The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, unanimously adopted at the United Nations Summit in September 2015, positioned science, technology and innovation (STI) as key means for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and launched the United Nations Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM). The Annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum) has been the main TFM platform for discussing topics of common interest to Member States and STI stakeholders in the context of the 2030 Agenda.
In the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Member States committed to “adopt science, technology and innovation strategies as integral elements of our national sustainable development strategies” (paragraph 119). At the 2017 STI Forum, participants highlighted that STI roadmaps and action plans were needed at the subnational, national and global levels, and that these should include measures for tracking progress. These roadmaps need to incorporate processes that evaluate what is and is not working, and produce continual revisions that create a real learning environment.
Science, technology and innovation (both technological and non-technological) can lead to economic growth by increasing productivity, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. STI also helps to address and alleviate societal challenges, while finding effective ways to tackle environmental challenges. In other words, it feeds into the three components of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. The role of STI in economic and social progress requires not only appropriate infrastructure,
resources and capabilities to produce new inventions, but also the capacity of individuals, communities and companies to absorb and apply them. It is only by understanding and supporting the whole process of technological and innovative development and dissemination, and the readiness of its final recipients to accept, own and implement change, that we can strive to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.
United Nations Inter-Agency Task Team, S.T.A.I.F.S. and European Commission, J.R.C., Guidebook for the Preparation of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for SDGs Roadmaps, EUR 30606 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2021, ISBN 978-92-76-30613-9, doi:10.2760/724479, JRC124108.