Statement by Mr. Fahmid Farhan, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN at Session 2: Effective paths towards the SDGs: STI for ending poverty and hunger, enhancing human well-being and building resilience, STI Forum Monday, 04 May 2021

I thank you, Chair for organizing this timely event. Let me also thank the moderator and the eminent panelists for sharing valuable information regarding the contribution of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in ending poverty and hunger and thus leading to greater welfare for the humankind.

STI offers unique opportunities for the developing and vulnerable countries for the timely implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Availability of appropriate and affordable technology can help these countries in their fights against poverty, hunger, outbreaks of endemic diseases, climate change, disasters, and so forth. However, to reap these benefits we need to ensure strong political will on the part of the international community for cooperation.

I would like to highlight a few issues in this regard:

First, the global poverty rate has seen an alarming rise worldwide due to the pandemic. We need innovative support measures involving the use of locally appropriate technologies to ensure sustainable livelihood options for everyone.  Stronger political commitment is the key for ensuring the smooth transfer of such technologies to less advanced countries, the LDCs and other vulnerable countries.

Second, the fourth industrial revolution with its innovative array of technology   is likely to eliminate many artificial barriers between men and women. We must create enabling environment for women in the developing and vulnerable countries so that they can reap the benefits of such emerging technologies.

Third, agriculture is the mainstay for most of the people in the LDCs. However, climate change is affecting the agricultural output everywhere. Besides, one third of the global food production is wasted or lost annually. Innovative measures developed through the South-South and Triangular Cooperation can play a vital role in this regard. The countries in the South, in the true spirit of cooperation and solidarity, also need to exchange their innovations, experiences, lessons learnt and best practices among themselves.

Fourth, the pandemic is a strong reminder about the need to invest in science, technology, and innovation (STI) to tackle such catastrophes. At present, many vulnerable countries are facing the fiscal crunch and hence it is not possible for them to invest in this sector. They need access to financing and resources through earmarked ODA, public-private partnership, blended financing and other innovative financing mechanisms that involve the private sector.

Finally, to ensure access to vaccines for everyone, everywhere including the migrants irrespective of their status we need to declare COVID-19 vaccine as a ‘global public good’. To do so, we need to share the production technology with the countries that have the production capacities of such vaccines.

I thank you all.