Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message, delivered by Maria Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, to the Economic and Social Council Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, held today:
I am pleased to send greetings to this important forum. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed as never before the importance of science, technology and innovation for our well-being and survival. Not only have we seen a vaccine delivered in record time, but the crisis has also increased innovation in medicines and digital communications technologies. Scientific discovery and collaborations have accelerated and new ways of delivering services have proliferated.
These advances hold promise for our collective challenges beyond COVID-19 — including limiting climate disruption, reducing inequalities, including the digital divide, and ending our war on nature. However, today, billions of people remain almost entirely excluded from the benefits of the information and technology revolution — especially the more than 3 billion people without Internet access, most of them women — and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing digital and technology divides.
It is essential that we work together — across borders, sectors and disciplines — to make science and technology work for everyone. Multi-stakeholder cooperation will continue to be the key, helping us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, address climate change, end the biodiversity and pollution crises and rise to our other common challenges.
The United Nations Technology Facilitation Mechanism is designed to promote multi-stakeholder collaboration on technological progress. So, too, is the Road Map for Digital Cooperation, which I launched last year. I count on this Forum to advance its vision of harnessing the full potential of science and technology for the benefit of all people, everywhere.