Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim at the 7th United Nations Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the SDGs

1 June 2022

Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim moderates thematic session one on STIs

On 5th – 6th May, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Co-chair of the UN 10-Member-Group  of high-level representatives appointed by the Secretary General, participated in the 7th Annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI) hosted by the UN Economic and Social Council at the UN Headquarters in New York with online participation.

The UN Interagency Task Team for use of STI for the SDGs (UNIATT) through the leadership of the Chairpersons of the 2022 STI forum, Ambassador Kennedy Gastorn (Tanzania) and Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya (Ukraine); the UN Secretary General’s 10 Member Group, and DESA and UNCTAD, developed the agenda for this forum. The Forum deliberated on the role of science, technology and innovation for “building back” from the COVID-19 pandemic and for accelerating progress towards the SDGs, with an emphasis on SDG4 on quality education, SDG5 on gender equality, SDG14 on life below water, SDG15 on life on land, and SDG17 on partnerships - the in-focus SDGs under review at 2022 High level political forum (HLPF) this year.

Abdool Karim delivered invited interventions in three sessions:  the virtual exhibition featuring the winners of UN distinctive science and innovation awards that profiled three distinguished women scientists; reflections on the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) and the concluding session on reflections on lessons learnt at this forum.  In addition, she moderated thematic session one on STIs at the Covid-19 conjuncture that concluded, among other issues, that while major progress is being made in research on new kinds of vaccines that will protect against COVID-19 and other coronaviruses, and on ways to prevent continued infections; global cooperation on research and deployment and much increased levels of funding is urgently needed, to make sure the world is prepared and able to provide access to vaccines and related medical supplies for all.

The Forum provided a timely opportunity to identify solutions to a number of challenges the world is currently facing, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the impacts of artificial intelligence, education and technology gaps, climate change, as well as the wider global impacts related to the war in Ukraine. These crises have been stopping or reversing years of development progress in many countries, threatening to put the SDGs out of reach, and to trigger a lost decade for developing countries. The Forum highlighted science, technology, and innovation solutions to support the achievement of the SDGs. 

Among other issues, the Forum examined the actions needed for enhancing national, regional, and global innovation ecosystems and research cooperation and partnerships; the promises and potential risks of emerging science and technologies; and technology divides. It highlighted concrete solutions in the areas of carbon dioxide removal technologies and identified lessons-learnt for policymakers from the latest sustainable development scenarios.