India played an important role in the negotiations for introduction of a UN driven global Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) as part of the SDGs. Accordingly, the proposal was first acknowledged in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA). Thereafter Paragraph 70 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development announced the launch of a “Technology Facilitation Mechanism” (TFM) in order to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). TFM was expected to facilitate multi-stakeholder collaboration and partnerships through the sharing of information, experiences, best practices and policy advice among Member States, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community, United Nations entities and other stakeholders. While the initial steps taken in this direction since 2016 were mostly deliberative in the form of the annual STI Forum and the constitution of the UN-Inter-agency Task Team (IATT) along with a global advisory body (the 10-Member group), concrete operational steps have now started to emerge as is evident from the adoption of the Global Pilot Programmes on STI for SDGs Roadmaps in 2019.
The Global Pilot Programme for SDGs Roadmaps has been launched with five pilot countries, viz. Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Serbia and India. The European Union and Japan have joined this initiative to support the pilot countries in their SDG Roadmaps exercise. One of the first steps has been in terms of coming up with a suggested “Guidebook for the Preparation of STI for SDGs Roadmaps” by the IATT and supported by the Government of Japan that coincided with the Japanese presidency of the G20 in 2019.
India and Japan have together come on board and are collaborating based on mutual interest in promoting the STI for SDGs Roadmaps in the respective countries, as well as in robustly supporting replication of this initiative in African countries including those who are already part of the exercise as pilot countries. From the Indian side, the initiative and the collaboration is being led by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India (PSA); and from the Japanese side the partnership is being steered by the Cabinet Office (CAO).
The IATT has nominated respective agencies to join pilot countries in the implementation of the STI for SDGs Roadmaps. Accordingly Kenya is being supported by the WB and UNESCO; Ghana by UNESCO, WB and OECD; Ethiopia by UNCTAD, WB, UNESCO, UNDP, and UNIDO; India by WB, ESCAP, OECD and UNDP; and Serbia by EU/JRC, UNIDO and UNESCO.
The G20 Osaka Summit has made the most important contribution in recent times in acknowledging importance of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for achieving the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), capturing the larger aspirations of inclusive and sustainable economic growth. G20 Summit declaration in 2019 endorsed the draft UN “Guiding Principles for the Development of STI for SDGs Roadmaps” in this regard.
In order to operationalise the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) adopted as part of the Agenda 2030/ SDGS, the Global Pilot Programme for STI for SDGs Roadmaps initiated in 2019 is considered the most important vehicle, backed by evidence based conceptual framework. It is expected to evolve into a very useful tool to strengthen national efforts on STI for SDGs mapping and international cooperation on knowledge, technology transfer, capacity, networks and finance for countries to better address global challenges, including COVID-19 pandemics ensuring access, equity and inclusion leading to sustainability and wellness. Based on their close partnership in science and technology, India and Japan, with support of UN-IATT, will cooperate in formulating STI for SDGs roadmaps on four specific goals (SDGs 2, 3, 6 and 7) through the Global Pilot Programme. The two countries are willing to share their experiences in promoting STI for SDGs and to cooperate with African and other countries.