On 16 September, the Summit of Heads of States and Governments of the Group of 77 (G77) and China adopted the Havana Declaration, which emphasized the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation in science, technology, and innovation.
The Summit – attended by more than 100 delegations, including over 30 heads of state and government – was held to address the pressing development challenges faced by G77 member countries. The primary focus of the Summit was on the critical role of science, technology, and innovation in addressing these challenges and promoting sustainable development.
Speaking at the Summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the theme of science, technology and innovation can promote solidarity, solve common problems, and help towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The voice of the G77 plus China will always be essential at the United Nations,” Guterres said. “And I count on your group, who have long been champions of multilateralism, to step up, to use your power, and fight: Champion a system rooted in equality; champion a system ready to reverse the injustice and neglect of centuries.”
“The potential for STI in advancing the SDGs is vastly untapped, and institutional and other barriers that stand in the way of STI progress must be recognized and lowered,” said Dima Al-Khatib, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation. “Over 2.7 billion people still do not have access to the internet, highlighting that substantial work that is still needed to achieve the universal connectivity target by 2030. Universal connectivity remains particularly challenging in LDCs and LLDCs, where only 36 per cent of the population is currently online.”
The Director noted that South-South and triangular cooperation can offer opportunities by: enabling easier accessibility to knowledge and expertise sharing; increasing investment in joint R&D; strengthening partnerships through a multi-stakeholder approach; scaling-up access and the transfer of technologies on mutually agreed terms; strengthening capacity building; enhancing market access and trade; and by engaging in policy dialogues and the harmonization of polices and standards.
The Summit also gave renewed impetus to core development issues of the nations of the South, based on the contribution of science, technology and innovation, as well as defined practical actions to address the existing disparities between developed and developing countries and advocated for the fulfillment of international commitments in terms of Official Development Assistance, technology transfer and financing necessary for the development of the countries of the South.
Among others, the Declaration emphasizes continuing working “on the development of science and technology in developing countries by strengthening South-South cooperation, which is necessary to optimize our potential and complement our resources and expertise, while offering viable pathways to address common challenges among developing countries and to, inter alia, accelerate progress in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Delegates further encouraged “discussions on the possibilities of establishing new platforms for South-South cooperation and exchanges on science, technology and innovation.”
In particular, delegations “We urge the United Nations Regional Commissions, Agencies, Funds and Programs, in particular UNDP, UNESCO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, ITU and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, within their respective mandates, to make additional efforts to support developing countries in strengthening institutional frameworks and public policies related to science, technology and innovation.”