High-level roundtable on the role of STI in empowering people and in ensuring inclusiveness and equality

13 May 2019 12:00h - 13:00h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 22nd Session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development]

The session was moderated by Mr A Min Tjoa (Professor and Director of the Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems, Vienna University of Technology, Austria and Chair of the CSTD) who started by presenting the impact of rapid technological change on sustainable development. He also explained the role of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in building resilient communities, including through the contribution of citizen science.

In her video message, Ms Inga Rhonda King (President of ECOSOC) said that STI are key to providing high-level services for humanity. She said that the 2030 Agenda is the pillar of innovation and a link between ECOSOC and other institutions. In addition, she noted how STI can facilitate health, economic growth, and various services.

King noted the importance of political will and co-operation in order to develop a common framework for science and technology. According to her, ECOSOC should be a central player in the STI global policy. Finally, she emphasised the opportunities and challenges of STI in implementing the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Ms Marisa Do Rosario Bragança Sambo (Minister of Higher Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation of Angola) started by explaining that equility, the creation of jobs, and inclusiveness are crucial to empowering people. She also noted that national development strategies (provision of energy, infrastructure, scientific research, etc.) must pay attention to STI.

Furthermore, she noted the importance of human capital and education in order to be able to take advantage of STI on national and regional levels. According to her, Angola has the following challenges: digital literacy, the high cost of STI, and food security. Finally, she emphasised that STI can help to resolve various problems in the following sectors: health (disease, drug resistance), agriculture, and academia.

Mr Mahdi Elyasi (Deputy Vice-President for Science and Technology of the Islamic Republic of Iran) said that STI policy has an important place in the Iranian Government. He said that more than four million young people are studying STI at university. He stressed the importance of including STI in economic development, and talked about broadband in rural areas. He added that STI policy helps start-ups and the achievment of the SDGs in Iran. Finally, Elyasi explained that the Iranian government is using STI policy in both health services and the pharmaceutical sector.

Mr Krishna Raj B.C. (Secretary for Science and Technology of Nepal) explained the importance of STI policy in Nepal and the role it plays in promoting gender equality in his country. He added that women have an important part in making STI policy, developing technical skills, and education. He talked about empowering people by using innovation and technology, data policy, and good quality education (learning process).

Moreover, Raj B.C. noted the role of STI in social and economic development. He said that Nepal is committed to improving STI policy on a local level, and to developing a plan which is based on inclusiveness. In conclusion, he emphasised the importance of the private sector’s role in developing STI in Nepal.

Ms Rowena Cristina L. Guevara (Undersecretary for Research and Development of the Philippines) started by discussing the 2017-2020 Philippines plan to empower people through gender equality and research projects in STI. She talked about excellency and equality in STI scholarships given to young ladies at university. She noted the role of STI in doing business for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). L. Guevara talked about sharing technological skills to accelerate the SDGs and public services. Finally, she mentioned that her government is working on developing STI in rural areas.

Ms Nkandu Luo (Minister of Higher Education of Zambia) explained the role of STI in contributing to the acceleration of the SDGs in Zambia. She noted that Zambia believes that STI will help economic development and innovation. She talked about Zambia’s Vision 2030, a development plan linked to the SDGs: creating sustainable growth and innovation, manufacturing, transportation, etc.

Furthermore, Luo explained the role of STI in industry, academia, primary, and secondary schools. She noted the importance of training technicians in order to enhance STI policy in Zambia, and emphasised the linkages between government and other private sectors. Finally, she noted the importance of infrastructure and good policies in implementing STI in her country.

Mr Ogbonnaya Onu (Minister of Science and Technology, Nigeria) started by explaining the importance of STI in Nigeria. He talked about the national STI Roadmap Review Policy and discussed the role of STI in providing jobs and creating digital capacities in rural areas for sustainable economic growth. He also emphasised the role of the business community in developing new technology in Nigeria.

Moreover, Onu said that STI is the key pillar in developing digital development and creating jobs in his country. Finally, he talked about the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in implementing STI as a key-driver of economic goals.

Ms Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger (Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Austria to the UNOG) explained that Austria is an active member of CSTD and said that STI can play a role in economic development. Moreover, the Austrian government is employing a plan which includes AI in education, health, and other sectors on a national level. She also emphasised that they are committed to working with ECOSOC in tackling the challenges of STI.

Finally, the representatives of Bostwana, Bulgaria, and Armenia, talked about investing in STI infrastructure and innovation. They noted the importance of the inclusiveness of women and young people in digital development. Moreover, they emphasised the importance of national strategy in economic development. Finally, they said that STI policy must improve the health and other services of the country, and that STI can reduce the digital divide and improve services in rural areas.


By Gilles D. Bana