Tuesday, July 7 2020 | 45 minutes | 09:00 GMT Over the years, the manufacturing industry has been adapting to the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and the implementation of emerging technologies, which most sectors have viewed as a disruption to their normal processes. With no clear end in sight of the ongoing global pandemic, we are seeing a shift to a ‘new era’ of digital restoration. Manufacturers are leveraging 4IR more than ever before in an effort to restore their business activities and overcome unprecedented challenges. COVID-19 has forced the manufacturing sector to change at scale, from technology and trade, to skills, sustainability and global health. These market shifts are placing industrial companies at the forefront of exciting innovations – Smart homes, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, ‘circular’ manufacturing – which represent the future of our society and industry. Innovation, during times of struggle, remains the driving force behind the advancement of humanity and the acceleration of global good.
  • How is the current crisis helping to spur more innovation and advance digital technology in the long-term?
  • What will this new era of ‘digital restoration’ require, to help transfer knowledge, build capabilities and spread prosperity in developing and local economies in response to innovation, responsible consumption and production?
  • What is the role that the public sector and policymakers can play to enable the adoption of 4IR technologies for economic and social restoration?
  • With an ever-widening digital gap, will developing countries be able to navigate their way out of the pandemic successfully?
  • Will the UN system, donor and development agencies, and NGOs effectively provide aid to developed and developing countries in the post pandemic period? Does the UN need to restructure its systems to accelerate innovation and technology?