Transition to a New Level
According to experts from different fields of activity, our world is in the process of serious transformation today. The pandemic and social and economic crisis have made their adjustments to the functioning of all spheres of society. Veronika Peshkova, UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador, shared her expert opinion on the positive aspects of that transformation.
Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
As an international expert, Ms. Peshkova pays much attention to the development of women’s entrepreneurship initiatives. Her cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization began with that very agenda. Today, Veronika Peshkova is a UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador. Many international projects are being carried out under her leadership and supervision.
Journalists of the Global Women Media interviewed Veronika Peshkova and found out how the economic and social situation in the world has changed during the pandemic, how the current situation has influenced cooperation among countries, and what opportunities have opened up for women entrepreneurs during the self-isolation period.
– What do you think our world will be like in the coming years? Do you agree that it ‘will never be the same again’?
– In my opinion, the pandemic has acted as a kind of catalyst for what the world calls the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. It other words, it was a gas pedal of digitalisation and automation in all spheres of society’s life. It is likely that if our planet had not faced such a global problem, the process would have taken much more time. What conclusion can we make? Digital technology has literally burst into our lives. During the self-isolation, it became almost impossible to work and interact with other people without it.
There is an opinion that any automation is a threat to existing jobs. Yes, it is. However, people should understand that automation is a huge opportunity for humanity to move to a new level at the same time.
Thanks to digitalisation, people can save time and effort and create new projects, services, and expand the boundaries of their business.
How can our world change? I believe that something similar can happen to it as when electricity appeared or when computer technologies became available to the public. Many people were also worried that human labour would be replaced by machine labour everywhere. That was partially true, but the usual order was replaced by an even larger industry that offered the society many new jobs: programmers, computer administrators, and information security specialists. Those professions required a higher qualification but also made it possible for the world to take a huge step forward. It seems to me, something similar is happening to us today.
– Do today’s problems oblige people to reconsider their inner guidelines, to learn to interact with others in a new way, and to develop intercultural dialogues in a different way?
– No matter what, I strongly believe that people will always remain human beings and human relations will always be first and foremost human-focused. Even if we turn to history or classical literature, we will see that many stories are very similar to what is happening in today’s life. The level of progress is growing. New technologies appear but people remain the same.
As for international relations, the process of accelerated digitalisation during the pandemic made it possible to expand interaction among countries. While implementing international projects, my colleagues and I thought that the world seemed to become smaller, thus allowing people to get closer to one another.
Many events were shifted to online mode because of those circumstances. That turned out to be very convenient. On the one hand, it became easier to invite speakers from different countries to international forums and conferences because they did not need to spend time on flights. On the other hand, more people could get useful information from the forum because, unlike real meetings, the number of seats during the online conference is not limited to physical space.
Of course, it will never be possible to replace live communication with anything. Emotions and atmosphere are important components of forums, business meetings, and conferences. However, I believe that we managed to take a step forward in terms of convenience of information transfer during the pandemic.
– What projects were the most significant for you at that time?
– I must say that the pandemic changed my life a lot. It is even difficult for me to remember the last time I spent such a long period of time in one country. Nevertheless, self-isolation did not become an obstacle for carrying out international projects.
Now we are entering the final stage of coordination of the project between UNIDO and the Republic of Bashkortostan on the development of creative clusters. To be more precise, this will be the development of a cluster of folk arts and crafts. Our goal is to make the enterprises of that sector included in international value chains.
UNIDO already has successful experience in implementing such projects in Armenia, Tajikistan, Cuba, countries of the Middle East, and North Africa. We hope that this will be a bright and successful experience for Russia as well.
We are planning to fulfil one more project jointly with our colleagues from Bahrain and Italy. We are currently negotiating the launch of a programme designed to support women’s entrepreneurial initiatives in the industry. In Russia, our project was named Go Out And Do It. The first conference within the programme will be held in September already. It was initiated by the UNIDO office in Bahrain.
As you can see, international cooperation during the pandemic not only continued but also kept thriving and strengthening.
– As an expert who works a lot with entrepreneurs, what do you think business representatives can do today to preserve peace and develop the world?
– First of all, they can think about what sustainable development is and how particular businesses can contribute to that global process.
For example, many companies now focus on solving environmental problems. Recycling is one of the trends of our time. At the same time, in my opinion, it is important to understand that environmental issues are relevant not only at the product recycling stage but also at the stage of industrial design development.
As soon as people start thinking over the idea of a project, they should understand at once how the future product will affect the world.
Many problems, including environmental ones, could have been avoided if everyone had thought about sustainable development from the very early stage of their projects.
– What is the role of women in preserving peace today?
– Women always think a lot about people, no matter what field they are engaged in. It is women who are involved in the development of most social and charitable projects. In addition, as managers and employees, they often bring communicative flexibility to the company. As keepers of the family hearth, they preserve coherence and harmony in the family. That is why their role is essential today.
In the period of pandemic and crisis, many people experience stress associated with a sense of uncertainty. In many respects, women are the stabilizers in their families, teams, and society as a whole.
Returning to the topic of digitalisation, I would like to note the opportunities that exist for women today. The creative industry is the most rapidly developing one nowadays. I must say, women are no less competitive than men in this industry. The process of digitalisation and automation is in full swing today and women have a very good opportunity to join the trend.
Women control 80% of world consumption making purchases for not only themselves but also their families. That is why it is very important that they participate in the formation of the world’s infrastructure.
I sincerely believe that today we have many additional opportunities for development and transition to a new level. I advise every woman not to miss this moment and to think in what field of activity she wants to fulfil her potential and how she can use today’s conditions to discover new prospect.
Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov