Ministerial review discusses role of STI in achieving MDGs

© UNESCO, Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana (Kenya), which now has access to a sustainable water supply, thanks to a UNESCO project which identified where to drill boreholes. These are now being drilled acrossthe drought-stricken region.

Every year, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) organizes a ministerial review. This year, the event took place from 1 to 26 July 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. It provided an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the role that science, technology and innovation (STI) can play in promoting sustainable development and achieving each and every one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.

This theme is particularly timely, in that the international community is currently elaborating a post-2015 development agenda. One major challenge will be to ensure the continued mobilization of ECOSOC members when it comes to following up the decisions adopted at this year’s Ministerial Forum, both at the national and international levels. Addressing the challenge of sustainable development will demand stronger national STI systems that are linked to internationally agreed development goals. This will entail facilitating the interface between science, policy and society, improving scientific collaboration and strengthening STI policies and education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Annual Ministerial Review also explored the potential of culture and cultural policies for achieving the MDGs.

UNESCO coordinated the preparation of the report of the UN Secretary-General for this event, entitled A wide range of UN bodies contributed to the report.

UNESCO also coordinated two of the nine ministerial breakfasts during the high-level segment (1-4 July): Culture and innovation in the post-2015 development agenda (2 July) and STI for global sustainability (3 July), the latter in tandem with the International Social Science Council.

UNESCO organized a side event on 2 July on women in science, together with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), International Telecommunications Union and the International Federation of University Women. Several women researchers shared their experiences and ideas of how to incite women to choose a career in research.

UNESCO has contributed to the Annual Ministerial Review in other ways. It moderated an online forum on the theme of the review, for instance, and mobilized early career scientists and science journalists through its networks. UNESCO also organized an exhibition at the ECOSOC Innovation Fair, where books, CDs and posters from UNESCO’s main science programmes were on display.

Highlights of the sessions organized by UNESCO and its partners

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