Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs


On 27 July 2015, the General Assembly adopted the resolution A/RES/69/313 known as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Paragraph 123 of the Action Agenda decides to establish a Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The paragraph further explains that the TMF will be based on a multi-stakeholder collaboration between Member States, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community, United Nations entities and other stakeholders and that it will be composed by 1) A United Nations inter-agency task team (UNIATT) on science, technology and innovation for the sustainable development goals, 2) a collaborative multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation (STI Forum) for the sustainable development goals and 3) an online platform.

The UNIATT on science, technology and innovation for the sustainable development goals works in close coordination with the 10-member group, (a group of 10 representatives from civil society, the private sector and the scientific community; appointed by the Secretary-General, for a period of two years) to prepare the meetings of the STI Forum as well as the development and operationalization of the online platform.

On 25 September 2015, the General Assembly adopted the resolution A/RES/70/1 known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Paragraph 70 of the 2030 Agenda launches the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) which was already established under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

The meetings of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) will be informed by the summary of the STI Forum and will also consider the themes of subsequent STI Forums, taking into account expert inputs from the task team.

Indigenous peoples and the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM)

Indigenous peoples have been involved in the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) since the very beginning. As a matter of fact, an indigenous representative (Dr. Mirna Cunningham, Miskito from Nicaragua) formed part of the first 10-member group appointed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the period 2016–2017, after careful consideration of over 250 nominations from civil society and the private sector.

Resulting from indigenous peoples participation in the TFM, this allowed for the inclusion of discussions on indigenous knowledge as a way to approach the science-policy interface and to mobilize science, technology and innovation for the achievement of SDGs. In this context, given the cross-cutting nature of the SDGs and STI, multidisciplinary and integrated approaches were deemed necessary to take into account different sources of knowledge, including traditional knowledge.

Indigenous peoples and the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum

At the STI Forum 2019, indigenous peoples participated in Session 8 “Linking science, technology and innovation of indigenous peoples, culture and traditional knowledge, and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.” The session discussed how to find synergies between indigenous and traditional knowledge and local technologies relevant to the achievement of the SDGs; and also presented recommendations on how better highlight and mainstream the role of indigenous knowledge.

The session was chaired by H.E. Ms. H. Elizabeth Thompson or H.E. Ms. Marie Chatardová, moderated by José Ramón López-Portillo Romano, member of the 10-Member group of high-level representatives and Chairman, Q Element Ltd., Mexico, and it featured three panellists: Minnie Degawan, Director of Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Program, Conservation International; Freddy Mamani, Aymara architect from Bolivia; and Chandra Roy-Henriksen, Chief of the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

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At the STI Forum 2018, indigenous peoples participated  in Session 7 “Realizing the full potential of local and indigenous knowledge, and homegrown innovations for the achievement of the SDGs”. The session discussed how local and indigenous knowledge contributes to the SDGs, and how indigenous peoples and local communities can build synergies between their knowledge systems and that of science to achieve the SDGs. The session further identified needs and gaps with regard to policies and partnerships in this area.

The session was chaired by H.E. Dr. Toshiya Hoshino, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, moderated by Mr. Paulo Gadelha, Coordinator of the FIOCRUZ Strategy for the 2030 Agenda, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), and had the participation of Ms. Minnie Degawan, Director, Indigenous and traditional peoples programme, Conservation International, Washington DC, Mr. Joel Heath, Executive Director, The Arctic Eider Society, Sanikiluaq, Canada, Mr. Mulubrhan Gebremikael, UNEP-IEMP (International Ecosystem Management Program), Beijing, China, and Ms. Jozelin Soto, Milpa Maguey Tierno de la Mujer Sss, Mexico.

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At the STI Forum 2017, there was not an specific session on indigenous peoples but Session 2d on “Key priorities for engaging STI for achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls ( Goal 5)” had the participation of Dr. Myrna Cunningham, President of the Center for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples, Nicaragua (and TFM 10-Member Group) as a moderator. The session also had the participation, of H.E. Mr. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Sri Lanka, H.E. Ms. Sarah Amiri, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in New York and Ms. Dalia Francheska Marquez, “Women’s Leaders Committee of OAS Youth United In Action”, Venezuela.

The session discussed key areas where STI can empower women and the reasons for and the ways forward for women to fully participate in STI.

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At the STI Forum 2016, although there was no participation of an indigenous representative in any of the sessions. The final document does mention the impact of the existing technological divide on vulnerable groups such as women, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities; and affirms that the STI Forum, moving forward, will provide an opportunity to strengthen dialogue and partnerships between all stakeholders; and include the consideration of various sources of knowledge, including indigenous knowledge, to facilitate exchanges on science, technology and innovation solutions.

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STI Forum 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016