Showcasing market-ready technological solutions and deployment policies for the SDGs at the STI Forum 2019

Dietrich Van der Weken | April 30, 2019

Dietrich Van der Weken | April 30, 2019

For the second time, G-STIC organises a Special Event in the context of the STI Forum. This G-STIC Event is one of two special events held outside of the STI Forum 2019 dates of May 14-15. Both our G-STIC Event on Thursday, May 16 and the Global Solutions Summit (GSS) on Monday, May 13, connect seamlessly with the STI Forum’s objectives while offering plenty of networking and matchmaking opportunities.

If you want to be part of the technological transitions that will move the world onto a more sustainable development path, then participation in the STI Forum and these special events is more than worthwhile. Let me explain why, and provide you with more information on each of them:

What is the STI Forum?

STI Forum

The STI Forum is a collaborative Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the SDGs. It is prepared by IATT, the United Nations Interagency Task Team on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the SDGs, and the 10-Member Group appointed by the UN Secretary-General as representatives of civil society, the private sector, and the scientific community.

G-STIC Special Event & Global Solutions Summit are organised on the occasion of the STI Forum at UN HQ

The STI Forum is part of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), which was launched by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to support the implementation of the SDGs. The TFM is to facilitate multi-stakeholder collaboration and partnerships through the sharing of information, experiences, best practices, and policy advice among the Member States, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community, United Nations entities, and other stakeholders.

The STI Forum pursues the following objectives:

  • discuss science, technology and innovation cooperation around thematic areas for the implementation of the SDGs;
  • identify and examine technology needs and gaps, including concerning scientific cooperation, innovation, and capacity-building;
  • facilitate interaction, matchmaking and the establishment of networks between relevant stakeholders and multi-stakeholder partnerships;
  • facilitate development, transfer, and dissemination of relevant technologies for the SDGs;
  • assess the impact of rapid technological change (including in cases in which changes may occur at an exponential pace) on the achievement of the SDGs.

There is a clear purpose of establishing the STI Forum as a continuum of annual events from 2016 to 2030, each edition building upon the previous one to progressively develop a roadmap of policy and practical initiatives to support the use of STI for the SDGs. Similarly, the IATT and the 10-Member Group seek to create links between STI-related activities such as the GSS Global Solutions Summit and the G-STIC conferences and to draw inputs from multiple sources and communities that can feed into the outcomes of the STI Forum.

The STI Forum 2019 theme

The theme of the fourth STI Forum is “Science, Technology and Innovation for ensuring inclusiveness and equality, with a special focus on SDGs 4, 8, 10, 13, and 16”, in line with the theme of the 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.  The HLPF is the leading United Nations platform on sustainable development, and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs at the global level.

UN member states have decided that the HLPF 2019 is to focus on five SDGs:

  • SDG 4: Quality Education
  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10: Reduced Inequality
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

in addition to SDG 17 (Sustainable Development through Global Partnerships) that will be considered at each HLPF.

The STI Forum 2019, co-chaired by Barbados and the Czech Republic, includes sessions dedicated to these SDGs and to several cross-cutting issues, including rapid technological change, STI for SDG roadmaps, youth and women perspective, and harnessing indigenous knowledge.

Market-ready technological solutions for the SDGs

G-STIC logo (blue, horizontal)

G-STIC connects seamlessly with one of the STI Forum’s objectives to help facilitate the development, transfer, and dissemination of appropriate technologies for the SDGs.

Successful 2017 and 2018 editions have firmly established G-STIC as a key meeting place and a global platform for integrated technological solutions that have the potential to achieve the SDGs. Integrated technological solutions focus on working across and beyond traditional sectors to deliver real benefits to people, communities, businesses, and society at large. Integrated technological solutions address multiple SDGs at the same time, covering aspects of health, housing, food, water, education, energy, and climate.

Market-ready technological solutions for the SDGs will be showcases at the STI Forumm 2019

G-STIC 2019 marks the launch of a new phase. With the 2019 edition, G-STIC moves from “raising awareness on the need of transformative technologies to achieve the SDGs” towards “identifying clusters of market-ready, integrated technological solutions that can make a major contribution to the achievement of the SDGs, and discussing the critical levers of change that are needed to deploy these solutions at scale under different socio-economic conditions around the world.”

Starting with the 2019 edition, G-STIC increasingly focuses on real-world examples of integrated technological solutions and cross-sectoral approaches. Our ultimate objective is to help establish systematic and well-documented approaches to come to a library of integrated technological solutions and to provide a one-stop shop for knowledge about transformative technological innovations that cut across industrial sectors, foster economic development and inspire societies to move toward more sustainable development patterns.

Our Special G-STIC Event on May 16, therefore, showcases some of these market-ready, integrated technological solutions as examples of doable ways to bring about paradigm shifts and move societies and economies onto more sustainable development paths.


Scaling technology deployment for the SDGs

Global Solutions Summit 2019

The 2030 Agenda requires new ways of doing business, and deep technological transitions are part and parcel of it. All over the world, technological innovations exist (from wastewater treatment, desalination, mining, carbon capture, and use,… to the use of big data, artificial intelligence, 3D-printing,…) that allow countries to jumpstart sustainable economic development and become market leaders in the emerging green economy.

However, technology development is only the first step on the long road from the lab to the achievement of the SDGs. The crucial next step is transforming technological solutions into affordable products and services, and getting them into the hands of hundreds of millions of people in tens of thousands of urban and rural communities across the globe. This next step is the one where inclusive disruptive innovation occurs, and where new markets are created that serve people for whom either no products existed or existing products were neither affordable nor accessible. Inclusive disruptive innovation occurs when entrepreneurs develop innovative business models and harness the surrounding ecosystem to deploy technological solutions at scale in new, unique and inclusive ways.

Building a more effective and efficient ecosystem for scaling technology deployment for the SDGs” is the theme of this year’s Global Solutions Summit (GSS), the STI Forum Special Event that is highly complementary to G-STIC. GSS 2019 focuses on:

  • inclusive disruptive innovation, and how it is related to the quest of harnessing STI for the SDGs;
  • building a local ecosystem to facilitate technology deployment. While technology deployment is difficult enough on a small scale, deployment to achieve the SDGs is an exponentially more difficult challenge that requires nothing less than making the transition from incremental change to large-scale disruptive change.

GSS 2019 showcases specific policies and programmes that multilateral and bilateral development agencies, national and local governments, social enterprises, equipment vendors, local SMEs, foundations, and NGOs can support to create a stronger and more vibrant local deployment ecosystem – one that facilitates the deployment of inclusive disruptive innovations on a scale proportionate to the scope of the SDG challenges.

Dietrich Van der Weken

Since January 2017, Dietrich Van der Weken is the General Manager of the G-STIC conferences series initiated by VITO, the prime research and technology organization in Belgium. Dietrich joined VITO in July 2009, focusing on cleantech innovation. Until December 2016, Dietrich was the Program Manager of MIP, the Environmental and Energy Technology Innovation Platform, a subsidy program that focuses on accelerating the transition to the sustainable management of energy, materials, and water. Dietrich holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics, obtained at Ghent University, Belgium.

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