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COVID-19 ‘Wake-Up Call’ for Better International Technology Cooperation, Public Trust in Science, Secretary-General Tells High-Level Sustainable Development Dialogue

Following is the text of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ keynote video message to the high-level dialogue on sustainable development at the Global Sustainable Technology & Innovation Community, in Brussels today:

My warm greetings to this dialogue on sustainable development.  Thank you for all you do to promote sustainable technology and innovation around the globe.  You have gathered as our world confronts some of the greatest collective trials of our lifetimes — the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and vast and growing inequalities.

Science and technology are crucial to the solutions.  Advances in biotechnology, for example, have helped speed up virus identification, testing, drug and vaccine development.  Digital technologies are enabling remote working and learning.

But, these responses have also highlighted inequalities in capabilities and access within and across countries.  The pandemic is a wake-up call for a better relationship between science and policymaking, for more effective international technology cooperation and for building public trust in science.   The revolution in science and technology continues to accelerate — along with its broad impacts on the economy, society and environment.  We must ensure that these advances benefit all.

Five years ago, United Nations Member States launched a Technology Facilitation Mechanism to harness science, technology and innovation to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Mechanism is designed to help bring Government decision-makers and the United Nations system closer to the pulse of technological progress.

Under its umbrella, 43 United Nations entities and an external group of 10 representatives of science, civil society and the private sector work together.  Initiatives like the Global Sustainable Technology & Innovation Community are well placed to mobilize scientific and technological actors to find integrated and scalable solutions.

You can continue to count on the United Nations to help in realizing the full potential of new and emerging technologies for tackling our many challenges.  I am confident that your discussions will contribute to this important effort.  Thank you for your engagement and commitment.

For information media. Not an official record.