Countries discuss climate action, digital inclusion, and sustainability at ‘Connected for Shared Prosperity’ forum hosted by Huawei

Published February 23, 2021, 7:14 AM

by Enzo Luna

Governmental ministers from multiple countries gathered today at the Connected for Shared Prosperity forum hosted by Huawei, GSMA, the Center for Environmental Economic Studies at Fudan University, and The Paper with the support of UNESCO as part of the lead-up to MWC Shanghai 2021.

Speakers representing six countries agreed that the global economic recovery is increasing instep with greater enforcement of pandemic control measures. Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism María Reyes Maroto, Portuguese Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Pedro Nuno Santos, Hungarian Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics, Malaysian Minister of Communications and Multimedia Dato’ Saifuddin bin Abdullah, and the Thai Secretary-General of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission Vunnaporn Devahastin all spoke at the event, agreeing that reductions in emissions, more jobs, and more initiatives in facilitating prosperity are needed to attain the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 and the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals. Multiple speakers identified digital technologies and global collaboration as essential in this process.

Huawei Senior Vice President and Director of the Board Catherine Chen also delivered a keynote speech at the forum. She stated Huawei’s belief that the goal of technology is to benefit all humans, and that digital technologies can facilitate the UN SDGs. She called on enterprises to take firm action to use technology to create more value for the world.

Huawei has long been an advocate for supporting technological advancement. In 2020, Huawei recycled over 4,500 tons of electronic waste Through multiple initiatives including a reduction of plastics in their phone packaging (1.8 million shopping bags of plastic saved per 10 million phones) and a reduction of 148 million tons of CO2 emissions through the deployment of their FusionSolar solution in more than 60 countries and regions (equivalent to planting more than 200 million trees). Huawei also helped build the world’s largest agricultural PV power plant and fishery PV power plant in Ningxia and Shandong, respectively, both of which have contributed significantly to local environmental protection efforts.

Chen described how technology can be used as an engine for human progress. While calling on individuals and businesses to think big and act small, Chen reiterated her support of the UN’s sustainable development goals and building a green, innovative, and inclusive world.

“We’ve all had mixed feelings about 2020. The pandemic has changed our lives. Many things we took for granted no longer exist and our values have changed. My biggest takeaway from the past year has been just how hard it is for society to reach a consensus. There seems to be constant conflict and disagreement, from deciding if it’s necessary to impose lockdowns to debating if it’s worth it to wear a mask,” said Chen during her keynote speech titled “Believe in the Power of Technology”.

More than 1,000 guests from over 50 countries attended the forum either online or onsite, and discussions were live broadcast in eight languages. Attendees agreed that digital technologies have become the foundation of sustainable development and will benefit more people in multiple aspects.

One attendee, Siddharth Chatterjee, the new UN Resident Coordinator in China said, “Digital technology can help us to build back faster, and more importantly, expedite the transformation towards a low carbon future… Global challenges need global response. We must rethink the way business invest and operate. We must drive technology for social good. We must advance policies and practices to accelerate Sustainable Development Goals.”

European Parliament Member Frances Fitzgerald also noted that, with the roll out of 5G wireless networks, the world is on the threshold of the next revolution. 5G has the potential to impact positively on people’s lives and well-being in areas such as health, education, and food production, and digital technologies will facilitate sustainable development goals.

The Director General of the GSMA Mats Granryd said, “In 2016, the mobile industry was the first to fully commit to the 17 SDGs. And we have been at work ever since, contributing to every one of the 17 goals, including climate action, digital inclusion, and sustainability.”

Zhang Wenhong, Director of the Fudan University Huashan Hospital Infectious Disease Department, also spoke out about the need to continue supporting unhindered development, citing how both social unity and advances in science and technology are critical in combating epidemics. He went on to say that the current pandemic has only emphasized how urgently we need to address developmental issues that result in environmental destruction.

The Director of Fudan University’s Center for Environmental Economic Studies Li Zhiqing closed out the event saying, “China is pushing for comprehensive green transformation of social and economic development, and peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality are the top priority in the transformation. We should encourage innovation in disciplines like economics, finance, and ecological environment which span liberal arts and engineering, so as to fill the gap in talent needed for sustainable development in the future.”

MWC Shanghai 2021 runs from February 23 to February 25 in Shanghai, China. Huawei showcases its products and solutions at booth E10, E50, and E90 in Hall N1 in the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC).

 
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