Over 1000 participants, representing policymakers, technology researchers, business and industry captains, and civil society joined the G-STIC 2017 conference and its thematic sessions. To maximize the impact of the G-STIC conference results, the degree of support from participants for key findings and conclusions has been vital. A team of facilitators therefore supported the conference participants throughout each of the thematic sessions to ensure that everybody was involved in the fine-tuning of the thematic key findings described below.
Agroecology for sustainable food systems
A paradigmatic shift is needed from input-intensive crop monoculture and industrial-scale animal feedlots towards more resilient and diversified agroecological practices. G-STIC provided evidence that such diversified agroecological systems can work in delivering nutrition and secure livelihoods, in the places where needed most and to people who need these most.
Industry 4.0 provides the technological driver for circular innovation, while circular economy is considered a driver for envisioning the industrial framework in 2030. We can’t have a circular economy without the 4th industrial revolution - we can’t have socially useful and doable transitions to more sustainable economic development models without advancing the circular economy.
G-STIC calls for an energy access agenda that is driven by decentralized systems that are affordable, appropriate, and allow for bottom-up distribution. Ownership of customers in the energy positive communities transition is essential in the energy access debate.
The digital revolution is providing a huge potential to manage our water resources more efficiently. The Smart Water session illustrated how Instrumentation, Control and Automation (ICA) technologies, combined with information derived from remote sensing, are already revolutionizing how water resources are managed. Three components are required to move from digital technology to smart solutions: (1) the creation of data platforms, (2) the availability of open data, and (3) citizen participation.
A systemic and integrated approach is needed, in which design, construction, operation and use come together, with ICTs and the Internet of Things as major enablers. Much of the needed technology already exists but moving forward will require new voluntary and mandatory measures and more demonstration projects that will create the much needed public and political awareness.
A mere technological shift without changes in mobility behaviour is insufficient, and the importance of urban planning, fuel efficiency, and prioritising system electrification was underscored. Meanwhile managing the growth of the global vehicle fleet along with efforts to reduce the carbon intensity of the fleet are vital intervention.
There is a need to not think of waste water as a burden, but rather as a provider of energy, nutrients and clean water for irrigation and human use. Again, much of the needed technology exists, and there is an immediate need for more demonstration efforts and new business models to ensure economic viability.
ICTs are a key technology enabler for achieving the SDGs and increasingly interact with many different sectors of society, such as health, education, mobility, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, water, climate, cities, etc. This holds a large number of innovation opportunities for smart solutions contributing to the achievement the SDGs.
These thematic key findings, as well as the other major messages emerging from the G-STIC 1017 conference, have been documented in the Chairperson Summary.
Along with the established communities of practitioners, this summary provides an excellent starting point to ensure that the messages of G-STIC 2017 are heard by policymakers and industry leaders alike, and to prepare G-STIC 2018.