PRESS RELEASE
For use of information media - Not an official record
Speakers Announced for Crucial United Nations Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation for Development

UNCTAD/PRESS/PR/2019/004
Geneva, Switzerland, (28 February 2019)
  • Impact of rapid technological change on sustainable development
  • Building resilient communities, including with “citizen science”

Dr. Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer of the revolutionary CRISPR gene editing tool and Professor Dame Wendy Hall, a renowned computer scientist and co-author of the United Kingdom’s government strategy on artificial intelligence (AI), will discuss the ethical dimensions of frontier technologies and their impact on sustainable development during the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) in Geneva, Switzerland,13–17 May 2019.

The event, A Conversation with Great Minds, kicks off the 22nd annual session of the CSTD and will be moderated by award-winning journalist and Reuters Business correspondent Didi Akinyelure. This year’s Conversation with Great Minds follows a similar debate between Nobel Laureate chemist Professor Jacques Dubochet and renowned mathematician and physicist Sir Roger Penrose in 2018.

“I am delighted to welcome such eminent thinkers on science and technology to this year’s CSTD,” Shamika N. Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics, and organizer of the CSTD said. “Their reflections will set the tone for a week of deliberations on the urgent science policy questions facing developing countries in 2019.”

The CSTD is the United Nation’s foremost body for analyzing how science, technology and innovation (STI), including information and communications technologies (ICTs), serve as enablers of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The commission is a forum for strategic planning, sharing lessons learned and best practices, providing foresight about critical trends in STI in critical sectors of the economy, the environment and society, and drawing attention to emerging and disruptive technologies.

UNCTAD will also present its national science, technology and innovation policy (STIP) reviews of Ethiopia, Panama, and Uganda during the CSTD session. Leading experts are also set to share their insights on UNCTAD’s renewed STIP Framework for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The ceremonial opening of the commission takes place at the Palais des Nations at 10:00 am on Monday 13 May, followed by two high-level roundtables on:

  • The contribution of the CSTD to the theme taken up in 2019 by the UN Economic and Social Council and High-level Political Forum – the role of STI in empowering people and in ensuring inclusiveness and equality

  • The impact of rapid technological change on sustainable development, moderated by FRANCE24 journalist Julia Sieger, presenter of Tech24

The commission’s second day will include a high-level roundtable on the progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) at the regional and international level.

On the third day, a discussion will be held on the role of STI in building resilient communities – including through “citizen science” – moderated by award-winning journalist Andrew Revkin of the National Geographic Society.

Participants include ministers and representatives of governments, civil society, the business community, academia, and international and regional organizations. High-level delegations in STI policymaking will represent most nations.

Registration for the event is now open.


For more information, please contact:
UNCTAD Communications and Information Unit
T: +41 22 917 5828
T: +41 79 502 43 11
E: unctadpress@unctad.org
Web: unctad.org/press
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