Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation
for the SDGs (STI Forum)
SDGs in Action: From Ideas to Solutions
Breakfast event on fostering multi-stakeholder solutions

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you and to open this event on “SDGs in Action: From Ideas to Solutions”. I commend the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates for organizing this important event.

Progress in science, technology and innovation shapes our world and plays a vital role in our lives and in the achievement of the SDGs. Cognizant of the very important role of STI, Member States agreed to establish the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism in the Addis Ababa and the 2030 Agendas in 2015. The Mechanism aims to facilitate multi-stakeholder collaboration and partnerships through the sharing of information, experiences, best practices, as well as policy advice among Member States, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community, United Nations entities and other stakeholders.

The STI Forum is one of three components of the TFM. It helps to bring together the best minds among scientific communities, private sector, policymakers and other stakeholders. And, last but not least, it provides a space for many other events and partnership initiatives. Today’s event is one such highly constructive example. It supports sharing of best practices and concrete experiences on how to harness STI for the SDGs across the world.

On the first day of the Forum, we saw and heard about many innovative solutions for SDGs. The Exhibition showcases the most intriguing innovations – many of which from young innovators around the world – from a UN Call for Innovations for the Forum.

One such example is a digital health platform – called doctHERs. It connects remotely located female doctors to underserved health consumers. Female doctors using the platform are now able to provide quality and affordable healthcare via video-consultation. This platform promotes gender equality and helps to address health issues of marginalized communities, impacting SDGs 1, 3, 5, 8 and 10. Such inspiring innovations often come from individual, local entrepreneurs who are acutely aware of the needs of their communities. As a result, they often find highly suitable solutions to address local demand. Of course many of such innovations come from developing countries that represent 80% of world population. The example I gave, DoctHERS, is from Pakistan. These innovations can spur sustainable development. I sincerely hope that funders and other partners might pick them up and support these initiatives to make them available to a much larger group of users. If we can achieve this, the Forum will have been a success.

This is why we need intersessional meetings that are clearly linked to and report to the STI Forum, similar to the United Arab Emirates’ SDGs in Action segment of the World Government Summit in Dubai earlier this year. It supports the STI Forum and encourage partners to be also fully engaged in relevant intersessional events and conferences like the SDG in Action segment of the World Government Summit. Coordination and institutionalizing links to the STI Forum could be very useful. In this context, I am very much looking forward to learning more about the progress of the selected, very promising teams convened by the SDGs in Action.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to once again stress the importance of the science, technology and innovation for sustainable development, as well as the important role of multi-stakeholder collaboration. Finally, I would like to thank the Government of the United Arab Emirates for organizing and sponsoring this event.

I wish you all very successful deliberations.

Thank you.

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