Speaking at a side event organized by the European Commission (EC) on the margins of the third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), the Flavia Schlegel, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, underlined the critical role of science in designing the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and in providing the substance and the tools for its implementation and monitoring.
She called for breaking the disciplinary and sectorial silos and for engaging in a new multistakeholder multidisciplinary STI partnership to deliver the new sustainable development goals (SDGs). Noting the need for countries to assess their current STI capabilities and map their STI systems in view of tailoring them more resourcefully for the implementation of SDGs, she highlighted some tools which already exist to help countries in this exercise, such as the UNESCO’s GO-Spin and UNESCO Science Report.
Moderated by Ms Ulla Engelmann, EC, Joint Research Centre, the event focused on the role of STI for better scientific evidence and support for policy- making for sustainable development. In the panel discussion, Prof. Enrico Giovannini, Chairperson of the European Commission's independent 'Expert Grop on the Rio+20 follow-up, notably the SDGs', presented the first draft Recommendations of the Expert Group, focusing on policy coherence for sustainable development and the role of STI policies; harnessing STI policy and instruments towards the implementation of the SDGs; research and innovation in support of sustainable development; and options for international cooperation in STI in support of the SDGs.
Dr Mahama Ouédraogo, Acting Director of the Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology, African Union Commission, recalled the key action points of the STI Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA) and the importance of African Observatory of STI and regional scientific institutions, such as the Pan African University, moving forward.
Mr Patrick Gomes, Secretary-General, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, described the ACP Sugar Research and Innovation Program, highlighting the importance of its participatory and inclusive nature in ensuring that specific needs of the participating countries are addressed through its design and implementation.
Ms Daan du Toit, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Resources, South African Department of Science and Technology presented the work of the South African Department of Science and Technology and the National Strategy for Science and Technology.
Mr Berhanu Abegaz, Executive Director, African Academy of Sciences called for a better connection between science and policy including through the work of Academies of Sciences worldwide. He also raised the question of alignment between STISA and SDGs and the need for enhancing both the international as well as inter-African scientific collaboration for a successful implementation of the post 2015 agenda in Africa.