Brand View: Industry experts at high-level panel session agree global standards are key to digitalisation of inclusive, sustainable value chains
The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS), a joint initiative by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), held a luncheon on last Wednesday in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, to discuss the importance of designing and implementing standards for the digitalisation of inclusive and sustainable value chains.
Held alongside the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74) in New York, the luncheon included a series of addresses given by His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, United Arab Emirates, LI Yong, Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and Badr Al Olama, Head of the Organising Committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit.
Delivering the welcome address, His Excellency, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, United Arab Emirates said, “The digital age allows us to be better connected, and for our products and services to speak to each other with unprecedented efficiency, yet without clear guidelines governing these developments, its progress may be short-lived. In the UAE, we have a long history of embracing new technologies and delivering their benefits to our residents. We are delighted to be part of this discussion as we help to shape the future of regulation to improve lives all over the world.”
The luncheon also culminated in a ministerial panel inviting discussion between industry experts including H.E. Rocío Ingred Barrios, Minister of Production, Peru; Hon. Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, Ghana; H.E. Graciela Marquez, Secretary of Economy, Mexico; Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission, Europe (UNECE); and Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships, World Bank Group. The panelists offered their stance on the importance of ensuring inclusive trade through regulation under the new industrial revolution.
Hon. Mr. Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, Ghana stressed the importance of ensuring all segments of the global value chain equally benefit from innovations in the industry. Shedding light on the disparity that exists in the 100-billion-dollar cocoa production industry, Kyerematen said that the African countries of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana hold 60-65% of the cocoa production, of which only 6%, around 6-billion dollars goes directly to the farmers. He stressed on the importance of educating consumers on using technology not only to improve the manufacturing process and quality of products, but also on how it can be used to increase the value received by small-hold farmers.
Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission, Europe (UNECE) highlighted the importance of establishing common standards in security and policies, investing in education, and raising awareness between governments and the private sector to streamline technological innovations for the benefit of all.
Furthermore, Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships . He highlighted how developing countries and emerging markets do not have much to lose when adopting 4IR technologies and should invest heavily in the requirements that will allow them to leap forward, as seen in the transformation of many East Asian countries. This entails investment in human capital, skills development, and infrastructure. Mohieldin urged on increasing technological employment in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
He also highlighted how businesses need to be competitive and must invest in social protection as transaction and trade costs are set to fall further. Mohieldin mentioned that countries need to keep their door open for growth rather than resorting to protectionism, increasing tariffs, and restricting migration of people, ideas, talent, and skill, which is not in anyone’s interest.
The key outcome of the session was a consensus on the need to devise and install universal standards for the digitalisation of inclusive and sustainable value chains to ensure that data and technology are protected and nurtured in order to deliver the benefits of the 4IR to everyone, and not leaving anyone behind.
The session also covered a series of critical topics including; the impacts of increasing digitalised value chains across developed and developing countries, the creation of ’intelligent value chains’ to enable the exchange of data and information across borders and the risks and challenges that emerge as a result of 4IR technologies.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the culmination of the rise of connectivity, as digital technologies, data and applications come together to improve manufacturing operations and enhance the quality of manufactured products. As such, digitalisation is altering the global distribution and organisation of production and value chains. However, as much as advanced technology can provide solutions to particular issues, or help to improve processes, the rapid pace of change also presents major challenges in regulating the various facets of progress in this area and, unsurprisingly, regulatory systems are struggling to keep up with the pace of change driven by digitalisation.
Mr. Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, Director, Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); “The rapid pace of technological transformation bears exceptional opportunities that will change our world, but it is important that we do not leave anyone behind in this paradigm shift. The application of standards is one important step towards ensuring that the new industrial revolution results in global prosperity for all.”
In addition to difficulty in regulating such rapid change, there is also a clear disparity in the adoption of 4IR technology between countries, particularly between developed and developing countries. This divide has implications for countries and their ability to participate in Global Value Chains and raises the question of how to overcome such barriers to ensure inclusivity.
Commenting on the session, Badr Al Olama, Head of the Organising Committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS), said: “"The emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing the world as we know it, but without proper regulation, guidance or frameworks, these technologies can also lead to new risks and barriers. More importantly, without clear standards, the far-reaching benefits of interconnectivity could either be lost, or not reach all those who wish to participate.
"Today's discussion focused on the importance of agreeing that there is a need for globally-recognised standards that protect the digitalisation of value chains. Ensuring inclusive trade in a digital world is a critical topic, and in my opinion, one that will determine the success of the digital revolution."
The topics discussed during the luncheon session will form the main themes for the next edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit in 2020 which will take place from 20-21 April, alongside Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial technology tradeshow, in Germany.
As the world’s first cross-industry platform, The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit unites manufacturers, governments and NGOs, technologists, and investors in a mission to harness the 4IR’s transformation of manufacturing to enable the regeneration of the global economy. The third edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit aims to inspire discussion and agreement on a strategic pathway in order to contribute to promoting sustainable industrial development through innovation and the adoption of 4IR technologies on a global scale.
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