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Focus on technology to achieve SDGs

The role of technology in achieving Sustainable Development goals was the focus of a full day workshop in Bahrain.

The workshop, organised by Bahrain Centre for Strategic and International and Energy Studies the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia, aimed at understanding how technology could accelerate progress towards achieving SDGs

Among those who attended included Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Chairman of Derasat Board of Trustees and Undersecretary for International Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kingdom of Bahrain, Amin El Sharkawi, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Dr. Haidar Fraihat, Director, Technology for Development Division, ESCWA, and Dr. Zakaria Al-Khaja, Deputy CEO, Information and e-Government Authority.

The workshop was held under the title “Technology and Innovation: Means of Economic Diversification”. Sessions.

In his keynote speech, Dr Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa highlighted the important role research institutions have to play in understanding innovation: “The most important conclusion is that innovation is not a random act; in fact, most of the useful innovation that is delivered by society’s creative geniuses is the result of purposeful effort.”

The United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative, Amin El Sharkawi, emphasized the joint role of the Government of Bahrain and the United Nations in raising awareness on the role of SDGs in the development of Bahrain. “UNDP in Bahrain firmly believes in promoting knowledge to grasp new trends in technology and promote a labour force that is ready for the future economy, as well as ensure prospective workers to keep up with the digital age.”

He added: “The Arab region has started to update and develop policies to integrate the realization of the SDGs within national policies. Bahrain is one of the aforementioned active countries.”

Dr. Haidar Fraihat, Director, Technology for Development Division at ESCWA, stated: “This workshop affirms the active and effective role of UNESCWA and its partners to serve the Arab Region.”

One of the highlights of the day was the session on national initiatives on technology and innovation for Economic Diversification, which brought together Deputy CEO of IGA, Zakaria Al-Khaja, Dr Mazen Mohamed Ali of the University of Bahrain, and entrepreneurs Khalifa Al Mannai, Managing Director of Mannai Tech and Wafa Al Obaidat, CEO of Obai & Hill to discuss youth, technology, economic diversification and gender equality.

Other sessions included “STI and Economic Diversification: Technology as a Socio-Economic Development Driver” moderated by Dimo Calovski from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and a session on regional and international perspectives on technology and innovation with participation from Andrew Cockburn, Head of Trade, Technology and Smart Cities at the Department of International Trade in the United Kingdom.