The SDG realization: Mobilizing science, technology and innovation and strengthening the science-policy-society interface

Earlier this month, an informal meeting of the High-Level Political Forum 2021 explored the challenges and opportunities for mobilizing science, technology and innovation (STI) and strengthening the science-policy-society interface to support the implementation of SDGs.

STI: The benefits and the risks

The global progress of STI has been revolutionary, promising tremendous benefits to the societies, which have been even more evident in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state-of-the-art technologies in vaccine development have provided powerful means to fight and eradicate the disease; meanwhile, the advancement of ICT allows people to work remotely, resume economic activities and build social connections across the world. On the other hand, the discoveries of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and 5G networks are expected to be the backbones of our societies for the next decade, advancing global economic, social and environmental development to an unprecedented extent. Despite the immense potential for STI in SDGs realization, challenges abound. Around half of the world’s population remains digitally unconnected, creating a digital divide that hinders numerous lives in the enjoyment of STI services. The weak alignment between current STI and SDGs has also exacerbated inequalities in vulnerable communities including women and indigenous people, undermining the global achievements of the 2030 Agenda.

Sustainable and transformative STI pathways towards SDG realization

To ensure effective mobilization of STI in SDG realization, a better science-policy-society interface is utterly needed. Policymakers should focus on enhancing the availability of open data for STI in tackling social issues, while ensuring the nature of these STI are in alignment with the sustainable development principles. Moreover, multi-stakeholder partnerships in scientific research, open innovation and youth nurturement should be further strengthened for global digital transformation. To address the global digital divide, inclusiveness should be put in the utmost priority of STI advancement. It includes strengthening the participation of women and indigenous communities in the sector, who are often underrepresented; as well as providing universal STI services through provision of digital infrastructures, affordable Internet, and digital literacy skills for the unconnected people. It is also important to build public trust in STI related to all areas of sustainable development, and it is policymakers’ and companies’ responsibility to prevent exacerbation of violence, hate and inequalities in such means.

Advances in STI should be harnessed to enhance equal opportunities and access to basic services so no one is left behind. Governments and the international community have a central role in providing directionality to innovation activities to ensure STI is driven by considerations of inclusiveness and sustainability. The pandemic is a wake-up call for effective bilateral and multilateral cooperation to collectively address the sustainability challenges and accelerate the global progress of SDGs through the means of STI.

Resource:

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=20000&nr=7188&menu=2993

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/TFM/STIForum2017

Meeting Title: 2021 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2021), 11th Informal Meeting

Date/Location: Friday, 9 July 2021; 11:15-13:15; The meeting was held virtually

Speaker:

Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya (Ukraine), Vice President of ECOSOC;

Mr. Mohammad Koba, Co-Chair of the 2021 STI Forum, Ambassador and Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations;

Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU);

Mr. Andrejs Pildegovičs, Co-Chair of the 2021 STI Forum, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Latvia to the United Nations;

Ms. Cherry Murray, Co-Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s 10 Member Group to Support the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, Professor of Physics and Deputy Director for Research, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona; etc.

Written by: WIT-UN Representative Iris Sit

Strengthening the Science-Policy-Society Interface for Achieving Sustainable Development

sdg2The economic, social and environmental challenges facing societies range from regional to global in scale. There is an urgent need for the international science community to develop the knowledge and strengthen the science-policy-science interface for achieving sustainable development. Therefore, it is crucial to shape effective responses and foster global justice, which would facilitate progress toward sustainable development goals. The global change research community plays a central role in understanding the functioning and human impacts of Earth System.

Mr. Mc Bean introduced Future Earth, an international scientific community, which serves as a global platform for international science collaboration. It aims at providing knowledge required for societies in the world to face risks posed by global environmental change and to seize opportunities in transition to global sustainability. The key objectives are to build and connect global knowledge to intensify the impact of research and find new ways to accelerate sustainable development. Mr. Nakicenovic pointed out that the global problems, including access to water; food and energy need to be resolved immediately. He emphasized vigorous investment is needed in human capacity and knowledge, in order to create a niche market for sustainable development systems. Ms. Abrahamse echoed Mr. Nakicenovic’s comments. She specifically talked about the importance of the easy access to information, which would empower and create solutions for solving the grand societal challenges.

Mr. Ullah introduced the bipolar linear system – “The pipeline approach” in understanding the concept between consultation and collaboration. He also highlighted it is essential to maintain the independence of science so as to contribute to problem solving and foster innovation, leadership and competitive advantage. Mr. Davies addressed the issues between good governance and sustainable development. He concluded by underlining the need for an overarching vision on poverty eradication, and the development of partnerships to sustain a strong science-policy interface.

Meeting Title: Strengthening the science-policy-society interface for achieving sustainable development
Speakers: Gordan Mc Bean, President-elect of the International Council for Science; Nebojsa Nakicenovic Nakicenovic, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis; Tanya Abrahamse, CEO of South African National Biodiversity Institute; Farooq Ullah, Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum; Peter Davies, Wales’ Commissioner for Sustainable Future
Location: ECOSOC, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 1 July 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited by Wit Representative: Aslesha Dhillon