Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2016 World Summit Awards on Social Innovation in Singapore on June 29, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi urged world leaders, entrepreneurs and youth activists to harness the power of digital innovation to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and ensure lasting social change.
Alhendawi, who opened the three-day event taking place at the ParkRoyal Hotel Beachroad from June 29 to July 1, highlighted the critical role young people will play in driving social change thanks to the unique potential offered by digital innovation.
“Digital innovation is one of the biggest allies and enablers for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and young people will be critical drivers of that process,” Alhendawi said. “Young people all over the world,” the Youth Envoy continued, “are the most active users of information and communication technology, and we’ve seen how new technology has played a central role in young people’s rise to prominence on a global scale.”
The potential of digital innovation is not limited to younger generations, Alhendawi said. Today some of the most conservative estimates predict that the entire global population will be online within the next ten years. Others estimate it will be sooner – in five years. This projection begs the question of what else can be achieved in the next five, 10 or 15 years at the hands of digital innovation.