Discorso - Innovation and Climate Change

Kiev, 29.10.2021 - Speech by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, Vice President of the Federal Council and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA delivered on the occasion of Innovation Day at Unit.City. Check against delivery.

HonourableExecutive Director of the European Business Association
HonourableCEO of Unit.City
Distinguished guests, dear ladies and gentlemen

It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you here to Ukraine's first innovationpark – Unit.City. I am delighted to open today's innovation day. An innovation day dedicated to climate change – a topic relevant to every single one of us: states, corporations and individuals alike.

A global challenge to humanity that we can only tackleby working together. If Covidhas shown us anything, it is thattoday's challenges do not stop at national borders. This is just as true for a pandemic as it is for the challenges posed by climate change – global challenges require global solutions. They require international cooperation as much as technological innovation.

They also require a new cooperative world governance on science and technology that can harness technological advances for inclusive development, allowing people around the world – not just in rich countries – to reap the social and economic benefits.

Without it, states might be at risk of engaging in a race forinnovation driven by motives of gaining power and influence. Some even fear a new Cold War over science and technology. To avoid such a confrontational scenario and because nobody can face global issues alone, we should rather identify how we can adapt, evolve and respond together to the challenges and opportunities of our time – bridges should not only be built at the political but also at the scientific level.

How such science-based cooperation at state level can look was something demonstrated by Ukraine and Switzerland in the context of the current pandemic. In March 2020, Ukraine and Switzerland jointly launched a tech-for-good-project for the development of innovative portable Ambu-bag lung ventilators.

As a contribution to fighting the pandemic, the idea was not commercially but socially motivated. Its goal: to make this innovative respiratory device available at an affordable price to hospitals and dispensaries in weaker economic regions, where the demand for respiratory devices is high, but supply remains scarce because of the limited offer on the market and of the high costs per unit.

I strongly believe that such investments in new technologies and an inclusive society will not only benefit the recipient countries, but also the donor nations as well. Both Ukraine and Switzerland discovered early on that investing in research and development of new technologies contributes significantly to welfare and prosperity.

Especially in the area ofclimate change, new economic opportunities are opening up fast.By developing and sharing innovative clean-tech solutions, our countries can contribute to a more sustainable world while opening up new market niches for our industries.

This is an approach that Switzerland has been following consistently for many years now. In 1983, Switzerland was the first European country to adopt a comprehensive Law on Environmental Protection. Since then our country has also been active at the international level by launching initiatives in the areas of environmentally friendly waste management, smart cities, and sustainable agriculture – to cite just a few examples.
It is precisely energy-intensive sectors such as agriculture, forestry and water management that currently have some of the greatest potential. Here, it is already possible to make a significant contribution to the reduction of carbon levels and to do so at an affordable cost.

However, to be efficient in fighting climate change, countries must implement measures for de-carbonisationand greening in all sectors of their economy. These measures should derive from state-run programmes that have a national impact, also through stimulation of relevant policies and investments at the local level.

Indeed, dialogue and cooperation on climate change must not only be strengthened internationally between different countries, but also internally, in all sectors of the economy, between the central authoritieson the one hand and local authorities, scientific experts, business and civil society representatives on the other hand.

This inclusive approach must be uppermost in our minds when designing climate change policies and strategies, as well as when addressing concrete issues in this domain. I highly support initiatives like today’s EBA event in Kyiv. It is vital that different actors in the economy reflect on how they can develop their business while doing their part to combat climate change, by becoming agents of change through clean-tech innovations.

I am confident that if we can get all the actors from politics, business, science and civil society together and talk the same language, follow the same goal, we can achieve impactful results for the protectionof our planet and at the same time help to fight poverty worldwide – sustainable development and prosperity go hand in hand, ifwe work hand in hand.

Let us use the great potential that liesin the variety of our know-how, skills and creativity through cooperation in clean-tech and science diplomacy.

For those among you who run a business or have an executive position in a company, I encourage you to lead your company towards becoming an innovative clean-tech oriented economic actor. Such a step is a responsible and profitable investment, for the climate, for society and for your own business!

Thank you.

Indirizzo cui rivolgere domande

Comunicazione DFAE
Palazzo federale ovest
CH-3003 Berna
Tel. Servizio di comunicazione: +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Servizio stampa: +41 58 460 55 55
E-Mail: kommunikation@eda.admin.ch
Twitter: @EDA_DFAE

Pubblicato da

Dipartimento federale degli affari esteri