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UN Secretary-General Reflects on Science, Technology, Innovation in Sustainable Development

United Nations18 November 2013: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the roles that science, technology and innovation play in promoting progress and peace, ranging "from climate change to public health; from food security to sanitation; from disarmament to disaster preparedness.”

In a statement at Tallinn University in Estonia and a video message for the Connect Asia-Pacific Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, Ban identified three actions necessary to achieve sustainable development: “accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); establish a post-2015 agenda; and finalize a new climate change agreement.” To all three processes, Ban emphasized the importance of innovation. He observed that information and communications technology (ICT) can support equitable and sustainable economic and social development and help bridge development gaps, particularly for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS). Ban cited low-tech innovative solutions, from fuel-efficient cookstoves to solar-powered pans and water purification systems.

To increase awareness among policy-makers on the role of science and technology in addressing global challenges, Ban recommended: promoting pro-poor research and evidence-based policy-making that addresses the needs of the poor and vulnerable, such as small-scale farmers; training youth in engineering, math, science and technology; bridging the digital divide; and closing the gender gap in technology.

Ban also reflected on science and technology in his remarks commemorating the International Week of Science and Peace, which takes place annually during the week of 11 November. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) launched an interactive map of the information superhighway at the Summit, which illustrates the digital divide in the Asia-Pacific region. [UN Press Release on International Week] [Statement of UN Secretary-General for International Week] [UN Press Release on Estonia Visit] [Statement of UN Secretary-General in Estonia] [UN Press Release on Connect Asia-Pacific Summit] [Statement at Summit]