ÁSLAUG ARNA SIGURBJÖRNSDÓTTIR

Nýsköpunar og tækniþróunar í allri framþróun
Sótti þing Alþjóðaþingmannasambandsins í Genf í vikunni. Flutti þar ræðu um mikilvægi nýsköpunar og tækniþróunar í allri framþróun. Kom inná tengingu þeirra mála bæði við mennta- og jafnréttismál. Það var gaman að koma til Genfar sem skartaði enn fallegu sumarveðri og mikilvægt að standa þar með öðrum vestrænum ríkjum með lýðræði og mannréttindum. Hér má lesa ræðuna mína: Mrs President, dear colleagues. It is a great pleasure for me to say a few words about the political, economic and social situation in the world from the perspective of our very vital theme: Parliamentary leadership in promoting peace and development in the age of innovation and technological change. In recent years, technological innovations have had massive impact on how we communicate and connect with each other. And still there are clear signs that upcoming technological advancements will bring about even greater impact on our daily life. At the same time, we face new challenges like climate change, an ageing society and global migration, to name a few. It is clear to me that to meet these challenges innovation and technology will play key roles. In a changing world, parliaments should be at the forefront of considerations on new issues that can have a major impact on societies, such as artificial intelligence and the governance of the Internet. It is therefore extremely important to establish stronger connections between the world of science and national authorities, international organizations, entrepreneurs and other policy-makers. Not to mention the importance of ensuring that decisions and policies are informed by thoughtful discussions and scientific studies. In my view parliamentarians have an important role to play in this process. They can contribute by raising awareness in parliament of the importance of technology, innovation and education for society; by making sure that science is brought into public debates and decision-making and by considering the suitable regulation to be implemented to conduct technological innovation. (Innovation and education) For every society, to be able to ensure future economic growth, it is vital to find ways to diversify the economy through innovation, knowledge and technology. This calls for a strong education system and a robust research environment. Innovation and education are an essential part of Icelandic society. Together with research and technology, they boost economic growth, enhance quality of life and play a key role in creating a diverse employment sector. A coordinated approach towards technology and innovation developments supports a better cooperation between government, institutions and companies, moreover it has underpinned Iceland’s progress in all areas of life. In recent years the government of Iceland has stepped up its support to establish conditions where technology and innovation can flourish. And we are proud to be able to say that the increase in annual governmental funding since 2004 turns out to be approximately ten-fold. Apart from increased funding, the government has also taken steps to ensure a competitive regulatory environment for the innovation sector. The Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNIS) is a good example of governmental support for innovation in Iceland. It administers competitive funds in the fields of research, innovation, education and culture, as well as strategic research programmes. It also monitors resources and promotes public awareness. Furthermore, in the government’s agreement, emphasis is placed on innovation in all economic sectors and on increasing diversity in economic activity. (Innovation and gender equality) Dear colleagues, when it comes to innovation it is essential that both women and men face a level playing field. Being the youngest member of parliament in Iceland and a woman I want to stress the importance of encouraging young people – in particular young women – to pursue scientific and innovative studies (STEM studies). Furthermore, women should most definitely have equal opportunities to obtain senior positions in research institutions and technology sector. A true reconciliation and new solutions can never become a reality without gender equality, with unconditional inclusion of both men and women. I cannot emphasize enough the need for all sectors of society, including political parties and institutions to be involved in ensuring continued change in political representation. Women need to have access to decision making both in corporations and parliaments of the world. In Iceland we regard women’s empowerment and full participation at all levels as a fundamental issue. The path towards women’s liberation in my country has meant a lot of hard work for generations, but the advantage for the society is indisputable. The contribution of women to our economy has been invaluable, with more than 80% of women active in the labour market. Gender equality is a vital on our path towards a better and brighter world. Whether it be in relation to peace and security or technology and innovation, empowerment of women is vital to success. Thank you.