Financial Times Digital Forum

Financial Times Digital Forum

VIENNA, 22 October 2020 - The Director General LI Yong participated in the Global Digital Summit Series organized by the Financial Times and hosted by the G20 Saudi Presidency. The overarching theme of the four-day Digital Forum, on 21, 22, 28 and 29 October, was “A New Framework of Inclusive Growth”. It was organized to gather leaders and experts in global policy, business and finance to discuss how the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis can act as a catalyst to spur the transition towards more inclusive global growth based on sustainability, empowerment and innovation.

The Director General took part in a one-on-one Fireside Chat on “Inclusive innovation”. This session was part of the broader segment on “Building a Digital Economy for Inclusive Growth” which aimed to examine the role of the digital economy in promoting inclusive growth.

The Director General started by highlighting that technological development alongside industrialization has always been a seedbed for adding real value, diversifying the economy and providing employment. He further emphasized that advanced innovations have a wide range of potential applications that can benefit societies, including the most vulnerable groups, like women and youth. Innovation is indeed a crucial enabler for inclusiveness as it creates opportunities for the traditionally disadvantaged groups to participate actively in the recovery, upskilling and to be an active part of the structural changes. However, the Director General noted that this potential can only be realized as and when the digital gap between high-income and developing countries is narrowed. He also underlined the importance and role of inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in closing the existing development gap. The Director General also noted the need to implement bold long-term strategies and policies to create sound and enabling environment for all. He used as an example the comprehensive and empowering integrated assistance packages offered by UNIDO to its Member States in the form of the Organization’s ongoing Programme for Country Partnership (PCP).

The Director General further stressed the need for even stronger international and cross-sectoral cooperation to harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to ensure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the Decade of Action. He concluded the session by referring to the ongoing UN Development System reform aimed at repositioning the development ecosystem to better support its Member States to achieve the 2030 Agenda in a timely and efficient manner.