The Fourth Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum), co-chaired by Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations and Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, took place on 14-15 May 2019 in UN Headquarters, New York.
The annual STI Forum, convened by UN ECOSOC and UN DESA, provided a venue for the science and technology community to explore opportunities for collaboration and to join efforts towards the development, transfer, and take-up of relevant technologies for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was also one key component of “Technology Facilitation Mechanism” (TFM) in order to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The theme of the 2019 Forum was science, technology and innovation for ensuring inclusiveness and equality, with a special focus on SDGs 4 [Quality Education], 8 [Decent work and economic growth], 10 [Reduced Inequalities], 13 [Climate Action], and 16 [Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions].
WFEO was represented by its UN Relations Committee (WURC) Chair and WFEO Executive Vice President Reginald Vachon, WFEO President Elect Prof. Gong Ke, and WURC Member William Kelly.
The forum consisted of an official meeting and side events.
The official meeting included the opening ceremony, 9 sessions, 2 special events and an exhibition on Woman in Science, from 10:00 to 18:30 on both days. Themes of the opening ceremony and 9 sessions are listed below:
- Appreciating the cross-cutting nature of science, technology and innovation
- Emerging technology clusters and the impact of rapid technological change on the SDGs
- Strengthening capacity and policy for the development of STI roadmaps
- Science, Technology and Innovation for education and decent work for the future (SDG 4 and SDG 8)
- Gender and Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs
- A Brighter Future – Youth, Innovation Ecosystems and Development
- STI for inclusive and equitable societies (SDG 10 and SDG 16)
- STI for taking action to combat climate change and its impacts. (SDG 13)
- Linking science, technology and innovation of indigenous peoples, culture and traditional knowledge and the achievement of the SDGs
- Supporting the implementation of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism – the way forward for joint action – and closing
The second session was Ministerial Segment, which was newly added this year. The two special events, also newly added this year, were:
- Special event 1: Launch of exhibition of innovative technology solutions for SDGs
- Special event 2: Roundtable on STI roadmaps for SDGs – the technical perspective.
Side events were organized by UN agencies, National member representatives and NGOs; here were 32 ones arranged before the official meeting (8:00-9:30), at noon (13:15-2:30), and after the official meeting (18:30-20:00) on 14th and 15th May, including 3 ones on 13th and 16th May.
WFEO has cooperated with International Science Council (ISC) and UN Major Group of Child and Youth (MGCY) to organize two side events which were held separately on the morning and at the noon of 14th May.
The full STI 2019 Program is available in this page
13 May 2019
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
The special event “Global Solutions Summit 2019” – more info in this page -.
Reginald Vachon, William Kelly and Gong Ke attended.
Reginald Vachon, Gong Ke, Heide Hackmann (CEO of the International Science Council ISC), Shantanu Mukherjee (Chief, Policy and Analysis Branch at Division for Sustainable Development, UN-DESA), Lucilla Spini (Senior Science and Policy Officer at ISC) and Wei Liu (Sustainable Development Officer, Policy and Analysis Branch of the Division for Sustainable Development, UN-DESA) met to discuss a transportation conference in China with WFEO as the lead.
Shantanu Mukherjee, Chief Policy and Analysis Branch at Division for Sustainable Development UN-DESA, Gong Ke, WFEO President Elect and Lucilla Spini, Senior Science and Policy Officer at ISC
14 May 2019
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Side Event “The role of Engineering and Science Education in empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.
Organized by the Scientific Major Group (WFEO & International Science Council) and the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY)
William Kelly hosted the session, Reginald Vachon and Lucilla Spini attended, and Gong Ke presented. Ms. H. Elizabeth Thompson, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the UN, and co-chair of the STI Forum 2019, welcomed the group and voiced her support for gender equality.
Prof. Gong Ke made an opening keynote speech on “Enhancing & Improving Engineering Education for Sustainable Development”.
9:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Welcome address and opening: appreciating the cross-cutting nature of science, technology and innovation
Gong Ke attended and met Mr. Liu Zhenmin (UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs) before the opening.
1:20 PM – 2:15 PM
Special event 1 “Launch of exhibition of innovative technology solutions for SDGs” – more info on this page -.
UN-DESA together with the Global Innovation Exchange launched a Global Call for Innovations for the SDGs – a call for innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs and sustainability change agents worldwide to submit innovative solutions for sustainable development, especially with regard to the five SDGs that have been selected for focus in 2019 in particular: SDGs 4, 8, 10, 13, and 16.
Prof. Gong Ke, representing WFEO addressed at the special event.
This was the first time for STI Forum to hold such a special event. Chair of UN-ECOSOC hosted and addressed at the special event. Prof. Gong Ke and representative from the organizing committee made addresses too.
Mr. Reginald Vachon, has spoken during discussion part on the third thematic session.
WFEO President Elect Prof. Gong Ke addressing at the STI Forum 2019 Special event 1
1:15 PM – 2:30 PM
Representatives from UNMGCY hosted the side Event “Ethical Code: Designing and Governing Inclusive AI”. Reginald Vachon, Executive Vice-President of WFEO, made a speech on “Promoting responsible conduct of Big Data and AI innovation and application in Engineering”.
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Session 3: Science, Technology and Innovation for education and decent work for the future (SDG 4 and
The session discussed ways in which science, technology, and innovation can better support SDG 4 (quality education) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth). The session looked also at how to re-shape education to prepare for a rapidly changing future of work. It identified challenges and needs, good practices and policy recommendations.
Reginald Vachon intervention can be seen in the UN website by clicking on the image
The scientific and technological community major group is pleased with the presentations, thanks the speakers and intervenes with this statement : Undergraduate and graduate education in science and engineering is the key to translating the SDGs into local reality.
We will need more graduates in science and engineering-to realize our goals. In addition, vocational education is part of that key to success. Successful deployment and maintenance of SDGs is dependent on those vocationally educated/trained.
Further, this starts in early education inclusive of girls and boys. Gifted minds are not relegated to one gender. Science and engineering is not geopolitically bound. Learning never stops as daring minds push the envelope to serve people and protect the environment. The scientific and technological community major group commends the speakers and the UN.
–Reginald Vachon’s speech at STI Forum 2019 Session 3
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Session 4: Gender and Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs.
This session discussed issues related to attracting and retaining women in STI/STEM fields and, supporting women entrepreneurship, including through access to capital.
Lucilla Spini intervention can be seen in the UN website by clicking on the image
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Side event “The Digital revolution and Sustainable Development: Opportunities and Challenges”
Organized by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz); International Science Council (ISC); Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the UN-DESA.
15 May 2019
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Side Event “Earth and Environmental Science Education for Sustainable Development”
Organized by Geology for Global Development
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Side Event “Science, Technology and Innovation for an Inclusive Future of Work”
Organized by International Labour Organization; Children Youth International.
DESA Meeting – Political declaration
Reginald Vachon and Lucilla Spini attended.
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Session 6: STI for inclusive and equitable societies (SDG 10 and SDG 16)
The session discussed ways and means in which science, technology, and innovation can better support SDG 10 (reducing inequalities) and SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions). In particular, the session focused on how to achieve inclusive societies in a rapidly changing world. It identified challenges and needs, good practices and policy recommendations.
William Kelly intervention can be seen in the UN website by clicking on the image
1:15 PM – 2:30 PM
Special event 2: Roundtable on STI roadmaps for SDGs – the technical perspective
The special event discussed the UN work and collaboration on development of the guidebook on building STI roadmaps for SDGs as a policy-making and communication tool for Member States. It also presented a proposed global pilot programme on STI roadmaps in order to build capacity for and scale up adoption of the Member States’ STI roadmaps for the SDGs. The session discussed recommendations on the topic.
Bill Kelly Intervention is available in this page.
Report by Gong Ke and Reginald Vachon. Thanks to Lucilla Spini from ISC and Donovan Gutierres from the Children and Youth Major Group for our team relationship.
For more information:
The STI 2019 Program
List of the side events at the STI Forum
Scientific and Technological Community Major Group
WFEO-UN Relations Committee (WURC) website
International Science Council (ISC) website
UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY)