UN tech mechanism has much promise but little funding

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The UN’s 2030 Agenda and a global deal in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last year on new financing arrangements for development established the Technology Facilitation Mechanism. The mechanism involves an annual forum on science, technology and innovation in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This forum is co-chaired by Ambassador Macharia Kamau, permanent representative of Kenya to the United Nations, and Vaughan Turekian, science and technology advisor to the secretary of state of the United States.

In this audio interview, they reflect on what went well at the forum’s first meeting, which took last week (6-7 June) at the UN headquarters in New York, United States. They also discuss future challenges for the mechanism, including the funding gap.

At the meeting, the ten-member advisory group to support the mechanism and the UN interagency task team on science, technology and innovation for the SDGs were clear that the annual forums should work in a cumulative way, building on a growing body of knowledge as opposed to reporting on 12 months of work.

In the closing session, Oh Joon, president of the UN Economic and Social Council, shared his own conclusions as potential focal points for the mechanism. These included:  strengthening national scientific capacity through education and dissemination; improving policy coherence around investment in research and the application of science for social outcomes; the need for technical road maps and action plans; and social innovation that is critical to addressing mindsets and behaviours that underpin the potential of science.