Science, technology and innovation (STI) and culture for sustainable development and the MDGs


In 2013, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will have the chance to put a spotlight on the role of science, technology and innovation, and the potential of culture – and related national and international policies – in promoting sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Indeed, science, technology and innovation can play a critical role in each and every MDG, including by:

  • fostering access to knowledge;
  • increasing productivity, industrialization, economic growth and the creation of decent jobs;
  • promoting health and access to essential drugs;
  • achieving food security through sustainable, equitable agricultural systems and by raising production and incomes, especially of smallholder farms;
  • promoting renewable energy technologies in order to respond to the dual challenge of reducing energy poverty while mitigating climate change.  

Focusing on science, technology and innovation is also an opportunity to follow up to the Rio +20 outcome, which will have a significant focus on green technologies.

Science and technology are continuously evolving, influenced by structural shifts in the world economy, the steady globalization of innovative activity, the rise in new actors and new ways of innovating. Managing existing technology and non-technological innovation also counts. National and international policies, including intellectual property systems, need to adapt to this evolving environment and address the special needs of different countries, especially the least developed countries (LDCs).

Report of the Secretary General on “Science, technology and innovation (STI), and the potential of culture, for promoting sustainable development and achieving the MDGs”

In order to ensure a comprehensive, coherent report on STI and culture, the Secretariat requested inputs and information on relevant programmes from across the UN system. The following inputs were received:


Regional meetings are key preparatory activities leading to the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (AMR). They focus on a topic related to the AMR theme that is of particular relevance to the region hosting the consultations and facilitate: a) exchange of views among different stakeholders; b) review of regional progress and challenges; c) sharing of good practices; d) generation of action-oriented recommendations; and e) identification of regional perspectives to be reflected in the AMR.

UN System

Given the significant potential of the 2013 AMR theme in promoting the global development agenda, ECOSOC could effectively use its role as a coordination body by placing science and technology and innovation-related issues high on national and international priorities.  Principal partners from the UN system will include the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and UN Regional Commissions.  Additional UN entities with specific expertise in certain focus areas will also be consulted.

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