4th Development Policy Discussion : : Harnessing Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals
During the formulation of the 2030 Agenda, it was recognized that technology, science and capacity building are major pillars of the Means of Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to eradicate poverty and reorient current unsustainable development trajectories over the period 2015 to 2030,
affordable technological solutions have to be developed and disseminated widely in the next fifteen years. The research, development, deployment, and widespread diffusion of sound technologies in the context of a Green Economy is also closely linked to other core elements and means of implementation, including innovation, business opportunities and development, trade of environmental goods and services, finance and investment, and institutional capabilities. Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) play an indispensable role by resolving various emerging issues we face and by providing scientific data and analysis for better political decision.
Speaking at the first STI forum in June 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Over the next 15 years, progress in STI will be key to delivering on all the SDGs – from poverty eradication to agriculture and food security, to energy, to water and sanitation, and climate change.” “Innovation is embedded in the SDGs, together with advancing science and technology, as Goal 17, but STI must not be limited to SDG 17. They cut across all the SDGs as an important element of implementation.” He said that innovation is also a mindset and an attitude and it means questioning assumptions, rethinking established systems and procedures, and introducing new strategies. Linking science, technology and innovation with progress in sustainable development at the ground level is the greatest challenge. It is crucial that all stakeholders from government, universities, research agencies and institutes, NGOs and private sectors take transformative steps in a holistic manner toward STI for SDGs.
This is what Malaysia aspires to do. Malaysia has an overarching goal of becoming a developed nation that is inclusive and sustainable by the year 2020 with a society that is stable, peaceful, cohesive and resilient. A central challenge to the government is establishing a scientifically advanced and progressive society, one that is innovative and forward-looking, which is not only a consumer of technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilization of the future. This challenge underscores the important role of STI, particularly in facing the rapid changes of a globalized and competitive world. Realizing that STI are central to propel the socio-economic landscape of the nation. STI must be strengthened and mainstreamed into all sectors and at all levels of national development agenda. STI should be pervasive and touch the lives of every Malaysian.
The National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation 2013-2020 aims to harness STI for Socio-economic Transformation and Inclusiveness. It states that this overarching STI policy is also crucial to harmonize and consolidate all of our STI activities and programmes. It is an essential component that should be placed at the centre stage of all national development plans and strategies. Its strategic thrusts include: Advancing Scientific and Social Research, Development and Commercialization; Developing, Harnessing and Intensifying Talent; Energizing Industries; Transforming STI Governance; Promoting and Sensitizing STI; Enhancing Strategic International Alliances. These policy objectives are closely aligned with the SDGs. The question is how will these be implemented and translated into reality?
ASLI-CPPS and the CSO-SDG Alliance is hosting the 4th in a series of development policy discussion roundtables to review these STI development policies and programmes from different perspectives and to make some sense of all these so as to as well as to ensure that these are not just mere proclamations but are really grounded on policy review, analysis and data so that all Malaysian will be able to experience a better quality of life now and in the future in a sustainable way and ensure that “no one is left behind”.