Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Going green: How technology offers development and climate benefits

Green technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and electric vehicles are growing rapidly and could create a market of over $9.5 trillion by 2030. But most of the benefits are going to developed countries.

UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2023 to be published on 16 March examines why it’s important for developing countries to act now to benefit more from green tech to catch up economically while tackling climate change.

UNCTAD is the UN’s leading institution dealing with trade and development. It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.

But this will only be possible through the right national policies and global cooperation to ensure consistency across international agreements on trade, intellectual property and climate change.

In January 2023 the Netherlands said it will provide $10 million to UNCTAD to help developing countries benefit more from e-commerce and the digital economy and facilitate business and investment.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan and H.E. Ms. Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, signed an agreement on 17 January for the financial contribution.

“We greatly appreciate the Netherlands’ increased support for our work on e-commerce and the digital economy, and business and investment facilitation,” Ms. Grynspan said.

She said the support underscores the growing importance of digitalization for inclusive and sustainable development in a time of multiple global crises.

Schreinemacher said: “The Netherlands appreciates UNCTAD’s contribution to global digitalization and linking it to improving business and investment opportunities. We are therefore happy to continue our support and hope other donors will follow the Netherlands in its support for this important programme”.

Bridging digital and data divides

According to the agreement, $6 million will be dedicated to research and technical cooperation activities under UNCTAD’s e-commerce and digital economy programme.

The funds will support the integration of developing countries into the digital economy and enable the benefits of digitalization to reach all people and businesses.

While the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the growing importance of e-commerce, it also exposed digital and data divides between developing and developed countries. The funds will boost UNCTAD’s capacity to meet this growing demand for e-commerce and help bridge the divides.

The Netherlands’ long-standing support to the programme has contributed to building more gender-inclusive digital economies and fostering partnerships to support e-commerce development in low-income countries.

Its support for the eTrade for Women initiative has been instrumental in strengthening more than 200 women-led digital businesses.

Strengthening business and investment facilitation

A further $4 million will fund UNCTAD’s efforts to strengthen digital government services for micro- and small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and international investors.

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