By Ifeoma Asika, Correspondent Campuses
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has published “COVID-19 Implications and Responses. Digital Transformation and Industrial Recovery”. The document outlines the implications of the global health crisis for digital transformation and potential responses for a fast industrial recovery in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The immediate threat posed to public health by the pandemic means that priorities and funding at the national level earmarked for international development may be diverted to address immediate humanitarian concerns.
This may cause shortfalls in other policy areas, potentially leading to unforeseen consequences for people, planet and prosperity further down the line. However, the publication notes that it is also evident that the COVID-19 pandemic affords the international community an opportunity to accelerate progress towards collaborative solutions to these international development issues, most notably with through advanced manufacturing technologies and digitalization.
According to the new UNIDO publication, “Even prior to the crisis, global manufacturing was in the midst of an unprecedented and rapid change, due to the convergence of the digital and traditional manufacturing sectors: the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, 3D printing, wearables and the Internet of Things, inter alia, are revolutionizing the manufacturing landscape, presenting huge opportunities to upscale productivity but simultaneously challenging social inclusion objectives.”
Further sections outline how UNIDO is promoting the adoption of digital and innovative solutions to respond to the evolving business environment and to increase business sector resilience. Specifically, it shows how UNIDO provides development support to Member States towards the recovery of an inclusive, resilient and sustainable economy in the 4IR era, through the key areas of innovation and digitalization, investment and technology promotion, and Quality Infrastructure and smart production.