United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Union

Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations
- Joint session between FfD and Post-2015 processes -
21-24 April, New York

EU statement
for the discussion of Technology Facilitation Mechanism and other STI issues
Wednesday, 22 April

delivered by
Mr. Gaspar Frontini,
Head of Unit – Policy and Coherence
DG DEVCO, European Commission

As stressed several times, including last week, we are strongly convinced of the importance of science, technology and innovation (STI) as important drivers for our transition towards a sustainable development pathway after 2015. STI underpin the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Innovation is also part of the proposed Goal number 9. We believe that we need to frame our discussion today within this broader context. We also believe that this view is coherent with the alignment between the FfD and post-2015 tracks on these issues. Also, a broad approach to STI is fully in line with what was already adopted back in Rio 1992 within Agenda 21 where technology facilitation was envisaged in terms of cooperation, transfer of know-how, as well as capacity building.
The success of a sustainable development agenda requires a world-wide effort which will benefit from, and will be accelerated through, cooperation in STI. Appropriate enabling environments and regulatory framework, including for Intellectual Property Rights protection at all level in accordance with the World Trade Organisation rules, and investments at domestic level have key roles to play. Similarly, acquisition of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics skills, capacities and know-how, access to financing, entrepreneurship and foreign direct investments are all necessary elements. Participation of the private sector, including through Public Private Partnerships and collaborative platforms in accelerating knowledge application, and technology leapfrogging, development and transfer, is critical and should be recognized as a key enabler in the MOI framework.
We would therefore like to recall that the EU and its Member States are very active in international cooperation in research and innovation on, and support to, sustainable development both within Europe and globally. Horizon 2020, the EU framework programme for research and innovation, is unique among similar initiatives in that it is fully open to the world. Common interest and mutual benefits are key aspects of our global commitment to co-creation of solutions, as well as knowledge sharing for sustainable development.

Last year we conducted a series of useful structured dialogues on possible arrangements for a facilitation mechanism to promote the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technology. The dialogues revealed that a large number of ongoing activities are already taking place to promote research and innovation, as well as development and/or transfer of technology and that a number of technology facilitation mechanisms and initiatives have been set up, including at UN level and under the Rio Conventions.

At the end of the process in July 2014, there was an emerging consensus among member states about functions identified in the dialogues, which if addressed, would further promote the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies. The President of the General Assembly, in his recommendations from the dialogues, outlined three functions for a technology facilitation mechanism: 1/ mapping of existing technology facilitation mechanisms, frameworks and process on clean and environmentally sound technologies through creation of an online knowledge-sharing platform; 2/ improved UN inter-agency coherence on technology facilitation through better coordination; and 3/ further promotion of technology needs assessments and capacity building. The PGA’s recommendations were further elaborated in the Secretary General's Synthesis Report. While we do not necessarily agree with all details in these reports, we are ready to engage in further consideration of these issues within our broader discussions on STI in the context of the Addis preparations.

The post-2015 agenda should serve as a framework for encouraging all countries to step up solution-oriented cooperation and capacity building in science, technology and innovation for sustainable development. It is important for us that research and innovation respond to the needs of the society and are based on the co-design, co-development and co-delivery of solutions, including through partnerships between relevant stakeholders from governments, civil society, the research community, the private sector and the UN. In this respect, we welcome initiatives like the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability and its flagship initiative Future Earth that are centred on the co-generation of knowledge in partnership with society and users of science.

Thank you.