Highlights Vol 22, No. 06 - June 2018

Science and technology – engines to spur action for the Sustainable Development Goals

The power of science, technology and innovation to improve the lives of people and to help protect the planet is evident. But in order to drive progress towards the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its vision of leaving no one behind, innovative solutions will need to be pro-poor, equitable, and scalable. How can the potential of innovation be unlocked for the benefit of all?

With this question in mind, the annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum) convened a diverse range of innovators, researchers and policy makers in New York on 5 and 6 June to explore advances in science and technology that can help achieve sustainable development that leaves no one behind. Participants at the Forum will discuss how to disseminate and share such solutions.

10 young innovators from around the world, selected from more than 300 applicants, will present their cutting-edge solutions at a dedicated exhibition of Innovative Technology Solutions for the SDGs in the UN Visitor’s Centre in New York on 5 and 6 June.

As a global mechanism that serves both developed and developing countries, the STI Forum allows pragmatic, in-depth discussions of technology issues. It aims to improve coherence of science, technology and innovation support and capacity building across the UN system and beyond.

Convened by the President of the Economic and Social Council, the Forum’s conclusions will serve as input to the meeting of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development 2018. Its theme will be “Science, Technology and Innovation for sustainable and resilient societies” and, as the HLPF, it will focus on SDG 6 on water and sanitation, SDG 7 on sustainable energy, SDG 11 on sustainable cities, SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production patterns, and SDG 15 on terrestrial ecosystems.

Two special events will be organized before and after the Forum itself: The Global Solutions Summit (GSS) 2018: “From Lab to the Last Mile: Technology Deployment Business Models for the SDGs” on 4 June, and a Special G-STIC (Global Science Technology and Innovation Conference) event “Accelerating technological transition towards the SDGs” on 7 June.

Photo by Thomas Griesbeck on Unsplash

For more information: Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum)

 

Living life in the city: UN DESA announces latest urbanization trends

In today’s increasingly global and interconnected world, more and more people decide to live their lives in cities. In 2018, 55 per cent of the world’s population is residing in urban areas and by 2050, 68 per cent is projected to be urban. In the coming decades, further increases are expected both in the size of the world’s urban population and in its share of the total. The widespread growth of urban areas described in the 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects, launched by UN DESA’s Population Division on 16 May 2018, highlights the importance of building sustainable cities, where growth is planned and well managed.

This latest revision includes updated information on the size of the urban and rural populations of 233 countries or areas from 1950 to 2018, with projections to 2050. In addition, it presents the trend in population size for close to 1,900 urban settlements having 300,000 inhabitants or more in 2018.

In 2018, close to half of the world’s urban dwellers reside in settlements with fewer than half a million inhabitants, while around one in eight live in 33 megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants each. By 2030, the world is projected to have 43 such megacities, most of them in developing regions. Some of the fastest-growing urban areas are cities in Asia or Africa with fewer than one million inhabitants.

Tokyo, currently the world’s largest city, is part of an urban agglomeration with 37 million inhabitants. Next in size is Delhi with 29 million, then Shanghai with 26 million, and São Paulo and Mexico City, each with around 22 million inhabitants. Cairo, Mumbai, Beijing and Dhaka today have close to 20 million inhabitants each. By 2020, Tokyo’s population is projected to begin to decline, while Delhi is projected to continue growing and to become the most populous city in the world around 2028.

In the coming decades, many countries will face challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for housing, transportation, energy systems and other infrastructure, as well as for employment and basic services such as education and health care. Integrated policies to improve the lives of both urban and rural dwellers are needed, strengthening the linkages between urban and rural areas and building on their existing economic, social and environmental ties.

Although most cities are growing, some have experienced population decline in recent years. Most of these are in the low-fertility countries of Asia and Europe, where the overall population size is stagnant or declining. Economic contraction and natural disasters have contributed to population losses in some cities as well.

Understanding the diversity of trends affecting urban and rural populations and the implications of those trends for urban and rural development will be essential for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

For more information: 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects

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