“THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD: GREEN & SMART” – HONORARY LECTURE BY H.E. MADHAV KUMAR NEPAL, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF NEPAL

The Future of the World: Green & Smart
Madhab Kumar Nepal,
Former Prime Minister of Nepal

1. Background and Situation

 This speech of mine will generally focus on the roadmap ensuring the future of the World People by way of preserving the greenness in the nature and socio-economic life of the citizenry through use of harmless innovative digital technology and production including distribution, and consumption of goods and services inclusive of health, education as well as cultural development and governance with reference to the knowledge economy.
As one of the basic tenets of human life, we all desire to have our future safer, sustainable, happier and prosperous, though nations have their own different and specific ambitions and understandings about development. I view that the development is not merely an affair of building infrastructures and heavy projects as well as launching bigger social programs. In my observation, the development is primarily concerned with the need of realizing people’s expectations of happiness, both materialistically and emotionally. The endeavors of development, in this context, can be defined as realization of positive changes in lives and living standard by persons. Such a kind of development flavors happiness in society as well. In this sense, the key and center point of the development are the people themselves; whereas the foundation of the development is land and other natural resources, basically the water. On the other hand, the way of development is investment, production and rational distribution based on innovative and advanced technology; expected performance is sustainable, stable and broader growth and finally, desired result is realizing happiness and pleasures by all citizens or every section of the society.
In our time, particularly in recent days, the people of both developed and developing countries seem unable to realize those expectations or feelings. Advanced countries developed enormous infrastructures and are using sophisticated technology. Some of them have achieved high level of growth and generated billionaires in high number too. However, it is spectacular from their models of development that the understanding and scope of the economics is roaming around the monetary value; it is understood only as a means of production and way of treating world as a marketplace focusing on the flow of money; it is obviously not directed towards the rational use and preservation of natural resources. Neither, it is associated with wellbeing of the people; the attributes of happiness and smartness in lives of the people are suffering setbacks.
Viewing in this ground reality, a vital question arises. How can we keep this world safe for present as well as future generation? To build an opinion about this question and explore a reasonable answer concerning the roadmap of safer future of the world, we should find causes, effects and impacts as well as measures to correct the setbacks. So, we need to observe the overall environment, storm our brain with new ideas, and analyze critically the socio-economic-environmental, scientific and cultural situation, including our past efforts, degree of the success of performance and results, feeling and realization of people, especially that of new generation about that performance and result.

2. Observation of Causes and Effects

In course of f observation and understanding, we can find in the past, in the name of development and promotion of economy, we have achieved many as well as have lost enough. In achievement side, we initiated open market and competitive policy by motivating the world towards the action of accumulating wealth in terms of money, developed new technologies, produced varieties of goods and service, learnt about the new patterns of consumption of products, developed infrastructures and became successful to narrow down the world into one village driven by modern technology. But in the name of development we went far from the nature and greenness, polluted the ecology and over absorbed the natural resources. In many cities, the level of air pollution has crossed the level of normal standard. In some extent, we extended the gap between the ‘haves and haves not.’ In the name of industrial revolution, we provided the people with smoke ridden cities, polluted rivers and destroyed wild lives in the forests. We produced enormous quantity of junk and non-organic foods causing harms to the human health. We made the people rich with money l but with less of humanity. We made them less sensitive to the importance of nature. Increment in security threat, creating hurdle in maintenance of peace among the people, country and community, occurred another problem to face. Some countries got benefit from war economy but many people lost their live and lost their happiness.
The earth started overheating, even within the frontiers of developed countries. France, Australia and Japan are spectacular examples of this problem. In these days, new types of diseases and illness are appearing relentless. The insects causing diseases like mosquitoes are proliferating with greater resistance and are surviving in relatively cold places too and the tropical trees and plants are climbing the mountain comparatively in high altitude area. In rural areas and farm lands of the developing countries like Nepal, all kinds of production friendly insects and organisms are rapidly disappearing. Vultures and lizards, frogs, sparrows that eat the harmful insects have come to the state of extinction. The population of snakes is recorded lower-down and their existence is vital for to absorb toxic air. Virus, bacteria and germs are being more active to destroy the lives of plants and animals, the most disastrously the human life.
The food production is not safe for normal life as we desired. The numbers of people who suffered and lost the life by catastrophic diseases are increasing. Still around 70 million people are living under poverty line and struggling for food, clothing, shelters as well as basic health care and education facilities. Thus, the World Climate has changed its course of action and coverage; the impact of climate changes can be seen by season and region. It has changed the course of nature and life of people. Impact can be seen in the form of droughts or floods and change in the quality of foods and daily life of people, animal and plants as well. Non-industrialized countries and people who live in rural and far-flung areas are also getting punishment for that unwanted action which is not a result of their activities. My country Nepal itself is suffering from this kind of problem as well.

3. Burning Event and Examples and Initiation for Measures

As a part of the evidence of cause, effect, impact and effort of measures, I would like to mention here some associated incidents, just for instance. In few years back, in China, when the air pollution level of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou cities and their periphery crossed the level of national average as well as normal standard and proved severe to human lives, the Chinese Government declared the Air Quality Action Plan to maintain the industrial emission in standard level and initiated to implement it; shut down the older and out dated steel plans, restricted diesel trucks, closed brick and aluminum factories and banned the coal in household use and initiated to use the electricity and gas heating in household level.
Recently, after the level of danger particles in air of Delhi crossed the safer line and standard limit and recorded as 10 times higher than the normal limit, the Supreme Court of India’s accused state governments of passing the buck on air pollution and failing to take action to tackle Delhi’s toxic smog. It made alert to take concrete action of measures rather than enjoy in gimmicks.
Next story is related to the mismanagement of forest and unplanned as well as haphazard development works creating series of problems affecting the nature and lives of people. Due to this type of project activities, in one side in some countries (basically in under developed and developing courtiers), particularly the acts of deforestation, conversion of land in barren area, soil erosion and flood and droughts have pushed the lives of people in trouble, thus making the daily life of people vulnerable. In the other side, in some parts of the world, the bushfire is becoming a threatening challenge. This well proved by instances of California, which generates overheating in summer. France and Australia are other examples. Unusual snowfall in USA and European countries is another side of the problem.
In order to correct this type of situation and humanize and normalize the development process as well as course of climate change, Governments, national and international organizations and communities have done many efforts also. But the result is less than what was desired for. The UN is involved in course of actions also. In 2000, it initiated the MDGs and achieved partial success or achievement. After the phase out of the MDGs’ implementation, it has initiated the road map of Sustainable Development Goals with 17 goals, 130 targets and 430 related and reference development indicators. My country Nepal has taken successful implementation of SDGs as one of the Policy Guidelines for ‘Planning and Development’ endeavors of the State at all levels of the Governments (Federal, Province and Local governments).

4. Maintaining Ecology and Welfare of Human Beings

In the given background, we can conclude that if we want to enhance welfare of human beings, we must enhance and promote welfare of the all creatures of the planet those contribute to the protection of the earth as a common heritage. If we limit ourselves only to the welfare of the human wellbeing, it would not become sustainable in result. So, we must work for shaving, preserving and protecting all actors of the planet in order to maintain ecology endowed by the universe or nature and, thereby, must develop the green and smart world.
In my view, the smart world means that the technology is developed and used in favor of humanity and making the ecology or nature friendly and sustainable. For this we need a system of governance that is apt to preserve the planet’s attributes. Similarly, the concept of the green world means a system where the green energy is used by replacing the conventional mineral energy and the earth is saved from the problem of overheating and the natural resources are used in favor of coming generations. The greenery gifted by the nature is to be saved and be made able to flavor happiness of all walk of lives. In addition, improving the overall living as well as business climate, attractiveness for start-ups, investors, businesses, and new and highly qualified talents as well as growing the economy in an innovative and sustainable way to increase competitiveness under a good governance system are the most important goals of the smart world. Under this concept, utilizing digital technology and intelligent approaches will lead to economic prosperity as well as healthy social environment, because they will generate stable and favorable conditions for human lives. The concept of smart economy is one of the foundations of the smart world that demands all actions be aimed at transforming and strengthening economy of a country.
The green world is based on green growth where it is ensured that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which world’s well-being rely on. So, if the green growth is associated with actions taken for achieving smartness of the development, then the future of the world can definitely be made organic in nature and safer in enjoyment.
Here, I would like to mention a view about converting the conventional economy into a smart economy. Since we need to strive for making the world smart, we need to think and act to make the economy smart, first. To convert the conventional economy into smart economy, the knowledge is the foundation as it promotes over all knowledge and skill of the people that converts the economy in wisdom based-economy.

5. Knowledge Economy and Smart World

In knowledge economy, basically the knowledge will be the key or center of the economic planning, implementation and result. The knowledge is created and blended with skill, and assessed, modified and used in production sectors. It is then traded in the national and international markets, where labor costs become progressively less important. It is a system that is based on intelligence or intellectual capital; it is not only the matter of financial issues, rather than the knowledge economy is the economy that concerns the brainpower together with utilization of other kinds of resource. The knowledge economy, therefore, is essentially based on the system of production, distribution and utilization of knowledge, skills and information as fundamental enablers of the economic growth and wealth creation. The modern and innovative education system is thus a precondition for economic development and productive employment. Major components of the knowledge are education and capacity development, dynamic information infrastructure, economic incentive and institutional arrangement and advance innovation system. So, if we want to drive our economy as knowledge economy, we should improve our education system.
In knowledge economy, the production of goods and services depend on knowledge-intensive activities; knowledge intensive activities are possible only there where the education system is supportive for having workers and firms both are committed to learn and increase their skills and expertise ever-time. So, if we aspire to convert our economy into knowledge economy and make it smart one, we should invest our resources on education, largely in qualitative way; convert the industry and management into knowledge industry and knowledge management. Since, knowledge prepares the qualified and competent citizens, they will be able to render economy prosperous, which will in turn make economy a means of happiness to every persons and households. Our ancient social science agreed with the philosophy of knowledge economy. It mentions “ ljBf bbflt ljgo+, ljgo+ oflt kfqtfd\ . kfqtfd\ wg dfKgf]lt, wgft\ wd{ ttM ;’vd\ .Æ
Therefore, if the human capital of the country is knowledgeable, skilled, technology-based and innovative, it opens the door of knowledge economy.
These days, the knowledge economy index (KEI) is taken as one of the indicators of development. The KEI is an aggregate index that represents the overall level of development of a country or region. Looking from this point of view, Sweden is regarded achieving the country with highest position—it has achieved a position by knowledge economy in the world (in 2012) marked by 9.43 score out of 10. Other countries to follow are Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, and Norway. The Scores of UK and USA are 8.76 and 8.77 respectively. In this index story, the Rank of my country Nepal is 134 among 148 countries, with score of 1.58. Among South Asian Countries, Bangladesh has lowest score in South Asia with 1.49. Sri-Lanka, India and Pakistan have secured 3.63, 3.06 and 2.45 respectively. In Asia, the score of China is 4.37 and Hong Kong has obtained 8.52, 0.26 higher to Singapore.

6. Green Economy and Smart World

Green economy is about using the available resources without handicapping the opportunities of the future generations. It is closely related with ecological economics and focused more politically applied. It aims to reduce environmental risks and ecological hazards and pinpoints to need of sustainable development, without degrading the environment in any cost. It knows that water and air are essentials of life and ecology. They have multiple uses; rest of natural resources support to maintain over all ecological balance and making the human life healthier, sustainable and happy. So, it advocates that the human being should use and exploit the resources faster than the planet can regenerate them. But in reality, people involved in businesses and governments have done serious harms to the planet. Hence, the business must acknowledge that the society needs to become a restorative force to overcome the issues of the past. Adjustment between people, profit and planet about the resources is vital because it contributes to the balance of ecology. The course of actions taken to correct the situation will help us to make the world green and smart in future.

7. Enlivening the Low-Income Countries to Fourth Industrial Revolution

On one side, many countries and many cities of the world are walking on the track of economy designed under the second industrial revolution focusing only on mass production and in other side advanced countries are stepping on fourth industrial revolution with the aim of driving the economy largely through converging it into digital, biological, and physical innovations. Fourth, the revolution is aimed to correct the process of production and consumption patterns used in previous revolution that contributed to damage the smartness of the nature. The Nobel Prize laureate Al Gore mentions regarding the emerging dynamics of world that the emergence of revolutionary new set of powerful biological and, biochemical, genetic, and materials science and technologies are enabling us to reconstitute the molecular design of all solid matter, reweave the fabric of life itself, alter the physical forms, traits, characteristics, and properties of plants, animals and peoples, seize active control over evolution, cross the ancient lines dividing species, and invent entirely new ones never imagined in nature. Further, he suggest to think about the crucial choice that confront the world as a result of emergence of a radically new relationship between the aggregate power of human civilization and earth’s ecological systems, including especially the most vulnerable-atmosphere and climate balance upon which the continued flourishing of humankind depends- and the beginning of a massive global transformation of energy, industrial, agricultural and construction technologies in order to reestablish a healthy and balance relationship between human civilization and future (The Future). Looking from these vantage points of development dynamics, it is seen that the low income and less advanced countries are less familiar. So, to make the world smart from this point of view the advanced economies should be ready and committed to lift up the countries those are lagging behind; since the achievement of advanced countries could not transform the world as smart, green and clean.

8. Acts of Measures and Way Forward

To correct the damaging situation and converting the world into a smart and green world, a road map should be perfectly precise and clear; free of confusions, ambiguities and complications of all sorts. To draw such type of roadmap with proposition of effective measures, I urge to concern authorities and stakeholders to pay attention to the following actions:
Bring about required changes to improve the conditions of overall education system of the low-income countries, and make it innovative, productive and competitive.
Invest in education, largely in qualitative way; converting the industry and management in knowledge industry and knowledge management; adjust activities related to primary, secondary and tertiary sector in knowledge economy framework and identify the key components of knowledge economy based on the socio economy of the country.
Reduce the use of conventional energy, based on fossil fuel including coal and enhance the scope of use of green and clean energy by quantity and quality significantly as well as replace the conventional energy and production technology through green energy system.
The concern of water is not only limited to national border & national interest; it is concerned to continental impact & global climate change. Therefore, the concept of use of water resources should be based on broader and global interest; interest of over all humankind and other living creatures, so:
● Understand, where water is available enough, adequate and with there exists prosperity and where prosperity there is smile. So love water, make it, dating with the people. Speed up the flow of water scientifically that creates the power for the use of life and minimizes the destructing capacity; since unnecessary speed-up creates destruction.
● Slowdown of the speed of water (in countries like Nepal where the rivers originated from glacier/snow lands and the water leaves the boarder of country within 24 hours) through development of various green growth based sustainable projects and preservation of conventional Simasr and Ramsar (Wetlands and waterfowl habitats) and developing new infrastructure of healthy and multiple use of water resource.
Provide adequate space for innovation in government plan in proper collaboration with private sector and community. Use artificial intelligence (IA) in overall area of economy from research and production to marketing and consuming as well as social works.
Develop effective an innovative system with a strong network of institutions and developing effective governance mechanisms and maintain balance between the incentives and controls.
Review and assessment of the labor force of the country, identify the issues and potentials including demographic dividend and use the opportunity benefit and integrate the labor force with knowledge economy.
Identify the options for retaining the labor force within the country with support of components of knowledge-based economy; basically education, innovation, information, digital economy and economic incentives.
Stop on war financing and leave the action of double standard, some war based economies are doing such work
Work hand to hand with developing and underdeveloped countries to uplift them with fourth stage of industrial revolution to make the revolution and its result sustained and to broaden and enrich the happiness of the world people.
Use human, water and other mineral resources including soil in coordinative and rationale way, keeping the human resources in front with optimum use of digital technology.

9. Conclusion

Happiness is the desire of every person in the world. It depends on the level and quality of development, which is, in turn, is realization of the positive change by the people in their lives through enhancing the condition of living standard. Happiness of people is a precondition for overall prosperity in the society. Only green, sustainable as well as broader growth and smart economy can preserve the future of the world through providing the people with such type of feeling.

Development depends on adequacy and sustainable use of natural resources. None of creatures including humankind can live without water, air and sun rays. So the acts of protection, preservation and use of water and air are inevitable for the longer and healthy life. The use of fossil fuel and haphazard urbanization as well as traditional manufacturing process is rapidly destroying ambience of water and air quality and blocking the path of sun rays to the earth.

The world economic activities are massively based on conventional petroleum products. The world political economy in some extent is depending on war and weapons that has looted the happiness of many people in the world. In this situation, the fundamental need of this world in this time is the promotion of smart and green world. Only development affairs conducted closely with nature, human capital, digital technology and innovation, governance and societal values can play the role to make the future of the world ‘green and smart.’

End.

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