It is a great pleasure to be here at the first multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to ensure a life of dignity for all, with greater shared prosperity on a clean and healthy planet.
Innovation is embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals, together with advancing science and technology, as Goal 17.
But science, technology and innovation must not be limited to SDG 17. They cut across all the SDGs as an important element of implementation.
Science, technology and innovation cannot be confined to the use of new technologies or software.
Innovation is a mindset and an attitude.
It means questioning assumptions, rethinking established systems and procedures, and introducing new strategies. New technologies are important, but as a means to an end.
Over the next 15 years, progress in science, technology and innovation will be key to delivering on all the SDGs - from poverty eradication to agriculture and food security, to energy, to water and sanitation, and climate change.
Linking science, technology and innovation with progress in sustainable development at the ground level is the greatest challenge.
That is the gap this Forum is expected to close.
You have a critical mission to accomplish.
The defining pledge of the Sustainable Development Agenda is that no one will be left behind. That is also the chosen theme for this year’s first High-level Political Forum on the agenda, which will be held in New York from 11 to 20 July.
In keeping with this emphasis on the most vulnerable, I urge you to share the benefits of science, technology and innovation with those who stand to gain most.
Science, technology and innovation must be a vehicle for inclusion, poverty eradication, and sustainable development.
This multi-stakeholder Forum, which will take place each year until 2030, will pool ideas, and find ways to incentivize, scale up and adopt breakthrough solutions.
I hope it will be a new way of doing things at the United Nations.
We will need ownership, participation and active involvement from all sectors of society, for sustainable development to become a global reality within the next 15 years
That means mobilizing stakeholders and actors, decision-makers, practitioners and experts from all sectors.
National governments are primarily responsible for implementation and must take the lead by establishing national plans.
But these plans must involve all sectors of society: local and national authorities; civil society; business and the private sector; non-governmental organizations; academia; philanthropy; religious and cultural institutions. They must also look outwards, to include greater cooperation between parliaments, regional and international institutions and more.
Building new partnerships is an important area for innovative thinking to create global solutions.
The 2030 Agenda emerged from a global consultation involving seven million people. It is truly a people’s agenda.
It is our global Declaration of Interdependence.
To succeed, we must go beyond our comfort zone. This is no time for ‘business as usual’.
I hope you will be provocative, visionary and disruptive, just like the technologies that are needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Together, let us make this inaugural forum a success for science, technology, innovation, sustainable development and most of all, for the people we serve.