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Updated On: Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Development Issues

Enabling Change In Food Security And Energy Efficiency By Promoting New Technology

Photo: South-South News

Content by: South-South News

5 January 2013, New York USA | Connor Schratz - With a rapidly increasing population and the effects of global warming becoming more consequential, science and technology are becoming increasingly important for food security, generating jobs, and reinventing the global energy grid.

The United Nations General Assembly hosted a 2-day-long series of workshops focused on the technological needs of developing countries and option to address them. Experts in the field of science and technology shared their best practices and views on how to integrate technology into local practices with UN representatives.

Overall consensus among the experts was that technological initiatives need to be implemented in strong cooperation with local policies.

"One single NGO, one single project is not going to solve this problem. Instead of donors coming with a completely new project, they need to add to the technology that a country already has," Ephraim Nkonya, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute said during one of the panel discussion - focused on poverty eradication and agriculture.

"Incentives by developed countries should involve training programs,"Nkoya said. "Both North-South and South-South Cooperation is required."
Without the help of technological advancements, Least Developed Countries will not be able to supply the need of their growing populations, nor will they be able to face the challenges of climate change, the panelists agreed. Ensuring food security in developing countries is closely linked with curbing the hazardous effects of climate change and the growing demand for affordable energy.
"The key for all countries, but especially for developing countries is having access to energy at affordable prices," Imran Ahmad, Senior Program Officer at the International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA said during another discussion themed: "Successful models for clean and environmentally sound innovation and technology diffusion on developing countries."
The Secretary-General's mandate − under his "Sustainable Energy For All" program launched at the Rio+ 20 Forum on Sustainable Development in 2012 − is to have 30% of all energy in the world be renewable energy by 2030.
While the United Nations and the international community work towards this goal, technological diffusion proves to be a process with many challenges on a local level.
A lack of awareness or a delivery system for new technology often prevents it from reaching the pivotal regions, while a lack of trained specialist means that even if the technology reaches the right places, it can't be put to use effectively. Moreover, affordability of equipment and access to research forms another barrier to successful saturation of developing countries with technological advancements.
"Learning from this, we really need to develop new ways of international partnerships," Professor Ambuj Sagar from the Indian Institute of Technology said.
International partnerships that include both local authorities as well as civil society stakeholders, that can generate the recourses needed to further technological research, the panelists added.
"It is the private sector that has the financial resources, not the public sector," the representative of Morocco said. "But all the international agreements are made between governments, who only represent the public sector. Doesn't the international community need some international agreement between companies in the private sector?"
The panelists agreed that providing incentives to the private sector is crucial to get them on board, together with stakeholders on a local level, to push technological growth in places where it is most needed.
"There have been good small initiatives but we need to make a master attempt, to change the mindset of the stakeholder about just how important this really is," Ahmad said.
The technology is there. We require the political will. We require the social adjustment," he continued. "Once the awareness is there and the political will, there can be change."


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