UNITED NATIONS, May 14 (Xinhua) -- A senior UN official on Tuesday called for multilateral action toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through science, technology and innovation (STI).
The STI plays a central role in achieving the SDGs, Liu Zhenmin, UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, told a forum.
He stressed that multilateral action is essential in this process. "Only together can we find solutions to poverty, inequality, and climate change -- the three defining challenges of our times. Only together can we boost our rules-based global trading system and mobilize the technology solutions and financing we need to achieve the SDGs."
Liu said the initial assessments of SDG achievement show that there is a lot to be done.
Poverty reduction is becoming harder and hunger is on the rise. Inequalities are becoming more entrenched. Biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions continue at truly alarming rates, threatening the very foundations of what sustains humanity, he told the Fourth Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs.
However, he said, there are visible signs of progress. In many parts of the world, infectious diseases are retreating; access to modern and clean energy services is increasing; forest cover is spreading globally; institutions and partnerships are being reconfigured to strengthen concerted actions, resolve trade-offs, and deliver results in more effective ways, he noted.
"What strikes me is how central STI is to all of these areas where we are making headway. STI will also be fundamental to how we tackle areas where we are not yet seeing outcomes we need. I, therefore, remain convinced that with science, technology and innovation, we can bring the inspiring vision of the 2030 Agenda (of SDGs) to life."
He cautioned that society co-evolves with science, technology and innovation in intricate ways. "They shape each other in both positive and negative ways. We must work consciously to magnify benefits and limit the negative impacts."
This is no easy task, he said. "It requires the active engagement of all stakeholders. It requires that we stay informed of the transformative changes under way and work continually to harness them for our common good."