For the last three days I was able to join the Global Sciene Technology and Innovation Conference (G-STIC) in Brussels, Belgium. One may not automatically think about tech and SDGs, yet there is an important linkage between Sience, Technology and Innovation (STI) and the SDGs with almost all of them leading to improved livelihood.
Urban Design and Sustainable Building
On Monday I joined one panel highlighting the opportunity of new hurricane and earth quake resistant buildings in Asia, which at times of climate change is comming perfect.
Another panel on agroecology highlighted the opportunity to connect farmers and share their knowledge through a simple mobile phone app developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Although this app was initially meant to be used by farmers to identify their changing farming methods in accordance to changing cilmate, they started using it as their own network to share their resources and individual farming adaptation plans among each other. Along with this app, other advanced technolgoies such as GEO-ICT which connects physical and virtual geographies through remote sensing techniques were presented as well.
Energy Positive Communities
Ever heard of bitcoins? Well another company just started using electricty as own currency for rural communities in India. The concept is called “SWARM Electrification “. a bottom up electricity shared community approach. It was developed by finding out that during one day, only 70 percent of electricity created from solar power was used by small scale families in India. 30 percent were going to waste. Through SWARM Electrification, other neighbors with greater electricity needs are able ot buy it off from their neighbors.
Almost 55 percent of carbon is captured by marine life and more then 90 percent of human heat created is absorbed by the sea. The sea is important and so is seaweed and algae! Fish eat from algae and some shores such as Portugal suffer on a lack of algae and thereby automatically decrease the supply of fresh water fish. What can be dome against it ? Seaforestation such as done by the company Seaweed Energy Solution. Seaweed cultivation also helps reducing carbon print and create income. In Asia for instance, 30 million tonnes of seaweed are cultivated annually. Way to go.
Waste Water as Resource
Salt water, waste water and polluted water; Water we may naturally not think of using, but new or improved innovations allow us to fully desalinate and treat these types of water and lasty turn them into drinkable water. Innovations like that which already exist in Singapore could be urgently needed to clean up river beds, but provide necessary drinking water to populations such as those living on the Ganga river in India.
And then there is bamboo, to summarize it in short through some of the bamboo panels on the second day of G-STIC ; around 1465 species can create up to today around 10000 products , ranging from engineered and non engineered products such as a simple bamboo cups, bikes or even bamboo winding pipelines. It can help reduce the effects of climate change, creates biodiversity, turns dry land into fertile land , feeds fish, chicken, goats and humans,… the list is long !
Conclusive Remark on STI and SDGs
Although there were many more innovative approaches on how STIs can help achieve the SDGs such as through Artifical Intelligence (AI) for education, important is to recognize their crucial role and further support their development and implementation in the local context. As highlighted during one of the closing speaks at G-STIC “leave noone unconnected so that noone is left behind”. In addition and a view of the Circular Economy Approach “Waste means Money”.
But last but not least; we do have all the important technologies that could help in achieving Agenda 2030, but this only happens if different sectors such as government, policy makers, private and public secor and civil society meet, share, create and implement ideas together; a platform and opportunity for dialogue that was certainly provided at G-STIC.