By Ambassador Mathu Joyini and Ambassador Tom Woodroffe*
The writers are Co-Chairs of the 8th Annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the SDGs.
NEW YORK, 2 June 2023 (IDN) — In September this year, world leaders, Member States, civil society, academics, and experts will meet at the United Nations headquarters for the commencement of the 78th Session of the General Assembly.
An important highlight of this high-level event will be the SDG Summit, which will take stock of the world’s collective efforts in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since their adoption in 2015. It will also offer a diagnosis of our trajectory towards Agenda 2030 and accelerate progress to achieving it.
The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of science-based policymaking, partnership and cooperation. The 8th Annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum) will again highlight the vital role of science, technology, and innovation for addressing our greatest challenges.
It will be a multi-stakeholder event, and convene scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, high-level policymakers and representatives from civil society and international organizations. Its aim is to bring the global community one step closer to utilizing the opportunities offered by the nexus of science, technology and innovation in a manner that is inclusive, and solutions focused.
The theme will echo that of the High-Level Political Forum in July: Science, Technology, and Innovation for Accelerating the Recovery from the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the Full Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at All Levels. A STI Forum co-chairs summary will inform further deliberations.
We are thrilled that this year will mark the inaugural STI in Africa Day—a day dedicated to considering the possibilities of science, technology, and innovation in achieving the 2063 Agenda. It is the first in the eight-year history of the STI Forum.
Convened under the theme, STI4SDGs: Levers, Priority Areas and Actionable Steps for Africa, the STI in Africa Day will shine a spotlight on mobilizing and engaging the African Diaspora, numbering close to 170 million people, to serve as a bridge between local communities and the broader regional and global innovation ecosystems. It will also discuss efforts aimed at developing technical and entrepreneurial skills in youth so that they can become a major driver of innovation and entrepreneurship and a force for sustained development.
Lastly, the STI in Africa Day will endeavour to capture the socio-economic development opportunities emerging from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which has created a market of 1.3 billion people with a GDP of USD3.2 trillion and household spending of approximately USD1.9 trillion.
The other notable special event is the Global Solutions Summit. It will complement the STI in Africa Day by exploring how Africa can use the four levers (youth, African diaspora, the AfCFTA, and value-added service) to accelerate sustainable, inclusive regional and local technology development and deployment to achieve the SDGs and develop value-added activities in Africa’s manufacturing, agriculture, and service sectors. Building appropriate STI capacity will be the key to meeting Africa’s 21st century challenges while simultaneously unleashing Africa’s socio-economic dynamism.
We look forward to a lively and interesting discussion, which will explore concrete and pragmatic science-based solutions to some of our greatest global challenges. It will take us a step closer to the SDG Summit later this year and achieving the 2030 Agenda.
* The views expressed in this blog are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of UN DESA. [IDN-InDepthNews]
Photo: Mathu Joyini, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN (left), and Thomas Woodroffe, United Kingdom Ambassador to UN ECOSOC (right); Co-Chairs of the 2023 STI Forum. Credit: UN.
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