On the sidelines of the 8th Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the Sustainable Development Goals (2023 STI Forum), a policy dialogue was convened to review the progress and challenges of integrating STI into national, regional and global development agenda.
This side event was organized by the Science, Technology and Policy Institute (STEPI) of the Republic of Korea, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office for East Asia, and the Science Technology Engineering Innovation Policy Asia and the Pacific Network (STEPAN), in collaboration with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).
In her opening remarks, Dr. Mi-Ock Mun, President of STEPI, called for concerted participation of different actors, including scientists and technical experts, to harness the benefits of STI toward achieving the global development goals by aligning national research and development.
“As highlighted during the recent Ministerial meeting on South-South cooperation convened alongside the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries, this is a critical time given the increasing need for STI to create inclusive, sustainable and resilient development,” said Ms. Dima Al-Khatib, Director of UNOSSC, in her welcome remarks. “South-South and triangular cooperation facilitate sharing among countries including transfer of technical applications,” she added. “This helps developing countries to leapfrog among innovative demand-driven solutions and best practices tailored to their needs, rather than cultivating ideas from scratch.”
Ambassador Sangjin Kim, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations emphasized that STI serve as cross cutting enablers to accelerate the progress of SDGs, and highlighted the Republic of Korea’s commitment and contribution to development cooperation focused on digitalization and green technology.
Mr. Fernando Santiago, Industrial Policy Officer at UNIDO delivered a presentation entitled, “Using the SDG’s as a reference for STI policy advisory services”. As an example of policy advisory at the global level, he illustrated UNIDO’s approach and flagship services, and explained that effective STI policies require a robust STI ecosystem with efficient policymaking cycles.
Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director, UNESCO Regional Office for East Asia, indicated limitations in mobilizing STI stakeholders for addressing SDGs in the Asia-Pacific region, and shared UNESCO actions on the Science‐Society interface.
Presentations from STEPI and the National Institute of Science and Technology (INCT) of Timor-Leste took stock of work undertaken at the national level. Dr. Inkyoung Sun, Head of Sustainable Innovation Policy Research Office at STEPI, introduced the institution’s recent study on the linkages between the national STI plan and SDGs in the Republic of Korea. “Though RoK’s national R&D projects over the past decade did not directly concentrate on SDGs, about 68% of the country’s public development research findings have the potential to contribute to SDG achievement,” said Dr. Sun.
Mr. José Cornélio Guterres, Executive President of INCT identified limited legal instruments, infrastructure and human and financial resources as key challenges to implement national STI policy in the country.
A panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Hwanil Park, Chief Director of the Global Innovation Strategy Research Division at STEPI. During the discussion Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, Trust Fund Director, UNOSSC, shared the Office’s integrated work, ranging from advisory services, advocacy, and fund management, to field projects including the mapping of South-South cooperation on STI and the RoK-UNOSSC Facility on the water-energy-food nexus in the Mekong Region through science and technology (P-LINK). Prof. Aini Suzana Ariffin, Chair of STEPAN, and Dr. Dong Un Park, Associate Research Fellow at STEPI, also addressed the panel.
The meeting suggested that multi-stakeholder engagement through South-South and triangular cooperation can unlock the STI gap between different actors, and connect and mobilize expertise and resources, including centres of excellence, academia and the private sector.