The eighth annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum) was convened by the President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Lachezara Stoeva. The forum focused on the theme “Science, technology and innovation to accelerate recovery from coronavirus disease” (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels.
During her opening remarks, Stoeva noted that recent crises have dealt a heavy blow to SDG implementation efforts. She highlighted the STI Forum as an opportunity to drive science and evidence-based policymaking “to design and implement transformations towards sustainable development.” Stoeva called for special attention to five Goals undergoing in-depth review by the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July: SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (clean and affordable energy), SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 17 (partnership for the Goals).
According to Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, speaking on behalf of UN Secretary General António Guterres, scientific innovation is crucial in driving progress towards achieving these goals. She stressed the need to ensure that “women and girls and other marginalized groups are engaged in those domains.”
The STI Forum showcased examples of innovative efforts to accelerate sustainability transformation locally and globally in areas such as biodiversity, climate, energy, food systems, health, education, inclusion, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), among others. Participants emphasized the need to ensure that new technologies prioritize sustainability.
The forum included ministerial sessions on ‘Innovating to meet the SDGs’ as well as presentations of findings from Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2023. Dedicated sessions convened on topics such as strengthening confidence in science and technology, innovation led by people and communities, closing the gender gap in science and technology, and knowledge sharing through new partnerships.
Organized by the UN Inter-Agency Task Team on STI for the SDGs (IATT), the STI Forum was held from May 3-4, 2023, in New York, USA. The co-chairs will prepare a summary of the forum to support deliberations at HLPF 2023 and the SDG Summit.
The STI Forum highlighted that inclusive science, technology, and innovation are crucial to achieve sustainable development goals. By incorporating evidence-based policymaking and prioritizing sustainability in new technologies, we can accelerate progress towards a more equitable future.