The United Nations released “the Sustainable Development Goals report 2021” on 7th July 2021. COVID-19 has erased mankind’s decades of development achievements. An increasing number of countries recognize the need to jointly respond to the pandemic situation and to achieve the sustainable development goals. One of the most important actions needed is to accelerate the adoption of new sciences and technology. The decisions and scientific measurements taken in the next 18 months will shape the world whether it can accelerate post-pandemic recovery and achieve the sustainable development goals on time.
To push back the sustainable development agenda on track, the report stressed that the governments, cities, enterprises and industries need to use the opportunity of post-pandemic recovery to embark on low-carbon, inclusive and resilient development, so as to reduce carbon emissions, to protect natural resources, to create more decent employment and to promote gender equality.
Zhenmin Liu, the UN Associate Secretary-General for economic and social affairs, said that after six years with adopting the sustainable development agenda, the situation of the sustainable development goals is worrying in this report. Nonetheless, the report highlighted the necessity of resilience, adaptability and innovation from worldwide communities. The sustainable development goals are still reachable if all countries take necessary measurements to deal with the systemic deficiencies exposed by the pandemic, to take advantage of wisdom that is not easy to show before the crisis, and to make full use of the rapidly-developing sciences and technology.
Songjun Li, President of the Academy of the United Nations Sciences and Technology Organization, said that people stuck in poverty increased by about 120 million in 2020 and that the extreme poverty rate rose for the first time since 1998. In 2020, about 255 million people lost their full-time jobs with the extreme poverty rate rising from 8.4% in 2019 to 9.5% in 2020. The volume of hungry people increased by 83 million to 132 million and the worldwide total-volume reached about 800 million. The world is confronted with a very serious situation that has not undergone over the past century. To meet the situation, it is urgently needed to carry out “a century of layout” with scientific and technological forces. For the allocation of resources, the key value needs to be adjusted from the traditional “one-dimensional economy” to “multi-dimensional value” (i.e., the comprehensive evaluation on the economy, society and environment). If the development is the absolute principle over the past century, the sustainable development will be absolutely the strong logic in the next 100 years. To the end, the sustainable development goals can be summed up with one sentence: the world forces need to scientifically steer the “microscopic” enterprises from the perspective of the sustainable development, regardless of how macroscopic objectives the sustainable development goals are. The main reason is that the completion of these sustainable development goals relies essentially on these “microscopic” enterprises, relying on the innovation and development of these “microscopic” enterprises. Enterprises are the key to quantifying and implementing these sustainable development goals because sciences and technology are the main driving forcing for the advancing world.
The Academy of the United Nations Sciences and Technology Organization (abbreviated as AUNSTO) is an academic wing to the United Nations Sciences and Technology Organization. The intention of the Academy is to unite worldwide scientific and technological talents and to explore revolutionary scientific and technological issues. The objective of the AUNSTO is to establish a global talent pool, highlighting the leading talents and backbones emerging in global scientific and technological innovation, building a high-end talent platform to show scientific and technological innovation, serving industrial improvement and making positive efforts for serving humankind.
There are 20 scientific divisions in the AUNSTO,including life and health, artificial intelligence and electronic technology, network and information engineering, bioengineering, aviation and aerospace, equipment and manufacturing, chemical engineering, metallurgy and materials, geography and oceanography, energy and mining, civil and hydraulic engineering, environmental and ecological engineering, agricultural sciences and technology, engineering management, sciences and technology, future exploration, financial sciences, peace messenger, social sciences and smart city management. The full members (academicians, fellows) of the AUNSTO are composed of scientists and engineers with global reputation. In principle, the Academy requires that the candidates must be already members for a national academy of sciences or a national academy of engineering before becoming a full member of the AUNSTO. The election of new members from the AUNSTO is held once a year, with no more than five members being elected from per division.
The AUNSTO abides by the Charter of the United Nations, carrying out works under the guidance of the local national laws and regulations, and promoting global high-end talent exchanges, scientific and technological innovation and project cooperation, participating in global scientific and technological exchange, discussing global scientific and technologic competition, and promoting in-depth cooperation in general sciences and technology. Regarding the development of global industries, the AUNSTO will conduct in-depth exchanges and docking, promote the transformation of technological achievements and implement the development of projects. The AUNSTO will also promote exchanges and cooperation among scientists, and promote the training of scientific and technological personnel as well.
Michael Sanders, co-chair of the United Nations Sciences and Technology Organization, said that world-wide leaders and scientists have discussed how to give full play to the potential of sciences and technology so as to better benefit mankind during the multi stakeholder forum held by the United Nations Online from May 4 to 5, 2021. This multilateral forum, entitled “sciences, technology and innovation for the sustainable development”, was aimed to build a greener world by 2030, to identify loopholes in existing works and to promote win-win cooperation.
Mr. Spatolisano, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for economic and social affairs, on behalf of the UN Secretary General Mr. Guterres, read out the speech of the UN Secretary General. Guterres pointed out that the rampancy of COVID-19 highlighted once again the importance of sciences and technology for the survival and well-being of humankind and the urgent need to strengthen global cooperation.
Guterres said that in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the international community not only rapidly developed vaccines in a record time, but also made innovation in medicine and digital communication. In the meanwhile, scientific researches and cooperation continue to accelerate, and the new ways of service delivery continue to emerge. The progress in technology and innovation, including the reduction of inequalities and the containment of climate change, has brought hope for the global response to other challenges after COVID-19. Guterres said that at present, there are still billions of people around the world who can hardly benefit from the information and technological revolution, for which COVID-19 further exacerbates this technological gap. “We must work together across borders, industries and fields to make scientific and technological works for the benefit of mankind”, he said. Multilateral cooperation remains essential to help us achieve sustainable development goals, address climate change, reverse biodiversity loss and pollution crises, and meet other challenges”.
Zhigang Wang, Chinese Minister of Sciences and Technology, also delivered a speech by video. In the speech, Zhigang Wang said that the Chinese government always adheres to scientific and technological innovation as an important support for promoting the sustainable development, the high-quality economic recovery and the high-level ecological environment protection. China has always been with a positive and open attitude and adhered to the global vision and strengthened cooperation with international communities. China will always adhere to the concept of opening up and cooperation, sharing the beneficial experience of sciences and technology, policy tools, management mode and technological innovation in the field of green and low carbon. China is making unremitting efforts to achieve the goals of carbon peaks and carbon neutralization in order to promote the sustainable development.
Lingyun Xiang, executive chair of the United Nations Sciences and Technology Organization said that the UN multi stakeholder forum on scientific and technological innovation is an important part of the UN technological promotion mechanism under the framework of the 2030 sustainable development agenda, and that the UN multi stakeholder forum is also one of the main platforms to discuss experience on scientific and technological innovation for the sustainable development.
The forum is convened by the president of the UN Economic and Social Council and authorized by the UN General Assembly. It is held annually at the UN headquarters since 2016. Representatives for the forum are conclusive, including members from governments, scientific and technological communities, private sector, civil society, etc. The outcomes concluded from the forum would be reported to the UN high level-political forum.
The UN Economic and Social Council globally plays a leading role in promoting mutual cooperation among science and policy and society, leading multiple stakeholders to participate in scientific and technological innovation so as to promote these sustainable development goals. These major endeavors remained to be made were determined from the Rio + 20 summit and the 2030 sustainable development agenda.
The 70th paragraph in the 2030 sustainable development agenda announced the launch of the technological promotion mechanism (TFM) to support the sustainable development goals. The objective of launching TFM is to promote multi stakeholder cooperation and partnership through sharing information, experience, best practices and policy among the member states, civil society, private sector, the scientific community, the United Nations entities and other stakeholders.