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SDGs and Technology

SDG Action Event on Innovation and Connectivity

On 17 May 2017, building on the Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, the President of the UN General Assembly convened a SDG Action Event on Innovation and Connectivity.

During the event, leading innovators from the major corporations of the world interacted with Member States on how emerging technologies can transform efforts aimed at the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda. From drones dropping food and medicines, to handheld devices that can diagnose Ebola with a drop of blood – the latest technological advances are converging to make the “unthinkable happen,” said global innovators and heads of tech companies invited to the the event.

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development saw world leaders commit to 17 comprehensive, integrated and ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The world in which the SDGs were adopted is radically different from that of the Millennium Development Goals. Giant leaps in technological advances are converging to make the unthinkable possible. These advances are also raising questions on societal impact.

Living up to his promise to be “disruptive,” a famous Silicon Valley catchphrase, Peter Thomson, the President of the UN General Assembly told those gathered for the High-level SDG Action Event on Innovation and Connectivity that he had refrained from wearing a tie, while Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed kicked off her shoes before addressing the room. “Today, in this world, everyone is closing their border,” she said, but partnerships are necessary for the SDGs to reach every corner of the globe. Indeed, many innovators know no borders, “like we do in these halls when we negotiate and we talk about red lines, blue lines and green lines.”

Ms. Mohammed underscored: “There are no red, blue or green lines as you walk through the Internet, social media, communicating across those borders. That is what is exciting. Because with that you can share knowledge, with that you can go to scale, with that you can partner to de-risk environments where ordinarily you would not go.”

The event aimed to build understanding and awareness of the opportunities and challenges of new technology and exponential change, strengthening the ability of the United Nations to act as a catalyst for innovation and solutions in support of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, rallying leading innovators and technology companies to develop, incubate and resource cutting-edge innovations to solve pressing challenges in support of the Goals and exploring how to support collaborative platform(s) to facilitate the sharing of the best ideas and innovations to inform policy and inspire collective action for scale and global impact.

The event was streamed live via UN Webcast at http://webtv.un.org

Watch video of the event