Faced with issues related to climate change and disaster resilience, countries have agreed to collectively respond to the challenges of climate change. In the 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact, more commonly referred to as COP26, countries have dedicated 2020-2030 as a decade for climate action and support with the goal of reducing emissions and capping the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. As countries have adapted their national policies to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they have also engaged in a gradual transition to “green” economies. As part of the green transition, countries are also exploring the shift to smarter production and consumption systems. As the cost–benefit ratio of renewable energy rises, green energy projects have multiplied.
However, developing countries still need to figure out how to reconcile the preservation of markets and jobs with their commitment to international agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement (2015), and COP26. Despite the growing impact of climate change, there is still insufficient support from governments and businesses for the necessary energy transition: over 80 percent of global energy production was based on coal, oil, and gas in 2018 (UNESCO 2022).
In parallel with the green transition, countries have worked toward adopting digital technology, such as the digitalization of services and payment systems, to improve service delivery, support businesses, and combat corruption and tax evasion. Countries have implemented policies fostering the emergence of a digital economy, including smart manufacturing, fintech, e-health services like telemedicine and smart agriculture. The world has begun adopting advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, and robotics, big data, Internet of Things, and blockchain technology, which are converging with nanotechnology, biotechnology, and cognitive sciences to form the bedrock of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (also known as Industry 4.0).
Indeed, countries of all income levels are engaged in this twin transition or dual transformation consisting of green transition and digitalization. For countries bearing the brunt of climate change, science, technology, and innovation offer hope of greater resilience by presenting new ways to adapt and reduce the negative impact of destructive storms, fires, droughts, and other calamities.
The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 recognizes the environmental forces and digital trends shaping the future of the Philippines. To this end, the underlying theme of “transformation” has been adopted by the PDP. Strategies related to digitalization and green transition of production sectors have been identified in the various chapters of the PDP.
The 9th Annual Public Policy Conference (APPC) to be held on September 19, 2023 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm at the AIM Conference Center, Makati City looks at specific issues among the many remaining issues related to the twin transition: human capital development in the dual transition, reducing the disruptions to trade and industry, and opportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence in a world of dual transformation.
With these themes, the APPC is divided into four plenary sessions featuring experts and champions in digital transformation and green transition. Below are the details of each session:
This session aims to provide an understanding of how digital technology and green transition are interlinked, what characterize this dual transition, and how the global economy is changing to manage such transformation.
The session will feature a presentation by a Keynote Speaker and a panel discussion with experts from the government and private sector.
The world of work is always at the front and center of major developments, shifting and evolving to adapt to global trends. This has been observed since the first industrial revolution and other major disruptions that followed. Extensive ICT developments in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and robotics raised concerns for the future of work, including workers’ displacement and replacement and job loss.
Meanwhile, the shift toward low-carbon, environment-friendly economic growth resulted in identifying green sectors, and apprehensions related to skills and employment have been noted. Thus, a discourse on promoting and protecting the country’s human capital in the age of dual transition is crucial. This session will feature a panel discussion of experts from the academe, multilateral organizations, the private sector, and the government to tackle the following questions:
Despite the Philippines being poised to take advantage of digitalization, there is room to improve its readiness to face the green transition. The country’s digital services trade proved resilient amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with ICT services decreasing by only 1.6 percent and digitally deliverable services growing by 0.2 percent. Having a relatively open digital trade environment, the Philippines could pursue various policies on data, intellectual property, and services to facilitate its digital trade integration in the Asia-Pacific region.
However, there is room for improvement in implementing and coordinating strategies for green transition. The Philippines has passed into law Republic Act 11898, the Extended Producer Responsibility Act of 2022, which obliges companies to ensure proper and effective recovery, treatment, recycling, or disposal of their products after these have been sold to the consumers. The impact of this policy and other green transition strategies on the production sector remains to be seen, but it is important to continue the discussion on the support needed by industries in their dual transformation.
This session will feature a panel discussion with experts from the academe, multilateral organizations, the private sector, and the government to tackle the following questions:
Given the current developments in artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platforms and technologies, automation is no longer confined to agriculture and industry. AI has also become more efficient in performing complex tasks in some services sectors, such as finance, medicine, research, and teaching. Advances in AI technology have progressed significantly in just a short span of time.
However, while there are more people working on improving AI capabilities, there is less work on controls to balance the risks of AI. AI and other new technologies risk widening the gap between rich and poor countries by shifting more investment to advanced economies where automation is already established. AI would also deepen inequality, with the massive productivity gain from its deployment going to the benefit of the rich and not workers.
Other downside risks have also been raised by global leaders, expressing concern about the existential threat to the survival of humans that could result from rapid advances in generative AI, unconstrained national and international rules, and ethical norms governing research, development, and use of AI.
This session will feature presentations and a panel discussion from selected experts to tackle the following questions:
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