Science for SIDS: Pacific Dialogue on Science and Science Policy for the SDGs
Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences Flavia Schlegel spoke today at the opening session of the first ‘Dialogue on Science and Science Policy for the SDGs in the Pacific SIDS’. This high-level ministerial meeting, organized in cooperation with the Government of Samoa and the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA), aims to assess the needs and opportunities for bridging the gaps between science, technology and innovation (STI) systems and policy-makers in the Pacific SIDS, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals and UNESCO’s SIDS Action Plan.
In her opening remarks, Ms Flavia Schlegel highlighted the importance of STI as a main pillar, an enabler and a driver to achieve the 2030 Agenda. “STI has the potential and the power to address major challenges such as degradation and environmental restoration; adaptation to climate change, disaster risk reduction and minimizing loss and damage; challenges such as existing and emerging diseases; youth unemployment, economic instability and social inequities”, she said.
“The significant impact of climate change on small islands in the Pacific can only be understood and addressed through science policy making. Science, technology, and innovation are effective tools to build our cities through natural disasters and risks,” added the Honorable Prime Minister Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi officially opening the meeting.
According to the UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2015), “climate change seems to be the most pressing environmental issue for developing Pacific island countries, as it is already affecting almost all socio-economic sectors. The consequences of climate change can be seen in agriculture, food security, forestry and even in the spread of communicable diseases”. Another important issue is the lack of data for measuring capability in science, technology and innovation and informing policy-making processes.
Over two days participants will discuss the Pacific Regional Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap developed by the Pacific–Europe Network for Science, Technology and Innovation (PACE-Net Plus), exchange on the existing practices and STI policy initiatives in the region and share information on the status of STI in their countries. The meeting will also provide an opportunity for dialogue amongst Pacific Island Countries and Territories and with the international community about the specific needs for science and STI advice to contribute to evidence based policy-making. At the end of the two-day dialogue, participants will formulate recommendations and way forward for STI policy and science advice in the Pacific.
The high-level dialogue is organized by the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States through its Natural Science sector together with the INGSA, Samoa’s National Commission for UNESCO, the National University of Samoa, the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa, and with the support of the Government of New Zealand.
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