United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

TFM Progress Update by IATT

Progress Update
Technology Facilitation Mechanism
UN Inter-agency Task Team


In July 2015 in Addis Ababa, UN Member States agreed to create a Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) in recognition of the key role of science, technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The TFM has three components: i) a UN Inter-agency Task Team (IATT) on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs, ii) a collaborative annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum); and iii) the development of an Online Platform to serve as a gateway for information on existing STI initiatives, mechanisms and programs within and beyond the UN system.

The IATT was constituted at the Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, now counts 31 members from the UN system and continues to grow. In January 2016, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a group of 10 eminent representatives from civil society, the scientific community and the private sector to work with IATT to support the implementation of the TFM (10-Member Group).

The IATT and 10-Member Group have collaborated closely on preparations to operationalize the TFM, with high priority given to the inaugural STI Forum. They prepared the concept for the STI Forum, identified key resource persons, organized several side events, and supported the organization of innovative features of the Forum, including a worldwide Call for Innovations and an Exhibition Hub in which selected innovations will be featured, as well as online discussions on STI whose content will inform the discussions at the STI Forum. The first STI Forum will gather over 300 policy makers, researchers, innovators, developers and users of technologies, entrepreneurs, representatives of civil society and international organizations. It will provide them with a platform to discuss pathways of common action, policy frameworks for and concrete examples of harnessing STI for the implementation of the SDGs.

The 10-Member Group and the IATT have moved forward in identifying the next steps for carrying out an independent technical assessment for the Online Platform that will constitute a core element of the TFM.

Through the IATT, UN organizations are strengthening their collaboration and coordination on STI. The IATT has conducted initial discussions on enhancing synergy and efficiency within the UN with respect related to STI for SDGs, including enhancing capacity-building initiatives. It is currently carrying out a mapping of STI initiatives within the UN system. It is envisioned that this mapping will be complemented by information on initiatives beyond the UN system, as well as existing needs assessments, in order to develop a meaningful basis for identifying potential gaps and synergies. The IATT is also working to identify potential sources of funding, and to devise a strategy for mobilizing resources to support the work of the TFM.

Going forward, the IATT will continue to work closely with all interested Member States and the 10-Member Group, in order to realize the potential of the TFM to support the implementation of the SDGs. The STI Forum will provide an ideal opportunity for the IATT to receive feedback from Member States and other key stakeholders in the fields of STI. A summary of the Co-Chairs of the STI Forum will serve as input to the meetings of the High-level Political Forum in the context of the follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Up-to-date information on the TFM can be accessed at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/TFM

Current members of the Inter-agency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs:

• Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
• International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
• International Maritime Organization (IMO)
• International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
• International Trade Centre (ITC)
• United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
• United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
• United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) [current co-chair]
• United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
• United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
• United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Africa (UNESCWA)
• United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
• United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
• United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) [current co-chair]
• United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
• United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
• United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHabitat)
• United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
• United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
• United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
• United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
• United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)
• United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UNOHRLLS)
• United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (UNOICT)
• United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
• United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
• World Bank Group
• World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
• World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
• World Trade Organization (WTO)