Innovators, UN discuss using tech to tackle world’s development challenges

18 May 2017

From drones dropping food and medicines, to handheld devices that can diagnose Ebola with a drop of blood, the latest technological advances are converging to make the "unthinkable happen," said global innovators and heads of tech companies invited to the United Nations today to discuss how to emerging technologies can boost achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Living up to his promise to be "disruptive," Peter Thomson, the President of the UN General Assembly, using the famous Silicon Valley catchphrase, told those gathered for the High-level SDG Action Event on Innovation and Connectivity that he had refrained from wearing a jacket and tie, while Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed kicked off her shoes before addressing the room.

"Today, in this world, everyone is closing their border," she said, but partnerships are necessary for the SDGs to reach every corner of the globe. Indeed, many innovators know no borders, "like we do in these halls when we negotiate and we talk about red lines, blue lines and green lines".

Ms. Mohammed underscored: "There are no red, blue or green lines as you walk through the Internet, social media, communicating across those borders. That is what is exciting. Because with that you can share knowledge, with that you can go to scale, with that you can partner to de-risk environments where ordinarily you would not go".

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Photo: UN

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