Digitalization and Sustainability: How is Digital Finance affecting the sustainable development arena?
It has become increasingly apparent that leaders at the local and subnational level must think outside the box in order to match the results of past performance and simultaneously adapt to accelerating changes. From the Covid-19 global pandemic to social justice issues relating to the climate crisis, decision makers are under increasing pressure to respond quickly and effectively to challenges whilst proactively mitigating against the consequences.
This is where digitization and digital innovation enter the scene.
Digitalization and digital innovation are transforming the current landscape of sustainability and climate action, and have the potential to create even more change in the coming years. Meaning the integration of digital technologies into everyday life to change the way all of us interact and live, digitalization should work hand in hand with sustainability and be leveraged in multiple sectors.
What does this mean in practice? An increase in data facilitates increased precision for reporting and monitoring our current situation, and accurately predicting future trajectories so leaders can make more informed decisions at the local level. Digital innovation can also encourage behavior change via micro-rewards enabled through Blockchain technology. In addition, collecting data from communities through a bottom-up approach enhances the citizen-science interface and provides valuable information that reflects the real time functioning of a city.
Against this backdrop, Pourya Salehi presents the impacts of digital innovation on the domain of finance. We have entered an era of exciting new funding mechanisms, which is a catalyst for mobilizing other essential resources needed for climate action. As said by the UN Secretary General, “digital technologies which are revolutionizing financial markets can be a game changer in reaching our shared objectives”. Pourya’s presentation explores citizen-centric financial systems and examines the benefits this has for both community members and local governments.
As the Senior Research Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat, Pourya has an educational background in urban planning and management, land management, Blockchain technology, and finance, along with a decade worth of experience in sustainable development gained from working at consultancies in addition to research institutes. Pourya was the lead of the organization in the development of ICLEI's Global Research Strategy in 2019; a strategic document that guides the organization’s research and innovation activities including project acquisition, while building partnerships with leading research and innovation partners across the globe. From this, Pourya has been leading the execution of the Global Research Strategy and coordinating it across ICLEI’s 20+ international offices.
In addition to managing, coordinating, and overseeing several research and innovation projects over the past years, Pourya is also an accomplished author on various knowledge products including a number of peer-reviewed publications on a wide range of topics. This experience has been instrumental in Pourya becoming one of the founding members of the Global Covenant of Mayors' Research & Innovation Technical Working Group (GCoM’s R+I TWG), in addition to other research and innovation related spaces such as the Scientific Steering Committee for UNCCD’s Global Land Outlook (GLO) 2.0, and a member of Partners' Network Organizing Committee for the renowned Innovate4Cities Conference which was co-organized by UN-Habitat and GCoM and co-sponsored by the IPCC to build on the 2018 Edmonton Cities and Climate Change Science Conference and the resulting Global Research and Action Agenda (GRAA). He is also one of the co-authors of the Updated Global Research and Action Agenda for Cities on Cities and Climate Change Science. More recently, the Strategic Advisory Committee of the Global Covenant of Mayors appointed Pourya as the Global Co-Chair of GCoM's Research & Innovation Technical Working Group which, along with other responsibilities, guides and oversees the implementation of GCoM's Innovate4Cities initiative.