It is time to recognise the need to work toward a new SDG focused on ensuring that the Digital Age supports people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnerships. The words of Amy Luers, Executive Director, Future Earth, a signatory of the Montreal Statement released today. Which calls for a Sustainable Development Goal that advocates actions that can harness the ‘most powerful force defining humanity’s future: the digital age’.
In a bid to achieve sustainability in the Digital Age, business, government and science leaders have come together to endorse the Montreal Statement ahead of a high-level UN virtual meeting next week that will discuss the state of the Global Goals in light of COVID-19. They have set out five actions they say can support societal transformations that will deliver a low-carbon, secure and equitable future for all.
“We need to bet big on digital technologies, because they provide the kind of exponential transformative power needed to achieve the SDGs. We are making great progress applying digital technologies to help tackle sustainability challenges, but we are still not cooperating enough across the public and private sectors to drive the scale, speed and direction of change we need. The Montreal Statement on Sustainability in the Digital Age outlines areas where we urgently need to take more collaborative action to govern the technology sector and build a digital ecosystem for people and planet,” David Jensen, Head of Environmental Peacebuilding, UN Environment Programme
The statement calls for:
- Developing a social contract for the digital age, to ensure individual rights, justice and equity, inclusive access, and environmental sustainability;
- Ensuring open and transparent access to data and knowledge critical to achieving sustainability and equity;
- Building public and private collaborations to develop and manage AI and other technologies in support of sustainability and equity;
- Investing in research and innovation that focuses on transdisciplinary challenges and opportunities underlying the systems that are maintaining our unsustainability; and
- Promoting targeted communication, engagement and education to advance the social contract.
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