An event on “Promoting South-South Cooperation in Science & Technology for Sustainable development”, jointly sponsored by Commission on Science & Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) and the United Nations Office for South- South Cooperation (UNOSSC), was held at UN headquarters in New York on 30 November 2018 during the Global South -South Development EXPO (GSSD EXPO).
The proposal was based on the realization that developing countries were showing varying degrees of progress in different spheres of scientific and technological pursuits and that sharing of scientific knowledge and partnerships would help to accelerate the pace in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The session produced consensus on establishing a forum on science and technology for sustainable development for south-south and triangular cooperation under the leadership of COMSATS.
There is a clear recognition of the role of science and technology as central to reaching the SDGs by 2030 and to moving forward on to a sustainable and resilient path. Science can accelerate transformative change by identifying the most significant interactions within the SDGs, help to fill in data gaps and monitor progress.
2030 Development Agenda endorsed by the international community in September 2015 has given fundamental role to science and technology in generating knowledge to achieve the sustainability vision set out in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Other international agreements adopted in 2015 such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development have identified science and technology as being critical for meeting the SDGs.
Rise of the Global South has created growing awareness that South-South Cooperation plays a central role in the framework of the 2030 Development Agenda. Importance of South-South cooperation lies in its capacity to generate new ideas to drive innovation and promote development. These include exchange of experiences to the strengthening of capacities, from the transfer of technologies and knowledge to the construction of exchange networks.
COMSATS offers a platform to increase South-South and Trilateral collaboration. The scope of global challenges demands large scale science infrastructure and cooperation and in this context, COMSATS is well-positioned to enhance international collaboration and networking in science and technology.
Keeping in view the need to strengthen scientific and technological capacity pertaining to implementation of SDGs COMSATS decided to set up the Accra Forum. The Accra Forum was to be launched by the President of Ghana and Chairperson of COMSATS at Accra, Ghana on 14 April 2020. However the event was postponed due to COVID-19 crisis.
The Accra Forum will be an instrument for facilitating interaction, the establishment of the network, and multi-stakeholder partnerships in order to promote S&T cooperation, capacity building and to examine technology needs and gaps. The Forum will give an opportunity to network, share insights, discuss case studies, and learn from experiences on using science and technology to strengthen the response to SDGs.
Accra Forum on Science & Technology for Sustainable Development will provide a platform to identify challenges and mechanisms to strengthen scientific and technological capacity for promoting prosperity and sustainability. The Forum will foster collaborations and multi-stakeholder partnerships and to network, share insights, good practices, learn from one another’s experiences, and develop partnerships to strengthen the collective response to SDGs.
The Forum will be a multi-specialist partnership based on the realization that time has come to build models of global collaboration to solve shared challenges and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Accra Forum will operate as a network of partnerships between COMSATS Ministerial level Focal Points, COMSATS Centres of Excellence as well as developing partnerships with national, regional and international science & technology research institutions, science academies, United Nations and its agencies, corporate sector, technology companies and philanthropic foundations.
The Forum will hold annual meetings on the sidelines of the UN Global South-South Development EXPO (GSSD-EXPO) in partnership with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).
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