Two recent reports from development-minded institutions demonstrate how research and innovation can help achieve global development outcomes. The Shell...
In a year of global agreements, Amber Meikle from Practical Action explains why technology justice is a crucial paradigm for development
Fifteen years is a long time in the world of technology. Futurologists predict that by 2030 we’ll have, among other things, an internet connection with Mars, industrial scale desalination, and shared consciousness with an external computer. A quick Google search turns up any number of seemingly unexpected, implausible or potentially life-changing technologies. But whose life? How can we reverse recent trends and channel this rampant innovation to closing the already gaping divide between those with access to the technology they need and those without. How can we use technology to ensure that no one gets left behind?
The next 15 years of technological change and innovation – governed well – could transform the wellbeing of millions of people in the developing world and protect our planet for future generations. Or, it could reinforce power imbalances and the technological divide between rich and poor, and create new social and environmental challenges.
How we govern the access, innovation and use of technology in the next 15 years will influence our progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being agreed by the United Nations in September. The successes and failures of technology, development and the future of our planet are bound together.
We know that access to the right technologies is an essential component of development, and yet billions of people still can’t access the energy, medicines or modern seeds that they need to improve their lives. At the same time billions more people use technology in a way that is harmful to our planet or other people, wastefully consuming natural resources such as fossil fuels and water, or using antibiotics in a way that reduces their efficacy.
These technology injustices must be recognised and overcome if we are to succeed in our global goal of sustainable development for all people everywhere.