The Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Martin Ngoga, has urged legislators to harness the untapped value of technological innovations to build initiatives that abhor violence, enhance peace-building tools and support human security.
He was on Tuesday addressing the 139th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland where more than 1,000 lawmakers and Parliamentary staff from across the world are meeting to deliberate on issues of science, technology and innovation.
Ngoga also urged legislators to embrace technological innovation to maintain communication with their constituencies and to leverage liaison roles with governments and other stakeholders.
While highlighting the negative effects of technology and innovation, the Speaker noted that it was similarly vital and a responsibility of Parliaments to regulate the industry.
Ngoga said: “Today, technological revolution has enhanced communication and presents a phenomenal impact on the economy, society and environment since the days of mechanised production. It is equally recognised that technological revolution presents societal and economical challenges, resulting in loss of jobs occasioned by automation.”
Technological change, he added, exacerbates inequalities due to the disproportion in certain segments of the populations, a characteristic that poses ramifications for peace and security – the very core of our deliberations here today.
“We are challenged to orient our legislative strategy towards tapping positive change aided by technological innovations.”
Peace and insecurity
According to Ngoga, the costs of lack of peace and insecurity are critical.
He cited the 2018 global peace index by the Institute for Economics and Peace, saying that a world where tensions, conflicts and crises remain largely unresolved resulting in a gradual, sustained fall in peacefulness.
In 2017, he said, the economic impact of violence on the global economy was $14.76 trillion in purchasing power parity terms, equivalent to 12.4 per cent of the world’s economic activity.
He implored legislators to pay attention to the availability, efficacy and affordability of ICTs and to shun the risk of elitism associated with technological innovations.
The Speaker called for a legislative framework enabling youth to comprehend and embrace technology without being prone to manipulation that hampers peace and security initiatives.
The Assembly is covering multiple subjects including fake news, sexism and harassment in Parliaments, human rights, disarmament, counter-terrorism, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and migration.