Opening Remarks by Mr James George at the Re:Think Innovation Camp 2022
November 18, 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I want to extend a warm welcome on behalf of UNDP China to all of the guests, colleagues, and friends who are joining us online today for the Re: Think InnoCamp 2022.
In many parts of the world, extreme weather, natural disasters, and energy shortages are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.
With global population growth, and rapid urbanization, environmental degradation has only been exacerbated, as humanity has come increasingly into conflict with the natural world.
COVID-19 has also made these challenges even more difficult, reversing years of development progress and putting the Sustainable Development Goals – global goals to protect people and planet – even further out of reach.
If we want to alter this trajectory, we must act now.
We cannot allow ourselves to revert to old habits.
We must take advantage of the opportunity presented to us in recovering from these crises to build a new world that is more sustainable, inclusive, and green.
And in doing this, technological innovation will be critical.
In 2021, UNDP established the SPARK Lab in Chengdu, the first UNDP China-led Innovation Lab for the SDGs in China, together with the China International Center for Technical and Economic Exchanges under the Ministry of Commerce and the Hi-Tech Industrial Development District Government of Chengdu.
Building on China's technology and innovation, and UNDP's development expertise and global innovation network, the SPARK Lab is designed to harness science, technology and innovative finance to take on the fast-evolving development challenges of the 21st century.
In particular, since the lab’s establishment, it has actively been working with key stakeholders in advancing the low-carbon development agenda and trajectory in the Chengdu High-tech zone.
Our joint efforts with our partners are in support to achieve China’s critically important dual carbon targets announced in 2020, to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and become carbon neutral before 2060.
Our work has included raising awareness of the SDGs and solutions to achieve carbon neutrality among Chengdu High-tech enterprises, as well as helping to share domestic and overseas experience and best practices in low-carbon transformation.
In particular, the lab has undertaken two research initiatives, one on Chengdu High-tech Zone’s potential pathways towards carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, and second on strategies to accelerate its carbon services industry.
We are pleased to note that this critical work has actively established and engaged a network of young entrepreneurs in advancing the SDGs, many of them in the low-carbon field.
Through the network, entrepreneurs have made connections, exchanged ideas and resources to work towards a low-carbon and sustainable future in new and innovative ways.
Today's Re: Think InnoCamp, is a continuation of these efforts.
With the theme of Low-carbon Technology, Green Finance, and SDG Innovation, discussions will look to examine topics including innovative approaches to carbon emission reduction and climate transition finance, as well as share best practices and experiences on low-carbon transition from local enterprises and technology parks both in China and globally.
We are excited to have a diverse range of both local and international participants joining us including policymakers, academia, entrepreneurs, and representatives from international organizations and consulates.
I’m hopeful our collective discussions can lead to mutually beneficial partnerships that can actively contribute to sustainable development, in particular, by accelerating progress towards carbon peaking and neutrality in China and advancing the SDGs globally.
In closing, let me extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who has supported today’s event.
I especially want to thank Chengdu High-Tech Zone and CICETE for their support as co-hosts.
By leveraging our collective ingenuity to harness technology and innovation, we can put the SDGs back on track, safeguard our future, and build a better world for generations to come.