ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

ITU identifies 8 frontier technologies to combat climate change

* Emphasises need to respond to climate change as one humanity

* Urges governments, civil society, academia, scientific/tech industry to action

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

With reference to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) fast distressing many countries of the world, International Telecommunications Union/United Nations (ITU/UN) in a recent report has highlighted potential of eight essential frontier technologies to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 by economies across the world.

ConsumerConnect reports the ITU/UN report titled: “Frontier technologies to protect the environment and tackle climate change”, was released to mark the occasion of Earth Day 2020.

The Geneva-based organisation in a release April 22, 2020, indicated that cutting emissions in cities to natural disaster risk reduction, smart water management and precise climate monitoring, frontier technologies in fields such as artificial intelligence, as well as 5G and robotics all demonstrate considerable potential to support the battle against climate change.

The ITU/UN report investigates eight fields of innovation, including Artificial Intelligence (AI); Internet of Things (IoTs); 5G Network; clean energy technology; digital twin; robotics; Space 2.0 technologies; and digitalisation and Big Data.

Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU, in the report noted that “COVID-19 has made clear that we are all interconnected and that our response must be collective, across countries and sectors and that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have an important role to play in accelerating solutions.

“How we respond to climate change as one humanity, must follow the same principles. “This report is a call to action for governments, civil society, academia, the scientific community and the technology industry to join UN agencies in their effort to leverage frontier technologies to tackle the urgent climate crisis.”

The report highlights case studies exploring applications of frontier technologies to reduce air pollution and manage e-waste, support smart water and energy management, generate clean energy, model ‘digital twin’ cities for disaster risk reduction, support smart agriculture and food security, and monitor our planet’s climate and biodiversity.

It emphasises the overarching goal of this innovation, the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular SDG 13 on Climate Action.

The potential of frontier technologies to support the achievement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°c above pre-industrial levels was as well discussed.

The report concludes with observations and recommendations for the rollout and adoption of frontier technologies.

These conclusions encourage us to plan for the future, today. They recognise the potential of frontier technologies to assist countries in ‘leapfrogging’ economic and social activities known to be detrimental to our environment.

However, the stakeholders caution that frontier technologies are not a panacea.

They upheld that their success in combatting climate change will call for government support to climate action, inclusive innovation engaging all stakeholders, global access to new technological capabilities, and applications of frontier technologies at the scale necessary to achieve global impact.

The statement indicates that the report was developed by ITU in conjunction with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); UN Environment; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); United Nations Global Compact; and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

Others involved are the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women); and support of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

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