Science, technology and innovation critical enablers for sustainable development

As Asia-Pacific economies drive the global recovery, it is our shared responsibility to ensure that the tools of science, technology and innovation are employed to build a life of dignity for all, said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, during her inaugural visit to Beijing this week.

Dr. Akhtar was in Beijing for the 17th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo (CHITEC) and the China Financial Summit 2014, where she shared her views on the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in promoting sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

“For sustainable development to have the greatest impact and highest chance of success, science, technology and innovation must be embraced as enablers of our post-2015 development agenda,” explained Dr. Akhtar in her opening remarks at CHITEC.

“STI require greater nurturing and support, especially in terms of financing, to accelerate research and development for innovation, to facilitate wider sharing of knowledge and to enhance the adoption and adaptation of best technologies.

“Properly supported, shared and targeted STI can make the difference in our global efforts to end poverty, hunger, deprivation and inequality,” emphasized Dr. Akhtar. “They can help us to leap-frog outdated approaches, overcome resource scarcity and reverse generations of environmental degradation.”

Dr. Akhtar stressed that the rising pressures of existing and emerging challenges require a fresh look at science, technology and innovation and a renewed commitment to better partnerships, especially in regional and South-South cooperation.

Trade and investment facilitation, national innovation financing programs and enhancing human resource development to increase absorptive capacity for innovation and technology where highlighted by Dr. Akhtar as keys to mainstreaming STI in future agendas.

As part of her mission, Dr. Akhtar also visited ESCAP’s regional institution based in Beijing, the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM).