It was great to participate in today’s symposium on the SDGS and sustainable supply chains in the post-global economy today, convened in the School of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London, by The Centre for Research into Sustainability (CRIS) at Royal Holloway University of London, the University of Twente, and the Greening of Industry Network. Several of the keynotes and papers specifically addressed the role of ICTs in delivering the SDGs, and enhancing sustainability in supply chains.
Following an opening by Professor Gloria Agyemang (Head of the School of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London), keynotes were given by Hans Bressers (University if Twente), Diane Holt (University of Essex), Shaun McCarthy (Action Sustainability), Joseph Sarkis (Foisie Business School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Tim Unwin (UNESCO Chair in ICT4D), and Natalia Yakovleva (Newcastle University). Joseph Sarkis and Tim Unwin both focused specifically on ICTs, sustainability and the SDGS, highlighting both the positive and more problematic aspects of the relationships between technology and sustainable development.
A lively discussion was held during the finger buffet lunch, covering a very wide range of issues relevant to technology, supply chains, and international development, including the importance of the informal economy, the irrelevance of the SDGS, and conceptualising no-growth/low-growth economies. Afternoon papers were grouped into five tracks:
- Geopolitical shifts and supply chain contribution to SDGs
- Social inclusion, CSR and business ethics in cross-border sustainability chains
- Measuring and reporting to embed sustainability and social inclusion in sustainable supply chains policy and practice
- Interdependencies and trade-offs between SDGs and the outcomes of environmental practices, social practices and operational practices in supply chains
- New actors, information sharing and networks.
The Symposium was convened by Diego Vazquez-Brust (a Member of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D), Laura Franco-Garcia, and Lauren McCarthy, to whom many thanks are due. Details of papers presented at the symposium will be available in due course, but slides from Tim Unwin’s paper are already available at The SDGs, supply chains and the ICT sector: critical reflections.
To coincide with the recent publication of Tim Unwin’s new book entitled Reclaiming Information and Communication Technologies for Development (Oxford University Press, 2017), the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D is convening a workshop on Friday 16th June (11.00-12.45 in Room Popov 1) at the 2017 WSIS Forum being held in Geneva. The key premise of the workshop is that the global spread of ICTs has increased inequality, and that the poorest and most marginalised have therefore failed sufficiently to benefit. The workshop will explore whether the continued focus on the ways through which ICTs can contribute to economic growth will inevitably lead to ever increasing, and dangerous, inequality, and will make recommendations as to how different stakeholders can best ensure that the poorest and most marginalised can indeed benefit from their use.
It will begin with short (5 minute) perspectives from some amazing people (listed in alphabetical order of first names):
- Alex Wong (Head, Global Challenge Partnerships & Member of the Executive Committee; Head of the Future of the Internet Global Challenge Initiative, World Economic Forum) on The power of partnership
- Dr. Bushra Hassan (School of Psychology, University of Sussex) on The wisdom of marginalised women
- Charlotte Smart (Digital Policy and Programme Manager, Department for International Development, UK) on The delivery of donors
- Michael Kende (Senior Advisor, Analysis Mason, and former Chief Economist of the Internet Society) on The trust in technology
- Nigel Hickson (VP IGO Engagement, ICANN) on The design of the domain name system
- Torbjörn Fredriksson (Head of ICT Analysis Section of the Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD) on The energy of entrepreneurship
Following these short, and undoubtedly provocative, presentations there will be an open discussion focusing on participants’ thoughts as to what are the most important priorities for action that different stakeholders must take so that the poorest and most marginalised people and communities can indeed be empowered through the use of ICTs.
The workshop is open to everyone with interests in ways through which ICTs can indeed benefit poor people, and there will also be an opportunity after the workshop for participants to purchase copies of Reclaiming Information and Communication Technologies for Development at a 40% reduction from list price.
We very much look forward to seeing you in Geneva at the 2017 WSIS Forum.
Members of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D participated in the ITU’s World Radiocommunication Seminar 2016 (WRS-16) held in Geneva from 12th-16th December 2016. This provided an excellent opportunity to gain detailed updated information on both terrestrial and space services, covering technical and regulatory issues including publications, databases and tools for countries to use in managing radiocommunications.
It also enabled us to engage in the kick-off meeting of the Network of Women (NOW) for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) held on 13th December, during which the Chairholder contributed to the panel discussion, speaking on:
- the big picture of women in the ICT/radiocommunication sector;
- how to encourage women to take ownership of the group; and
- the role that ITU should play in supporting this type of action.
As well as participating in the formal aspects of WRS-16 this was also an excellent opportunity to engage with national delegations and participants, especially from Pakistan and Kenya, as well as officials and friends in the ITU to discuss how the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D can further contribute to the ITU’s activities.