|Nov 27,28 2007 – The Positive Impact of ICT on the Environment and Climate Change|
STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. SRGJAN KERIM
ICTs can provide the opportunity to mobilize our ingenuity by accelerating the development of new technologies that put us on the path to sustainable development and low carbon growth.
ICTs are clearly important tools, catalysts, and instruments that can contribute to the preservation of our environment and the stabilization of the world’s climate. But like all tools, success depends as much on how we use them as who has them.
This means we have to bridge the digital divide – especially in Africa. To communicate efficiently worldwide boosts business, helps to promote sustainable development, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The recent report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Valencia has confirmed unequivocally that climate change is induced by human behavior.
Let me also reiterate the common conviction expressed by world leaders at the High Level meeting here in September: the time for talking has ended; the time for action has begun.
We have no choice but to open our minds, and hearts, and embrace this call for action. Without action climate change will transform the way we all live in future.
It will also have a huge impact on the way this Organization pursues its objectives in development, peace and security, human rights and the rules of law. Inevitably, ICTs will be more integrated into our work in future.
ICTs can assist to monitor and analyze the causes and effects of climate change. In fact, observation and early warning capabilities are of critical importance for many vulnerable countries.
Early warning systems can reduce the risk and impact of dangerous weather and natural disasters.
ICTs will be instrumental in helping to develop new, climate-friendly technologies that can help economies growth sustainably and reduce emissions in the years ahead.
Government’s actions to address climate change will also provide a new platform for technology and service industries.
Technology has already offered numerous climate-friendly solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon sequestration is just one important element.
The business community can develop other innovations, knowledge and technologies – turning climate problems into opportunities.
However, we do not always have to think of huge investments and large scale projects. Each of us can significantly reduce our carbon footprint in our daily lives by using smart ICTs. For example, instead of traveling to business meetings we can use new video-conferencing technology.
As consumers we all have the opportunity to vote with our wallets – by creating demand for products that are climate friendly. This is not limited to cars and refrigerators, but also includes ICTs that are efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Our choices as consumers in turn influence investment and the research and development of new technologies.
Our spending patterns affect politics and the decisions that governments make to appeal to their electorates. In many countries this bottom-up process is being accelerated by ICT based e-government initiatives that bring government closer to the people.
But consumers also need incentives. And here governments have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to shape behavior through a mix of policy interventions. The use of the tax system is just one means to create incentives for individuals and business.
Information and communication technologies built around environmentally friendly principles can push us toward a greener more sustainable, low carbon world.
This process needs to be complemented by the pull of global and local governance structures, where there are suitable incentives and a proper regulatory framework in place, such as a global mitigation and trading framework for carbon.
History has taught me to be optimistic when considering our common fate. This includes the fate of the environment. We always have the opportunity to change our individual and collective behavior.
The warming climate has given us the opportunity to profoundly reconsider our relationship with the planet.
Addressing it provides a real opportunity for a new kind of global consciousness where we may once again live in harmony with nature – technology must help not hinder this fragile relationship.
And today, we are witnessing the rise of a new generation that regards the environment as an integral part of the way we live.
We now have the possibility to develop a new framework that sees economic growth, social justice and environmental care advance hand in hand.
If we do not safeguard our natural inheritance – the environment – for our children, we risk losing our relationship to it, and maybe also a part of our humanity.
Thank you for your attention. I wish you all a very fruitful discussion.
Welcome remarks by
MR. SHA ZUKANG
UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
TO THE CONFERENCE ON THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF ICT ON THE
ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
New York, 27 November 2007
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to this Conference on the Positive Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on the Environment and Climate Change.
I would like to express my appreciation to AIT-Global for its long-standing collaboration with the United Nations and for co-organizing this meeting with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and its Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID).
Today, with AIT-Global, GAID – as a platform for engaging all stakeholders to promote partnerships in ICT for development – brings us together to discuss how ICTs can be used to protect the environment and address the impact of climate change.
The Secretary-General sees overcoming the threat of climate change as the defining challenge of our times. The latest report of the UN’s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change makes the need for urgent action clearer than ever. We must make such action possible and affordable.
Progress and development have ushered in new technologies to help protect the environment and fight environmental degradation, including ICTs.
ICTs are crucial to understanding the environment and the impact of climate change. ICTs can also provide tools to help cut greenhouse gas emissions, by, for example, making electricity load and energy management more efficient or modernizing mass transit. They can also be instrumental in providing information on climate change and disaster management.
Looking at the broader sustainable development agenda, ICTs are useful in the management and monitoring of soil through remote sensing. They can help to manage water demand in agriculture through drip and advanced irrigation technologies. They can also be used in the monitoring and assessment of air pollution, in forest fire management and in various meteorological applications.
There remains vast potential for developing ICT applications in support of sustainable development. I hope that this Conference will dig deeply into a number of key questions on this front. Let me mention a few:
What ICTs are immediately available for broad deployment in developing countries?
What are the impediments to their wide-scale deployment?
How can issues such as accessibility and affordability be addressed?
With an effective global partnership among all the stakeholders, I truly believe that we can tackle climate change and achieve sustainable development for all.
I look forward to a fruitful discussion and wish you all the best.