IGF 2020 WS #50 When Tech Meets Sustainability: What we need to know and do


Organizer 1: Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Mina Hanna, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Maike Luiken, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Sasha Rubel, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 4: Justin Caso, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

- What role can technological breakthroughs and emerging technologies, such as AI, augmented and virtual reality and blockchain, have on ensuring a sustainable environment that is safe, secure and protects human well-being? - How can technology contribute to limiting environmental impact and waste of resources, as well as increase efficiency at all stages of the product economy? - As we enter a new decade with seemingly increasing global challenges, what changes might be needed in policy-making to ensure the sustainability of the planet and the well-being of humanity?

- What are the new disruptive and transformational technologies that could change the paradigm for a sustainable environment and transform the way to reach the SDGs as a whole? - What more can be done in terms of sharing best practices, practical and pragmatic solutions and stakeholder cooperation to address the appropriate use of new and emerging technologies to advance environmental sustainability? - What considerations need to be addressed in the use of existing technology and transformative technologies for a sustainable environment? - How do we balance or reconcile technology solutions, human well-being and trust and a sustainable environment? - What frameworks and practical solutions exist today to better inform all stakeholders and that reinforce responsible technology development in their work for a sustainable environment?


GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
GOAL 13: Climate Action


Technology is an essential tool for sustainable development and the wellbeing of people and the planet. It holds great promise to help overcome existing challenges, ranging from attaining climate sustainability to combating diseases and hunger. Technology is instrumental to ensure all people: Have access to energy that is clean, affordable and sustainable through energy efficient technologies and technologies that use alternative energy sources Have access to clean water through water purification, efficiency, delivery and sanitation technologies Live in less toxic environments by putting in place alternative agriculture and industrial technologies Live in more sustainable environments by mitigating the effects of climate change through energy efficient processes Live in sustainable cities and communities 2020 has brought the world even more challenges as it battles the global health pandemic and its effects on global health and safety, research, infrastructure, communications and more. Debates are taking place about how and in what kind of world we will emerge, and how this new world should be reshaped. Sustainability of the planet and the well-being of humanity are becoming even more imperative. Achieving a sustainable environment and protecting the well-being of people will require new development strategies and innovative resource mobilization, as well as the innovative use of existing and emerging technologies. Fast growing technologies can have a significant impact on society, the economy and the environment. There is excitement around the many technological breakthroughs as they offer us hope for a sustainable future. The scaling and use of these technologies represent a genuine opportunity across the globe to provide individuals and communities with the means to meet their needs and develop their full potential. However, although these transformative technologies create opportunities they also create challenges for society and the environment. They present new and unique ethical and equity-related challenges, which can undermine trust, thereby hindering advances in sustainable development. They may also contribute to increased levels of emissions in terms of their production, energy consumption and recycling of electronic waste. And we need to address how to ensure reliable, safe and sustainable solutions for the future, and for these solutions to be in the context of local and regional, as well as global conditions and circumstances--and recognize end users’ values. This interactive workshop will be a moderated dynamic roundtable of experts with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. It will: -Explore various dimensions of the challenges and opportunities in identifying innovative approaches to developing and using technologies for environmental sustainability -Address how the shared goal of sustainable development can be realized by harnessing technologies, while at the same time minimizing their disruptive and adverse effects -Provide guidelines and practical solutions that can be used to address the challenges at the nexus of environment sustainability, technology and human well-being

Expected Outcomes

- Generation of new knowledge and deeper understanding of the issues, challenges and opportunities, as well as practical frameworks, practices and approaches to address them. - The open sharing and use of ideas, perspectives and solutions shared by all stakeholders. - To build upon the discussion and questions asked and perspectives and information shared by workshop attendees and participants in other relevant fora, such as UNSTI, WSIS, IGF meetings and other conferences and workshops hosted by various stakeholder communities and bodies, etc.

We will ensure an interactive and open dialogue with all workshop participants (both remote and in person) to ensure diverse voices are heard. This will be done via asking questions to the audience, and encouraging attendees to share their experiences, perspectives, ideas and information to prompt engagement and interaction. The lead discussants will continually look to prompt attendees to join the conversation.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Most, if not all, technology developed and used for achieving the SDGs and environmental sustainability interface, are accessed or used via the Internet. This includes an entry point for information capture, transfer, access and use. As new emerging technologies, such as AI, virtual and augmented reality, 5G+, blockchain and more, are developed, innovated upon, scaled and deployed as part of solutions and approaches to addressing environmental sustainability, governments, private sector and civil society, in their respective roles and working within their paradigms and processes, as well as end users, benefit from an informed holistic and well-rounded view on of the impact dimensions of these technologies as they address and shape the next generation of the Internet.

Relevance to Theme: Supporting and creating a sustainable environment is essential for the future, and is essential for human health and well-being. Environmental sustainability and climate action is a fundamental component of the UN 2030 Agenda. With under ten years to achieve the SDGs, many internet and information communications technologies, notably emerging and transformative technologies, are being developed, deployed and used--as they hold great promise to connect people, initiatives and resources for information sharing and access and in the development or scaling of alternative resources. Their use can have significant impact of providing affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), enabling climate action (SDG 13), building sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), ensuring responsible production and consumption (SDG 12) and ensuring good health and wellbeing (SDG 3). Yet we need to be aware and informed so how these technologies are developed and used does not have adverse effects on human values and wellbeing, work counter to the achievement of the SDGs or hinder their use and potential benefit due to a lack of trust in them or their providers. This proposed session, through the open dialogue and real-world examples of best practices, tools or instruments and approaches, will provide an interesting, fresh and practical perspective to the narrative on sustainable environment that can be used today--when time is of the essence.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.