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Implementation of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism

The first annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals was held from 6 to 7 June 2016, convened by President of the Economic and Social Council.

The STI Forum serves as a venue to discuss cooperation in science, technology and innovation around thematic areas pertaining to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, bringing together all relevant stakeholders to actively contribute in their areas of expertise. The forum provides a venue for facilitating interaction, matchmaking and the establishment of networks between relevant stakeholders and multi-stakeholder partnerships in order to identify and examine technology needs and gaps, including with respect to scientific cooperation, innovation and capacity-building, and to help to facilitate the development, transfer and dissemination of relevant technologies for the SDGs.

Under the umbrella of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), the second STI Forum was held in New York on 15 and 16 May 2017. The Forum attracted more than 800 participants, representing a cross section of scientists, innovators, technology specialists, entrepreneurs, policymakers and civil society representatives. The Forum explored policies and actions for advancing STI to achieve the six SDGs up for review at the 2017 High-level Political Forum and proposed recommendations for action detailed in the Co-Chairs’ summary of the STI forum. The STI forum is organized by the United Nations Interagency Task Team on STI for the SDGs (IATT), which has been co-convened since September 2017 by UNCTAD and UN/DESA, and has 35 active members. The IATT and its members will develop an initial demo version of the online platform of the TFM, which is envisaged as a gateway for information on STI initiatives, mechanisms and programmes around the world, and it is expected to connect suppliers and users of technologies that advance progress towards achieving the SDGs.

The last of the three components of the technology facilitation mechanism is to develop an online platform as a gateway for information on existing STI initiatives, mechanisms and programs.

The TFM online platform will: (i) be used to establish a comprehensive mapping of, and serve as a gateway for, information on existing science, technology and innovation initiatives, mechanisms and programmes, within and beyond the United Nations; (ii) facilitate access to information, knowledge and experience, as well as best practices and lessons learned, on science, technology and innovation facilitation initiatives and policies; and (iii) facilitate the dissemination of relevant open access scientific publications generated worldwide.

As mandated by the 2030 Agenda, the online platform “will be developed on the basis of an independent technical assessment, which will take into account best practices and lessons learned from other initiatives, within and beyond the United Nations, in order to ensure that it will complement, facilitate access to and provide adequate information on existing science, technology and innovation platforms, avoiding duplications and enhancing synergies.”

In this context the IATT and the 10-Member Group of representatives from civil society, the private sector and the scientific community have undertaken consultations and developed terms of reference for the independent technical assessment. The independent technical assessment will include sections on: (i) architecture, functional requirements and user groups; (ii) stocktaking, benchmarking, best practices, and lessons learned from existing relevant online platforms, within and beyond the UN system; (iii) recommendations on management and governance structure and regular quality control of the platform; and (iv) an assessment of the benefits and potential financial costs. This assessment for the development of the online platform is underway and is expected to be presented at the 2017 STI Forum.

Work is also underway to design, develop and operationalize the TFM online platform, including preliminary collection of existing technology applications and initiatives in addressing sustainable development challenges.