Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

24 April 2014

Secretary-General's message to Conference on the Knowledge-based Economy and its Role in National Development [delivered by Dr. Ibrahim Elziq, Resident Representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Resident Coordinator ad interim in Saudi Arabia

I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this Conference on the Knowledge-based Economy and its Role in National Development.

I applaud the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its achievements in this field, particularly its success in using information and communications technology (ICT) tools to facilitate the delivery of services. The United Nations stands ready to assist in the overall process of building a knowledge-based society and economy in the country that benefits all people. Our aim is to foster the most efficient use of information, knowledge, data, communications and best practices. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could also serve as a valuable knowledge hub to promote dialogue on substantive issues and international initiatives among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

All regions and countries can benefit from progress toward a knowledge-based economy, which does not depend heavily on material resources, places less of a burden on ecosystems and is more sustainable than other economic models. By shifting to a knowledge-based economy, societies can move from the age of scarcity to the age of abundance. Knowledge does not deplete with use but rather increases as it is shared among people. Through technological innovation, we can help usher in a more sustainable future.

To generate progress, countries must invest in education, science and technology. I hope that your Conference will explore ways to set the stage for leveraging the value of the knowledge-based economy to promote development in Saudi Arabia, across the region and around the world.

In this spirit, I wish you great success.