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Rejuvenating the planet: How can Sweden and India collaborate for a sustainable future?


  • H.E. Tanmaya Lal, Ambassador of India to Sweden & Latvia

  • Nandan Nilekani, Co-Founder & Chairman, Infosys Technologies

  • Fredrik Hörstedt, Director, Vinnova

  • Owe Ronström, Professor Emeritus, Uppsala University

  • Rupali Mehra, Founder, Content People AB

Key Insights

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Solutions through global collaborations

To quote Ambassador H.E. Tanmaya Lal, “Research and innovation are the key themes of engagement between India and Sweden, and sustainability lies at the centre of it with sectors such as clean technology, smart grids, circular economy, life sciences, public health, energy efficiency. Economies are linked, public health is linked, securities are linked. When you know all of these are linked, you cannot have silos of success. You know the solution has to be total, and there has to be a global solution. So, all stakeholders have to collaborate, otherwise the system or solution will fail.  This exemplifies that the world is one family.”

Digital Public Goods and digital technology as a pathway for economic growth

“Digital Public goods is a very important strategic initiative for all nations to provide equitable societies as well as economic growth for all its citizens. Digital public goods such as the Adhaar and UPI are transformational and essential for countries to follow in a time when societies are becoming increasingly digital in our economy and lives. This is extremely relevant in India because a lot of people here do not have a birth certificate, and hence in need of a digital ID to travel and get work. The provision of a KYC opens up a large variety of financial services, products and resources such as banking, insurance, pensions, etc. to them, and also allows the government to easily reach millions of people that were previously unbanked and transfer money into their accounts, especially during events such as the pandemic.”

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Stories and visions to guide the proactive and reactive struggle against the climate crisis

“The climate crisis is both a reactive struggle to reduce the crisis, but also a proactive struggle for a post fossil fuel society. There is an education gap here because the climate crisis is still not threatening enough to most people's daily lives, and it is difficult to imagine a post-fossil life that is attractive and desirable. What we need are stories and visions that show us the complexities and diversities of a future we must strive for; instead of forecasts of how the future will be, we need visions and stories of how it can be, and how we would want it to be.”

Co-dependence and need for collaborations between India and Sweden

“The Swedish Welfare Model builds on trade surplus and export of services and goods, so if trade and export stop, Sweden stops. Then, they lose employment, tax revenues, welfare and the economic surplus. But, if innovation and research stop, then trade and export stops leading to the same circle. Vinnova is focusing on 5 societal challenges: Sustainable Industry, Food Systems, Mobility, Precision Health, and Built Environment.  These challenges are essential when talking about the thing that brings the world together as one.”

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Multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to collarborations

In their concluding speech, Professor Owe Ronström & Dr. Swaminathan Ramanathan spoke about the ‘open and free commons’ such as education, civil rights, equity welfare as a prerequisite to sustainability in addition to collaborations and engagements. They further speak about technology as a resource for these commons, and the need for a space to co-create, a space that is multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary in nature where different people can gather to discuss ideas.

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