United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United Kingdom

UK Statement for joint FFD/ post 2015 session on technology facilitation mechanism, and other science, technology and innovation issues


Thank you to the distinguished Ambassadors of Brazil and Switzerland for briefing us.

The UK aligns itself with the remarks made by the European Union on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

We would like to make three brief points.

First, to emphasise that investment in science, technology and innovation for sustainable development has yielded tangible results. Through our development assistance, the UK has helped develop anti-malarial drugs for young children, vaccines to prevent TB, diarrhoeal disease and HIV, and technologies for carbon capture and storage, just to give a few examples. The UK spends 3% of its development assistance budget on research – around £300 million last year - and our centrally funded research is now open and free to access online. In addition the UK is the largest donor to the $5.5bn multilateral Clean Technology Fund.

Our second point is the role of government. While government investment can be catalytic and help reduce risk, the most valuable contribution from government is to provide a conducive environment for investment, innovation, technology development and technology sharing, including through clear regulatory frameworks, good economic governance, rule of law and effective enforcement of rules, as has been emphasised in both the Finance for Development Zero Draft and the Open Working Group’s proposal for SDGs.

Third, developing and sharing technology is not just a North/South issue – increasingly, upper middle income countries are major technology innovators. Just to give a couple of examples: In 2011 China was home to four of the top five solar cell producing companies , 15,717 patent applications were filed on behalf of Indian companies and individuals . Over the next 15 years we can expect South-South and Triangular Cooperation in this area to greatly increase. For this reason, all countries should be looking to increase their bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation on science and technology to help implement the SDGs.

I will conclude by emphasising, as have others, the potential of the Technology Bank and Science, Technology and Innovation Supporting Mechanism for the Least Developed Countries – the feasibility of which is currently being reviewed by a high level panel of experts - to contribute to the development and sharing of technology necessary for achieving the SDGs.

Thank you