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Innovation plays a critical role in achieving sustainable development goals: UNDP official

Updated: May 4,2017 7:19 AM     Xinhua

UNITED NATIONS — Innovation and technology play a critical role in implementing the 17 sustainable development goals, especially for developing countries, said Xu Haoliang, Assistant Administrator of United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

To achieve goals including ending poverty, promoting economic growth, creating decent jobs, enhancing health, agricultural development, as well as sustainable urbanization, renewable energy and fighting climate change, innovation and technology are of crucial importance, Xu told Xinhua on May 2 in a written interview, adding that this is especially so to the developing world.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was agreed at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. This new framework for international cooperation to promote sustainable development between 2015 and 2030 is composed of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 Targets.

In a resolution adopted last week, the UN General Assembly designated April 21 as World Creativity and Innovation Day. It also reaffirmed the 2030 agenda and highlighted the importance of supporting “mass entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation,”, a concept put forward by China as early as in 2014.

The resolution pointed out that mass entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation “create new momentum for economic growth and job creation and expand opportunities for all, including women and youth.”

For the developing countries whose innovation capacity lag behind that of developed countries, advanced innovation and technology can be introduced to save cost and time, said Xu. He said the UNDP has specific department focusing on innovation, which provides systemic solutions to promote sustainable development of economy, society and environment.

Xu noted that the development concept of innovation, harmonization, green, openness and sharing was raised by China and was “very important” as world economic growth can no longer rely solely on natural resources and cheap labor.

“Entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation is a critical national development strategy in many neighboring countries,” said Xu, who is also Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.

China can actively share its experience in technological innovation and entrepreneurship in promoting sustainable development and offer the world with China solutions, which will be an important component in South-South cooperation, he added.

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