We stand at a historic juncture. Just last month we witnessed the largest congregation of global leaders pledge their support in adopting the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. For the first time, we have clearly articulated a set of not just any developmental objectives, but those that are vital for a sustainable future. It is essentially a complete future where economic growth goes hand in hand with social equity and environmental preservation. The wealth generated by economic activity is geared to ending global poverty, made accessible to all, and without impinging on the planet’s resource base.
Goal number 9 of the SDGs is Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, and there are 8 corresponding targets, some of them focused on technology and innovation. According to the recently released SDG Compass, which is a guide for business action on SDGs, “The SDGs present an opportunity for business-led solutions and technologies to be developed and implemented to address the world’s biggest sustainable development challenges.” So if we are looking at economic activity as a tool for ending developmental challenges, we are essentially envisioning a new paradigm of growth. Within this conceptualization, new technologies and innovation are critical, and necessary to usher in transformational changes to the business as usual. Technological breakthroughs and new growth strategies almost always give rise to a host of economic and social impacts, some foreseen, some completely unwarranted. It is important to understand at least the key impacts, to have a better management of technology solutions and resultant outcomes.
The Middle East region already has had its fair share of developmental challenges. It is hoped that the localization of SDG targets will be instrumental in heralding sustainable development in the countries within the region. In the Arabian Gulf, the Oil & Gas, Energy, construction and infrastructure sectors are the biggest contributors to the GDP of nations, in particular the rapidly growing ones. Technology and innovation have been quintessential to the stories of success found here. This session will highlight experiences from leading economic sectors representing the countries of Kuwait and Bahrain.
Moderator: Deon ROSSOUW, Chief Executive Officer, Ethics Institute of South Africa
Asaad AL-SAAD, CEO, Petrochemicals Industries Company (PIC), Kuwait
Abdul Majeed AL-GASSAB, Board Member, Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), Bahrein
> Transformer les producteurs de pétrole en amis de la planète by Lou Cubells (FR)