From poverty eradication to agriculture and food security, progress in STI can help deliver the SDGs
Speaking yesterday at the first multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged leaders to share their benefits with those who stand to gain most.
Mr. Ban told delegates, business leaders, and innovators at the event organized at UN Headquarters in New York:
“Over the next 15 years, progress in science, technology and innovation will be key to delivering on all the SDGs – from poverty eradication to agriculture and food security, to energy, to water and sanitation, and climate change,”
“Linking science, technology and innovation with progress in sustainable development at the ground level is the greatest challenge. That is the gap this Forum is expected to close. You have a critical mission to accomplish,” he underlined.
Convened by the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the two-day Forum aims “to ensure a life of dignity for all, with greater shared prosperity on a clean and healthy planet.”
“Innovation is embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals, together with advancing science and technology, as Goal 17,” the UN chief recalled. “But science, technology and innovation must not be limited to SDG 17. They cut across all the SDGs as an important element of implementation.”
He cautioned that science, technology and innovation cannot be confined to the use of new technologies or software, but rather, innovation is a mindset and an attitude: “It means questioning assumptions, rethinking established systems and procedures, and introducing new strategies. New technologies are important, but as a means to an end,” he explained.
The Secretary-General indicated that the multi-stakeholder Forum will take place each year until 2030, to pool ideas, and find ways to incentivize, scale up and adopt breakthrough solutions.
“I hope it will be a new way of doing things at the United Nations. We will need ownership, participation and active involvement from all sectors of society, for sustainable development to become a global reality within the next 15 years,” he declared.
Adding that the defining pledge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is that no one will be left behind, he also informed Member States that it is the chosen theme for this year’s first High-level Political Forum on the agenda, which will be held in New York from 11 to 20 July.