Science, technology and innovation
Friday, 10 July 2020
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Virtually (held New York time)

Official meeting

Documentation
Biographies

One of the key functions entrusted to the high-level political forum on sustainable development by Rio+20 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to strengthen the science-policy interface, including through the Global Sustainable Development Report and the Technology Facilitation Mechanism.

Progress in science, technology and innovation (STI) continues to accelerate, promising significant benefits but also risks to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Science, technology and innovation will continue to have broad impacts on the economy, society and environment. Rapid technological advances have rarely been neutral and can present extraordinary policy and societal challenges. It is important to ensure that they are to the benefit of all, in line with the ambitions of the SDGs.

The Decade of Action explicitly recognizes that STI are essential ingredients as part of any feasible transformative pathway towards the SDGs. This is underscored by their role in understanding, responding to, and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Timely research, analysis and information are essential to allow identification, dissemination and adaptation of critical technology solutions. At the same time, a greater engagement with stakeholders across society is needed to ensure that these make a real and lasting difference, and that potential trade-offs across goals and targets can be resolved.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed new innovations and forms of collaboration. The crisis has been a wake-up call for a better science-policy-society interface, for more effective international technology cooperation, and for building public trust in science related to all areas of sustainable development. Rapid improvements in these areas – improvements that are commensurate with the far-reaching rapid technological progress – are essential to realize the full promise of STI and to ensure that no one is left behind.

Proposed guiding questions:

  • What are the most promising technology solutions, innovations, and transformative technology pathways towards the SDGs?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities faced in developing and deploying STI for emerging challenges such as COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How can we mobilize science, technology and innovation to improve the lives of the furthest behind, and reduce inequalities, especially during rapid technological change?
  • How can we strengthen international cooperation on science, technology and innovation to better deal with sustainability challenges?

Chair:

  • H.E. Ambassador Juan Sandoval, Mexico, Vice President of ECOSOC

Moderator:

  • Mr. George Essegbey, Director, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI),  Council of Science and Industrial Research, Ghana  

Resource persons:

  • Mr. Vaughan Turekian, Senior Director, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, US, and Co-Chair of the 10 Member Group to Support the Technology Facilitation Mechanism
  • Ms. Helen Rees, Chairperson, Executive Director, Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI), University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Board Member of GAVI, South Africa

Lead discussants:

  • Ms. Teresa M. Stoepler, Executive Director, InterAcademy Partnership, and member of Global Young Academy
  • Ms. Elenita Dano, Co-Coordinator, ETC Group, Philippines (Asia Pacific Regional Civil Society Organization Engagement Mechanism)    

Followed by interactive discussion

Respondents:

  • H.E. Ms. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, European Commission
  • H.E. Mr. Afework K. Gizaw, State Minister, Ministry of Science and High Education, Ethiopia
  • H.E. Mr. Viktor Nedovic, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Serbia, representative of Mr. Mladen Sarcevic, Minister of Education and Science, Serbia
  • H.E. Mr. Kekgonne Baipoledi, Chair of Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Botswana
Biographies
Dr. George Essegbey
Director, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Council of Science and Industrial Research, Ghana
Dr. George Essegbey

Director, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Council of Science and Industrial Research, Ghana

Dr. George Owusu Essegbey is the President of African Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems (AfricaLics). He was the Director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of Ghana, in Accra. He held this position for more than ten years spearheading the institute’s development of research projects and partnerships. He served on a number of national and international Boards including Ghana’s National Development Planning Commission (NDPC). He has several years of experience in Science and Technology (S&T) policy research, innovation studies, climate change and sustainable agriculture. He holds a Ph.D. in Development Studies (University of Cape Coast) and M.A. in International Affairs (University of Ghana). He did Ph.D. internship at the United Nations University (Institute for New Technologies, now UNU-MERIT) in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Dr. Essegbey was a recipient of a Commonwealth Fellowship at the Policy Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (PREST) of the University of Manchester, UK. In the course of his research career, Dr. Essegbey served various national and international organisations with his expertise including FAO, UNESCO, UNCTAD, UNEP, WIPO and the World Bank. He was a member of the 10-Member Expert Group supporting the United Nations Technology Facilitation Mechanism with the UN Inter-agency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the SDGs.

Dr. Vaughan Turekian
Named Executive Director of Policy and Global Affairs, USA
Dr. Vaughan Turekian

Named Executive Director of Policy and Global Affairs, USA

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Vaughan C. Turekian to be the Executive Director of the Policy and Global Affairs Division (PGA), effective May 12, 2018.

Dr. Turekian is currently serving a joint appointment as Senior Director of the Program on Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS), a program within PGA for which he was hired August of 2017. Prior to joining the STS program, Dr. Turekian served as the fifth Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State. In this capacity, he advised the Secretary of State and other senior State Department officials on international environment, science, technology, and health matters affecting the foreign policy of the United States. From 2016 to 2017, he served as a country co-chair, along with the Kenyan Ambassador to the United Nations, for the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, a high-level discussion at the United Nations designed to accelerate progress toward globally agreed upon development targets. In 2018, Dr. Turekian was appointed by the U.N. Secretary General as one of the ten international members to promote the role of science, technology, and innovation for achieving for the 17 SDGs.

Dr. Turekian drew upon his background in atmospheric chemistry and extensive policy experience to promote science, technology, and engineering as integral components of U.S. diplomacy. Previously, he was Chief International Officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Director of AAAS's Center for Science Diplomacy (2006 - 2015). In this capacity, he worked to build bridges between nations based on shared scientific goals, placing special emphasis on regions where traditional political relationships are strained or do not exist. As Editor-in-Chief of Science & Diplomacy, an online quarterly publication, he published original policy pieces that have served to inform international science policy recommendations. In addition, Dr. Turekian worked at the State Department as a Special Assistant and Advisor to the Under Secretary for Global Affairs (2002 - 2006) on issues related to sustainable development, climate change, environment, energy, science, technology, and health. He also served as Program Director for the Committee on Global Change Research at the National Research Council (2000 - 2002), where he was study director for a White House report on climate change science.

Dr. Turekian holds a B.S. in Geology and Geophysics and International Studies from Yale University and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia where he focused on the transport and chemistry of atmospheric aerosols in marine environments. Dr. Turekian not only brings both technical expertise and over 15 years of policy experience to the position, but also a decorated track-record and steadfast commitment to utilizing our nation's capital science and technology innovation to advance the long-term sustainability and U.S. diplomacy.

H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval Mendiolea
DPR of Mexico Mission, Vice President of ECOSOC and Former Co-Chair of the STI Forum
H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval Mendiolea

DPR of Mexico Mission, Vice President of ECOSOC and Former Co-Chair of the STI Forum

Ambassador Juan Sandoval-Mendiolea has been Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations since February 2015. He was appointed co/chair of the Science Technology and Innovation Forum by the President of ECOIOC in December 2017. He was a co-chair with Japan for the 2018 STI Forum. Prior to this assignment, he served as Director General for United Nations Affairs. In this capacity, he was promoted to the rank of Ambassador of Mexico in October 2014.

Ambassador Sandoval served as Legal and Human Rights Counselor at the Mexican Embassy in France, and as Deputy and Interim Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) from 2001 until 2006, where he oversaw legal issues and hemispheric security, including drug enforcement, transnational organized crime, terrorism and corruption. In the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he has also been Deputy Director General of the Directorate for Inter-American Regional Organisms and Mechanisms (2006-2007), and during this time he also served as Deputy National Organizer of Summits. He was Director of Cabinet of the Under-Secretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights from 2007 until 2013. He led the process for Mexico’s admission to the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Australia Group and the Nuclear Supplier's Group.

Ms. Elenita Daño
Co-Executive Director of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group)
Ms. Elenita Daño

Co-Executive Director of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group)

Ms. Elenita “Neth” Daño is Co-Executive Director of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group), which is an international civil society organization that monitors the impacts of new and emerging technologies on marginalized communities, tracks corporate concentration and governance in food and agriculture, and investigates erosion of biodiversity. She is a researcher who has done in-depth analysis and published work on various issues in agriculture, plant genetic resources, new technologies and climate change in developing countries, particularly in Southeast Asia. She represented environmental non-governmental organizations in the Advisory Board to the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), the operational arm of the Technology Mechanism of the UNFCCC, and in global environmental governance discussions at UN Environment. She was appointed for a two-year term (2016-2017) by the UN Secretary-General in the 10-Member Group that supports the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) and was a member of the Advisory Group of the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative (C2G2).

Ms. Helen Rees
Chairperson, Executive Director, Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI), University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Board Member of GAVI, South Africa
Ms. Helen Rees

Chairperson, Executive Director, Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI), University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Board Member of GAVI, South Africa

Professor Helen Rees is Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, where she is also an ad hominem professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Co-Director of the Wits African Leadership in Vaccinology Excellence Flagship programme. She is an Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an Honorary Fellow at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University. Recently she had an honorary degree of Doctor of Science (Medicine) conferred on her by the University of London.

Professor Rees is internationally renowned for her research and policy work in HIV, Vaccines and reproductive health. She has received numerous national and international awards for her contribution to science and to the South African, African and global health sectors. She is an Officer of the British Empire awarded for her contribution to global health and received the Order of the Baobab, one of South Africa’s highest honours, for her contribution to the health of women and children.

Professor Rees’ global reputation has meant that many international global health organisations have recruited her to serve on and/or chair international scientific committees and Boards. In South Africa, currently she Chair’s the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority. During the COVID-19 pandemic Professor Rees has been appointed to several South African Ministerial Committees that inform the Minister of Health on COVID-19 matters, namely the Research Team, Therapeutics Team and the National Essential Medicine Therapeutics Sub-Committee. Internationally, she has recently been appointed to the WHO SAGE COVID-19 Vaccine Working Group as well as onto the WHO IHR Emergency Committee for COVID-19. She is a member of the Facilitation Committee in the COVID19 Clinical Research Coalition. Helen has made many scientific strategic and policy contributions to the African region. She currently Chairs the WHO’s African Regional Task Force on Immunization. Following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa she acted as the rapporteur for the WHO’s International Health Regulations Review Committee post Ebola and co-chaired the WHO ‘High Level Meeting’ on Ebola together with Margaret Chan, the then WHO Director-General. She now Co-Chair’s the WHO Working Group on Ebola Vaccines and is a member of the WHO’s IHR Emergency Committee on Ebola. She has been the chair of WHO’s Emergency Committee on Polio since 2014. Professor Rees was also Chair of the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) which is WHO’s overarching global advisory committee for vaccines and immunisation. She was SAGE focal point for HPV, Rubella and HIV vaccines and chaired the first WHO expert consultations on HPV vaccines. She chaired the WHO Committee on the Sexually Transmitted Infection Vaccine Roadmap as well as WHO’s high level consultation on cervical cancer elimination and continues to serve on the WHO expert committee. She Chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Technical Working Group that reviews current science and the research agenda for single dose HPV vaccines. She has been a member of the WHO SAGE Working group on HPV Vaccines since 2018. She is also a member of the WHO SAGE Committee evaluating progress towards the Decade of Vaccines.

Professor Rees Chairs the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) Programme and Policy Committee and serves on the Gavi Board and also Chairs the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI)’s Scientific Advisory Committee and serves on CEPI’s Board.

Ms. Teresa Stoepler
Executive Director, Inter-Academy Partnership, and member of Global Young Academy
Ms. Teresa Stoepler

Executive Director, Inter-Academy Partnership, and member of Global Young Academy


Teresa Stoepler, Ph.D., is executive director of the InterAcademy Partnership for Policy (IAP-Policy), part of a global network of science, medical and engineering academies that provides advice to international organizations and national governments. She is also a senior program officer with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences where she leads the Pakistan-U.S. Science & Technology Cooperation Program and assists with other international scientific programs. As a member of the Global Young Academy, Teresa co-leads an initiative to re-integrate at-risk and refugee scholars into research in their host countries. Previously, she was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at U.S. Geological Survey where she helped the U.S. government build a standing capacity for strategic science following environmental disasters. In this role, Teresa led the formation of academic partnerships to expedite the formation of “crisis science” teams. She holds a B.S. in Biology and Botany from Humboldt State University and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the George Washington University. Trained as an ecologist, Teresa’s previous research focused on plant-insect interactions, including pollination, parasitism, and disease ecology in both natural and agricultural systems.

Statements
Statements
Japan and India Joint Statement
Joint Statement GoF Digital Technologies
Philippines Statement
Yushi Torigoe - ITU
United Nations