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ECOSOC Adopts 2013 Ministerial Declaration

ECOSOC16 December 2013: The draft ministerial declaration of the 2013 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), titled ‘Science, technology and innovation, and the potential of culture, for promoting sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),' was adopted by ECOSOC during a resumed substantive session on 16 December 2013.During the session, the Group of 77 and China (G77/China) said adoption of the text underlines the importance of the right to self-determination and the rights of those living under foreign occupation. Bolivia expressed reservations with the text on green economy, which he said was a new way to privatize and exploit the environment and planet.

The declaration reflects discussions among Ministers and Heads that took place during the high-level segment of the 2013 session from 1-4 July 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, and makes a number of recommendations, including that science, technology and innovation (STI) be considered in elaborating the post-2015 development agenda.

The declaration addresses, inter alia: the importance of investment in STI; green economy as an important tool for achieving sustainable development and providing policy-making options; integration and mainstreaming of culture into development policies and strategies; inclusive and people-centered STI; including entrepreneurial skills within education systems; and synergies between modern science and technology and local and indigenous knowledge, practices and innovation, as a conduit for achieving sustainable development.

Underscoring the unique challenges faced by developing countries, the declaration emphasizes the need to: strengthen international cooperation in STI and culture; bridge the technology gaps between developed and developing countries, including the digital divide; and bring to scale technological solutions that address sustainable development challenges.

The declaration also discusses: the role of governments in enhancing the science-policy-society interface; the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), young entrepreneurs and women in STI; a technology facilitation mechanism; and establishing a technology bank and STI-supporting mechanism dedicated to the least developed countries (LDCs). The declaration: stresses the importance of grassroots innovation, including low-tech innovative solutions; encourages a sustainable life cycle approach, and sustainable consumption and production (SCP); and encourages the use of gender-based analysis and gender impact assessments in STI research and development.

The declaration also stresses the importance of: using STI and traditional knowledge in designing and implementing disaster risk reduction and disaster recovery strategies; promoting an intellectual property framework to incentivize innovation and investment; indigenous peoples' rights to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions; public and private STI centers of excellence; and technical and vocational training for cultural professionals.

Finally, the declaration: encourages UN bodies to review, monitor and assess progress on implementing STI policies and the contribution of culture to achieving sustainable development; and requests ECOSOC, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to work towards policy review, dialogue and recommendations on STI, and the potential of culture, for promoting sustainable development and achieving the MDGs. [Draft Ministerial Declaration] [Meeting Summary]