6 - 17 November 2017  

     Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service


Media Release

Ambassador Thomson Chairs Open Group

The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals met at the United Nations to discuss means of implementation of science and technology knowledge- sharing and capacity building in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

The meeting is being chaired by Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson. Fiji is the 2013 Chair of the G77 and China Group.

While addressing the delegates of the forum Ambassador Thomson stressed the pivotal importance of science, technology and innovation for eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development. He said that science, technology and innovation can be the "game-changer" of the socio-economic situation of developing countries.

“Developing countries rely heavily on technology in order to shift to a more sustainable development path. To help developing countries overcome obstacles to economic growth to achieve specific development goals, it is imperative to bridge the technological divide to promote sustainable industrialization and inclusive growth across the developing world”, said the Ambassador.

Furthermore, the chair highlighted that ‘the Group recognizes official development assistance (ODA) as an important source of public financing for developing countries. He expressed grave concern that ODA had fallen for two consecutive years, by a total of 6% in real terms.

The Ambassador acknowledged that while the primary responsibility for sustainable development lies with the countries concerned, however for developing countries success depends on two fronts. At the national level, development success depends on effective design and implementation of industrial, macroeconomic and social policies. At the international level, success depends on the support of the international community and the need to have adequate policy space and an enabling global environment that ensure an appropriate pace and pattern of integration into the global economy.

Mr. Thomson pointed out that “despite recent progress in access to technology, technological and innovation divides between countries and regions persist. Around 70 per cent of R&D spending worldwide, still takes place in developed countries. Disparities in scientific capacity and STI development levels between developed and developing countries remain significant”

“As we stress the need for a 'transformational' change in the framework of SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, it is difficult to envisage how it could take place without a break-through in international cooperation in the field of technology transfer. There is an urgent need for a technology mechanism that can accelerate technology transfer and diffusion on a global scales which commensurate with the sustainable development challenge” said the Ambassador.

While concluding his address the Chairman indicated that “The full potential of Science, technology and innovation, knowledge-sharing and capacity building for poverty eradication and sustainable development will be best harnessed by building coherent enabling legal, policy, financial and institutional frameworks at the national, regional and international levels and that “Science, technology and innovation must be an integral part of the overall Post-2015 Development Agenda. Such approach will effectively empower efforts needed at all levels in order to increase innovation capacities, technology transfer and scientific capacity-building in developing countries."