative process.

The CSCP further contributed to the conference through a presentation from Kristina Modée, “ICT innovation facilitating the transition so sustainble lifestyles” and with Thomas Wagner’s presentation and participation in a panel discussion in the Circular Economy theme on “Implementing Circular Economy and industry 4.0”.

Please contact Marco van der Ree if you have any questions.

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