United Nations launches Mechanism to promote science, technology and innovation
26 Sep 2015
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- A Technology Facilitation Mechanism that seeks to promote science, technology and innovation to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable was launched at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, when over 150 Heads of State and Government officially adopted the new agenda.
To mark the mechanism’s launch, the Governments of Brazil and France, with the support of the UN Interagency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs, co-hosted a high-level side event, bringing together multi-stakeholders including Member States, the UN system, civil society, private sector and academia. The high-level representatives expressed their expectations in relation to the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), how it could help achieve the 2030 Agenda and how their countries or organizations are prepared to support its operation.
The mechanism is the first major United Nations initiative to support the implementation of the SDGs since the Addis Ababa Third International Conference on Financing for Development was held earlier this year. It will be based on multi-stakeholder collaboration between Member States, civil society, private sector, scientific community, United Nations entities and other stakeholders.
The mechanism is comprised of a United Nations inter-agency task team on science, technology and innovation (STI); an annual multi-stakeholder forum; and an online platform as a gateway for information on existing STI initiatives, mechanisms and programs.
“We know from history that science, technology and innovation are the key drivers of economic growth, of poverty reduction, of rising living standards. Now we must ensure that they are among the central enablers for realizing the SDGs and that all countries, particularly the poorest and those furthest behind, can tap into the benefits of modern science, technology and innovation,” said the President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketof, at the event.
“Technology can help us live up to the promise to leave no one behind, the technology facilitation mechanism is a new important tool that can make this possible”, said Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. But he also said that the transformative sustainable development goals will only be meaningful once we start implementing and working in a determined way to make them happen. “Today we start the crucial process of turning vision and goals into reality”, he said.
Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, highlighted the important role of technology in the context of the climate negotiations in Paris at the end of the year. A commitment from all parties, private investments, and international partnerships would be needed.
Mauro Vieira, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, stressed the importance of technology for developing countries and his country’s long-standing efforts to achieve progress in this area. He explained that technology facilitation also means enabling developing countries to develop technologies themselves.
Sujata Mehta of the Ministry of External Affairs of India highlighted the important role that Brazil and France have played in developing the TFM, and expressed her hope that the mechanism would become the home for technology discussion at the UN.
Among others, following panellists contributed to the discussion: Ms. Megan Smith, US Chief Technology Officer, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and former Vice-President of Google, USA; Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) head-quartered in South Africa; Dr. Zakri Abdul Hamid, Member of the UN SG’s Scientific Advisory Board, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, Malaysia; Mrs. Adeline Lescanne, CEO of Nutriset. The event was moderated by Mr. Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the New York Office of UNEP.