On 3 May 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary, Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr. addresses the various delegations at the Eighth Annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to showcase how the Philippines, through the DOST, creates a conducive STI ecosystem.
“The Philippines firmly believes that science, technology, and innovation hold limitless potential in finding solutions to address pressing issues that affect both local and global communities”, Secretary Solidum said during the Ministerial Session on Innovating to deliver on the SDGs. However, the DOST Secretary mentioned, there are still barriers to overcome to fully maximize the benefits of STI such as the rising inequality within and among nations.
According to Secretary Solidum, to level the playing field and respond to the need to adapt to the rapid pace of technological development, the DOST provides technical, technological, and financial assistance to small players in the industry. This includes micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) where the DOST implements a program called the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP, now helping entrepreneurs transition to Industry 4.0 technologies.
The science chief also said that another program encourages and supports innovative incubators in the country through the Technology Business Incubation (TBI) Program. Them, the DOST also reaches out to communities through the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology or CEST and grants funding to researchers through the DOST Science for Change Program, as well as through DOST Grants-In-Aid (GIA) Program.
The S&T Secretary further explains that the Philippines’ DOST contributes to the current priority SDGs through its initiatives. Some examples were using geospatial technologies and data for maps and modeling systems to monitor water bodies (SDG 6), solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies for electricity in remote areas and rural health units (SDG 7), R&D programs to advance industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SDG 9), and Smart and Sustainable Communities Program or SMART Program (SDG 11).
In closing, Secretary Solidum said, “the Philippines calls for strengthened partnerships among Member States, the United Nations and other stakeholders to develop joint STI initiatives that will have a more significant impact for the benefit of all.”
Also called the “STI Forum”, the annual event’s official sessions were held for two days on 3-4 May 2023, gathering all relevant stakeholders across different countries to discuss STI initiatives in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The outcome of the Forum will feed into the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that will be held from 10 to 19 July 2023 and in the mid-term review of the SDG progress in September 2023.
By Karen Lou S. Mabagos, DOST-ITCU