On 4–5 May 2021, the United Nations Science, Technology and Innovation Forum convened in a virtual session co-chaired by the Permanent Representative of Latvia to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Andrejs Pildegovičs, and the Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, Ambassador Mohammad Koba.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Forum brought together representatives from governments, the UN system and other international organisations, the private sector, non-governmental organisations as well as scientists, researchers and innovators. In interactive sessions, the participants discussed the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, making use of science, technologies and innovations to reach and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the influence of rapid development of technology, inclusiveness, digital cooperation and promoting cooperation in the framework of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism.
Commenting on the forum and subjects it addressed, Ambassador Andrejs Pildegovičs said that experience with the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated to people across the globe how important science, technologies and innovations are for addressing challenges and strengthening resilience. Chairmanship of the forum at times such as these has been an opportunity to contribute to promotion of the inclusion of a variety of opinions and the sharing of experience on matters essential for international society at the moment and in the longer term. In the discussions at the forum, we wanted to place a particular emphasis on the role of women and the need for inclusiveness; therefore, Ambassador Pildegovičs noted, “I’m happy that Anna Andersone, who shared the experience of Riga TechGirls, was invited to take part in the forum.”
Anna Andersone, CEO of Riga TechGirls, took part in the event of the forum on promoting inclusiveness in the process of creating and generating innovations. In her intervention, Ms Andersone underlined that the creation of a secure, supportive and inclusive environment for women to explore technologies could help unlock the untapped potential of women, encouraging them to get involved in the ICT sector or bringing forth innovations in other areas of professional activity.
The two-day forum comprised ten different sessions as well as a session with addresses by ministers and senior officials from 23 countries and the European Union. A virtual exhibition of the winners of a call for innovations was also held, with presentations of 25 innovations in the areas of food systems, education, health, and gender equality that had originated mainly in developing countries.
For further information, see the STI Forum’s website at https://sdgs.un.org/tfm/STIForum2021.
Video recordings of the sessions are available on UN Web TV at http://webtv.un.org.
On 1 January 2020, Latvia launched three years’ work on the United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Council (ECOSOC), the main UN body responsible for sustainable development and economic matters. Latvia has been elected to two subsidiary bodies of ECOSOC: the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women; and the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Forum is a key component of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism established in the ECOSOC framework in 2015 upon the launch of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The forum is mandated to facilitate discussions on science, technology and innovation based on a multi-stakeholder collaboration between Member States, United Nations entities, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community, and other stakeholders.
Those involved in the preparations of the forum are the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Interagency Task Team (IATT), as well as the Ten-Member Group to support the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) appointed by the UN Secretary General and comprising high-level representatives of civil society, private sector and science.
Conclusions from the discussion will provide inputs to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development which is the main coordinating format at the United Nations for monitoring the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.