- Published on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 22:55
KUALA LUMPUR: Poverty and inequality that drive conflict and violence may be tackled with solutions derived from science and technology, says the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah.
He noted there were existing and emerging technologies that could arrest or even reverse environmental degradation, reduce or eliminate exposure to disease, and contribute to raising the levels of human development across its various components.
He said renewable energy sources such as solar power, for example, could transform the lives of poor urban and rural dwellers if harnessed effectively, while innovative applications of mobile telephony, particularly payment mechanisms, were having immensely positive impacts.
“In these and multiple other ways, the application of science and technology can help build peace and stability,” said Sultan Nazrin in his keynote address at the International Conference on Science for Peace here yesterday.
Present among the audience at the conference organised by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) were Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau, his deputy Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah and ASM president Tan Sr Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali.
In his speech, Sultan Nazrin touched on the progress of science and technology and its links to the pursuit of political and military power, noting that scientific progress was greatly accelerated by the two world wars and the Cold War era.
He pointed out that scientific and technological progress could prove to be worthless or even counter-productive unless it was channelled effectively by its human inventors. He said that just as with nuclear power in Einstein’s day, the digital and other cutting-edge technologies of today had the potential to generate both good and bad outcomes.
“As cautioned by (United States) President Barack Obama in a recent address at Hiroshima, we must govern and regulate these technologies more effectively to ensure that they are used for positive purposes and not destructively, as in the past,” added the sultan.
He said in championing peace, it could not be business as usual.
“If we’re to ensure that these unprecedented science and technological advances…are harnessed to promote peace and development, we must transcend conventional boundaries and adopt a more collaborative and values-oriented approach to global governance and its challenges.”
This, Sultan Nazrin said, required transformative thinking, integrated planning and synergistic action.
“It requires exemplary, uncomprising leadership and for the whole spectrum of stakeholders to work together towards these goals,” he added.
With the theme, ‘More for Peace, Less for War’, the two-day conference until tomorrow provides a platform to faciliate discourse among relevant stakeholders on the role of science, technology and innovation in fostering global peace.