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Actions within the United Nations or by the United Nations system

Implementation of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism

The UN Inter-agency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (IATT-STI) was established in September 2015, with the membership of 31 organisations of the UN system and is currently co-chaired by UN-DESA and UNEP. Its work is structured around four substantive clusters, including secretariat, forums, analysis and programming as well as outreach and engagement, to support the work programme of the TFM in a systematic, synergetic and integrative manner. In addition to the IATT-STI, the 10-Member Group to Support the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (10-MG), consisting of ten high-level representatives of academia, civil society and private sector, has been appointed by the SG in January 2016 for a first two-year term (2016-2017) and is closely collaborating with the IATT. The 10-MG and IATT-STI work together with the ECOSOC Presidency and the co-chairs appointed for each annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs, to prepare the forum and carry out inter-sessional activities.

The Technology Bank for the LDCs

The Addis Agenda reiterated the call from the Istanbul Programme for the creation of a Technology Bank for the LDCs. On 23 December 2016 the United Nations General Assembly established the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries. In September 2017, the United Nations and the Government of Turkey signed the Host Country Agreement and the Contribution Agreement, and in November, the Council of the Technology Bank adopted the programme of work and budget for 2018. During its first year of work, the Technology Bank, in collaboration with other United Nations entities, including UNCTAD and UNESCO, will focus on preparing STI reviews and technology needs assessments and on promoting digital access to research and technical knowledge in selected LDCs.

Additional actions by the UN system

Several United Nations agencies have also invested considerably in enhancing capacity development for STI. Some agencies developed guidelines and e-learning tools (e.g., the Food and Agriculture Organization), created new training mechanisms, such as academies and virtual institutes (e.g., the International Labour Organization and UNCTAD), implemented pilot projects in volunteering and capacity-building (UNDP-UNV), and carried out technical assistance initiatives to enhance capacities in the field of technology and innovation (WIPO). In particular, WIPO’s Technology & Innovation Support Center (TISC) initiative aims to assist local users to create, protect, own and manage their own intellectual property rights, strengthen the local technological base and increase technology transfer through Service Level Agreements with national IP Offices.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA) is implementing a four-year project for mobilizing STI in developing countries for the SDGs. UNCTAD continues to support the development of national capacities in the STI policy field through its science, technology and innovation policy (STIP) reviews, and is currently revising the framework with a view to incorporate SDG considerations into the STIP reviews. To prevent the evolving digital economy from leading to widening digital divides and greater income inequalities, UNCTAD launched the eTrade for all initiative in 2016 [https://etradeforall.org/].

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has a large capacity-building programme focusing on strengthening skills among its membership in a wide range of ICT-related topics. Through the ITU Academy, which has more than 10,000 users, and its Centres of Excellence network, it delivers face-to-face and e-learning courses to beneficiaries from all regions.