The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us yet again of the importance of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in tackling any crisis situation while remaining on track with Agenda 2030. The digital infrastructure has helped us to remain connected, and to ensure business continuity despite the global lockdown. At the same time, it has revealed the disparities that exist between countries, the developed and the developing worlds in terms of access to the benefits of STI. It also revealed that its untapped potentials are huge.
Allow me to reiterate a few points in this regard:
First, on the disparity issue – it is critical to bridge the divide on STI. More investment and resources are required for R&D in STI, to encourage local innovations and solutions. We need to explore new options on financing and resources, including earmarked ODA, public-private partnership, blended financing, and South-South and Triangular Cooperation. I can say from the experience of my country that our investment in Digital Bangladesh has brought about transformative development and opened up opportunities for those who were left behind, and is directly contributing to creating jobs, start-ups, reducing poverty and to the advancement of women. During Covid, ICT has been an important tool in reaching social safety net, education and health services.
Second, we need stronger political commitment at the international level for closing the digital divide, and facilitating technology transfer and know-how to less advanced countries, the LDCs and other vulnerable countries. The fourth industrial revolution has unlocked new opportunities and technologies. We will need more meaningful partnerships to derive their full benefits in a responsible, accessible and affordable manner. We commend the Secretary General for keeping this issue high on his agenda and for his ambitious road map for digital cooperation.
Finally, and very importantly, we must create stronger multi-stakeholder platforms for greater science-policy interface involving partners from governments, scientific community, academia, civil society, and private sector. We need an inclusive approach on STI to achieve inclusive development through the 2030 Agenda.
I thank you.