Those whose jobs entail participating or supporting world leaders in multilateral summits will agree: getting all parties to reach an agreement is almost impossible. This is why ‘communiqués’ – the public statements issued following an important meeting – are such a big deal. After days, months, or even years of exhausting discussions, these documents officially announce the results of the talks and synthesize the most important points that were hopefully agreed upon. For journalists, communiqués often represent the breakthrough of a significant story. Sometimes they even help to write a new chapter in history. In 1972, for instance, the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué by the then U.S. president, Richard Nixon, and the Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong, ended 23 years of diplomatic isolation between the two countries and paved the way for an era of peaceful coexistence that was beneficial for the whole world.
Communiqués not only foster a powerful sense of unity but also establish the framework for continued action and to solidify relationships. In this vein, the ‘G-STIC High-Level Representatives’ Communiqué on the Urgent Need to Accelerate the Implementation of the UN 2030′ stands as a landmark in the contributions made by the Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Community (G-STIC) towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This document emerged from a dialogue among high-level authorities during the sixth G-STIC Conference held in February 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marking the first of its kind. The meeting, hosted by Mr. Mario Moreira, President of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), along with other G-STIC co-hosts, had the distinct honor of welcoming Ambassador Macharia Kamau, one of the architects of the 2030 Agenda, for the official reading of the Communiqué.
A milestone in the journey of G-STIC
The primary objective of the High-Level Dialogue at G-STIC Rio was to compile a set of recommendations and initiatives that enhance resilience, sustainable development, and inclusiveness to prevent and prepare for future crises. This pack would be presented during the eighth annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum) at the United Nations headquarters in New York. This edition of the STI Forum held particular significance as it expanded its contributions to include discussions on leveraging science, technology, and innovation (STI) for the SDGs, while also providing inputs for the mid-term review of SDG progress scheduled for September 2023. This convergence made the Forum an opportune platform for G-STIC to present its inaugural communiqué and bolster its engagement in these global conventions. Undoubtedly, the G-STIC Rio Communiqué marked a pivotal milestone in the journey of G-STIC.
An immediate call-to-action for the SDGs
The remarkable and comprehensive discussions encompassed by the G-STIC Rio Communiqué is matched by the powerful message it conveys. In the face of numerous concurrent crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, as well as energy insecurity and military conflicts, the Communiqué acknowledges the disruption caused by these crises, which have impeded years of progress towards the SDGs while exposing global inequities, vulnerabilities, and unsustainable practices. It calls for immediate action to accelerate SDG implementation and alignment with the 2030 deadline. In recognition of the critical role of STI, the document emphasizes their potential to expedite the transition towards a more sustainable and inclusive world for all, irrespective of age, gender identity, disabilities, culture, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or economic status. By stressing the necessity of placing people at the center, the Communiqué underscores that global sustainable development can only be achieved through an approach that addresses poverty, promotes social equity, ensures environmental protection, and includes people’s participation while prioritizing their rights and well-being.
Combining scientific expertise and community knowledge
Among the notable features of the G-STIC Rio Communiqué, it is worth highlighting its advocacy for STI solutions that combine scientific expertise with community knowledge, referred to as ‘social technologies’. This approach emphasizes the inclusion of traditional communities, indigenous peoples, and diverse gender and cultural perspectives, ensuring their meaningful participation in all stages of public policy formulation. Additionally, the document pressed for support for local production of STI, technology transfer, and international collaboration to reduce asymmetries in access to STI and public goods, especially in developing countries, by fostering cooperation and enhancing local innovation ecosystems. For that matter, the signatories emphasize the need for innovative business and financing models.
As the G-STIC Rio Communiqué urges a global recommitment to the 2030 Agenda, it advocates for a compassionate approach to development that embraces the diversity and knowledge of people, respects planetary boundaries, and harnesses the potential of biodiversity to create sustainable solutions that benefit both nature and humanity. These values will certainly enhance G-STIC’s capacity to foster an inspiring and holistic environment for promoting innovative technologies that address the world’s most pressing challenges. We extend an invitation to all to join us on this journey by endorsing G-STIC’s inaugural communiqué, which we hope will be the first of many.
This article reflects the opinion of the executive committee of G-STIC Rio, composed of Cibele Reschke (journalist and international relations advisor), Danielly Magalhães (scientific advisor), Guto Galvão (senior researcher) and Paulo Gadelha (coordinator of the Fiocruz Strategy for the 2030 Agenda).