Published: June 22, 2016

Nicholas Valcourt (PhD Student, Civil Systems) and Aaron Opdyke (PhD Candidate, Construction Engineering and Management) were in New York representing the Mortenson Center earlier this month at the United Nations first annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals. The gathering, convened by the president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), assembled UN organizations, member states, civic society, private sector, and academics to begin tackling how science, technology, and innovation (STI) can help achieve the SDGs.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was present to provide opening remarks, "Over the next 15 years, progress in science, technology, and innovation will be key to delivering on all the SDGs - from poverty eradication to agriculture and food security, to energy, to water and sanitation, and climate change." The event showcased six thematic areas including, enabling environments, opportunities and challenges, transformative technologies, creating shared value, roadmaps and youth. The forum also hosted a number of side events targeting more specific opportunities of STI interventions. The multi-stakeholder forum is planned to take place annually until 2030 in order to pool ideas, and find ways to incentivize, scale up and adopt breakthrough solutions. The forum is part of the larger United Nations Technology Facilitation Mechanism.