CSO Inputs on Science, Technology and Innovations

We emphasize that STI is not a monopoly of the formal sector, nor are technologies and innovations only transferred and diffused by the private sector and by industrialized countries.  Innovations and technological capabilities in developing countries should include the utilization of traditional, indigenous and informal knowledge systems that are adapted to the needs and situations of communities, accessible to the people who need them, use readily available resources and build on decentralized innovations.  Adoption of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) solutions to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be based on recognizing their potential contributions in addressing poverty, inequity and marginalization along with their risks to deepen societal gaps, and in understanding available technology options to suit specific needs, conditions and capacities of countries and communities.

Capabilities on “wide tech” based on the recognition of important contributions of diverse sources of STI should be promoted, away from the obsession with “high tech” that are often inappropriate and bleeds public resources dry to acquire, pay for licenses and maintain. Traditional knowledge, however, must be protected from misappropriation. Innovation funds must be established to support local technology development, cooperation and diffusion, promote traditional knowledge and harness community innovation capacities. Appropriate incentives must be provided by governments to local innovators particularly in deploying innovative solutions.

Publicly-funded technologies must remain in the public domain and must be made available to developing countries. Long term financing of innovations should also tap on locally available resources including micro-level institutional sources such as cooperatives, micro and social enterprises that are grounded and can quickly respond to community needs. Long term public financing should promote education to build national STI capabilities as a means to protect human rights, eradicate poverty, address inequalities, and empower women and marginalized populations – consistent with the 2030 vision that no one is left behind. Governance of STI must be made transparent and involve potentials users at every stage of the technology cycle.

We welcome the establishment of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) and have high expectations on its potentials to address the obstacles to genuine technology transfer and cooperation, and to enable developing countries to harness their innovation capacities.  The multistakeholder, open, transparent and inclusive processes that comprise the TFM should foster critical consideration of technology issues and options to support developing countries in decision making. Systemic issues in technology development and transfer such as restrictive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), trade issues and financing must be addressed head-on by the TFM as it provides guidance on STI for the attainment of the SDGs.

There must be a coherent and synergistic link between the annual FfD Forum and STI Forum, especially since both will directly feed into High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to advance the implementation of 2030 Agenda. The linkage could be along thematic lines based on multi-year work programmes to enrich the discussions in the HLPF in more substantive manner. The vital role of FfD to enable STI to support the achievement of the SDGs should provide the overall framework for that linkage. The multistakeholder nature of the FfD Forum and the TFM as a whole must be respected and operationalized including in ensuring accountability, agenda-setting and normative development.

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