If everyone is to enjoy a future of peace, dignity and opportunity, then science, technology and innovation need to be at the heart of the race to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, a Forum at UN Headquarters heard on Tuesday.
“No one can ignore the vital role of science, technology and innovation” (STI) in “advancing the transformative impact” of the 2030 Agenda, said Marie Chatardová, President of the Economic and Social Council, as the two-day STI Forum got underway.
The UN has a clearly stated mission outlined in the 2030 Agenda: “We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.”
The meeting brings together UN officials, leaders in the field of science and technology and others, to share sustainable technology expertise, and explore collaboration efforts to achieve SDGs.
“The aspirations of the 2030 Agenda cannot be through business as usual,” Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet for the UN Secretary-General told the forum.
While rapidly changing new technologies – in fields such as artificial intelligence and robotics - have immense promise, she cautioned that they also carry risks which must be considered, such as exacerbating inequality.
“No one can ignore the vital role of science technology and innovation,” stressed Liu Zhenmin, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), while also pointing out that everyone must work consciously “to magnify benefits and limit negative impacts.”
This year, the Forum zeros in on the theme “Science, Technology and Innovation for sustainable and resilient societies” focussing on the multiple Goals that straddle the field of scientific innovation.
According to Mr. Liu, the SDGs cannot be achieved without STI.
“We are in the right place at the right time,” he assured the group, emphasizing that all stakeholders needed to be actively engaged, stay abreast of the transformative changes underway and work continuously to harness them for our common good.
“Through our collective endeavor, we will be able to eradicate poverty, ensure wellbeing for all peoples and protect the richness of the life and nature of our planet,” he concluded.