Harnessing the full potential of science and technology for the benefit of all people, everywhere, is the focus of a two-day virtual meeting convened by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which opened on Tuesday.
The Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum) aims to identify gaps and promote partnerships in efforts to achieve a greener world by 2030.
In remarks to the forum, the UN Secretary-General emphasized how the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of science, technology and innovation for human well-being and survival, as well as the need for greater global cooperation.
His statement was delivered by Maria Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Pandemic sparks innovations
Addressing the pandemic, the UN chief said not only was a vaccine developed in record time, but the crisis has also increased innovation in medicines and digital communications technologies.
At the same time, scientific discovery and collaborations have accelerated and new ways of delivering services have proliferated.
The Secretary-General said these advances hold promise for collective challenges beyond the pandemic, including in limiting climate disruption, reducing inequalities and “ending our war on nature”.
Billions still excluded
However, he noted that billions of people worldwide still remain largely excluded from the benefits of the information and technology revolution, and the pandemic has only exacerbated existing technology divides.
“It is essential that we work together — across borders, sectors and disciplines — to make science and technology work for everyone”, his statement said.
“Multi-stakeholder cooperation will continue to be the key, helping us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, address climate change, end the biodiversity and pollution crises and rise to our other common challenges.”
Technology for development
The STI Forum, now in its sixth year, is part of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism, an online platform which supports countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by their 2030 deadline.
Through the platform, UN entities, Member States, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community and other stakeholders share information, experiences, best practices and policy advice.
Last June, the Secretary-General also launched a Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. Its eight objectives include achieving universal connectivity by 2030 as roughly half the world’s population, or three billion people, most of them women, do not have access to the Internet.