Commission on Science and Technology for Development, twenty-sixth session

Statement by Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD

Commission on Science and Technology for Development, twenty-sixth session

Geneva, Switzerland
27 March 2023

His Excellency, Ambassador Luis Chuquihuara Chil, Chair of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development,

Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union,

Ms. Shamika Sirimanne, Director of the Division on Technology and Logistics of UNCTAD,

Ministers and Vice-Ministers, Ambassadors, Delegates and Representatives of different organizations,

Dear Scholars,

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

It is an honor and a privilege to extend a warm welcome to all of you attending the twenty-sixth annual session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). We gather at a critical juncture in human history – a moment filled with global challenges but also brimming with technological possibilities.

At this juncture, this Commission is more important than ever.

Cascading crises and systemic shocks have left developing countries with increasing debt, stagnating growth and limited resources to cope. Our goals for a sustainable future are in jeopardy, as overall human progress has declined for two years in a row. In this situation, science, technology and innovation are becoming not just the best path forward but perhaps the only one. 

The solution to these overwhelming economic, social and environmental issues lies in coordinated, united global action. Efforts within individual countries, while absolutely necessary, won't be enough. We urge nations to work together, using this Commission as a platform for learning from each other and fostering a shared understanding of how science, technology and innovation can promote sustainable development.

This week’s discussions should serve as a foundation for global cooperation in support of a sustainable future and should offer valuable insights for upcoming high-level events like the SDG Summit,  the UN General Assembly and the Summit of the Future. The CSTD and these high-level events must bring hope and practical solutions to a world under great strain.

The twenty-sixth session of the CSTD is crucial for facilitating international discussions on these key global issues: accelerating economic recovery, bridging the digital divide, promoting low-carbon productive diversification, finding innovative solutions for water and sanitation, making technological progress for the benefit of all and not a few. The innovations and collaborative research that led us to develop vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19 in record time show that we can find solutions to pressing global challenges when we work together at scale.

To contribute to these important discussions, we will present our 2023 Technology and Innovation Report tomorrow, which identifies key opportunities for developing countries to use innovation for sustainable growth. The report shows that the market for cutting-edge technologies is expected to grow sevenfold in the next seven years, increasing from $1.5 trillion today to over $10 trillion in 2030. This presents enormous potential for the Global South and requires countries to act quickly, collaborate internationally, and nurture a culture of innovation. During our presentation tomorrow, we will elaborate more in detail what practical solutions countries can take to seize these transformative windows of opportunity before it is too late.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, let us seize this unprecedented moment in history, harness the power of science, technology and innovation, and join hands in international cooperation to overcome our shared challenges, build a sustainable future that will be inclusive of all, leaving no one behind, and ensure that no nation is left behind in the global quest for progress and prosperity.

Thank you.