On 4 May 2021, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed a new group of ten renowned experts to support the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism. The group will advise on the ways of harnessing science, technology and innovation to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and includes Cherry Murray, IAP co-chair, alongside other senior academicians, Yonglong Lu (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz (Brazilian Academy of Sciences).
"I am honored to be appointed to the UN TFM 10-Member group, and as a co-chair of the InterAcademy Partnership, I look forward to ensuring that national academies of science, engineering and medicine are active in advising their national governments as well as international organizations on the power of science, technology and Innovation to accelerate progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals," Murray said.
IAP has previously worked with parts of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism during its project Improving scientific input to global policymaking, which included mapping ways in which scientists can engage with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); a resource the TFM still uses on its landing page.
The group will work closely with stakeholder groups, including business, youth and children, and the academic and research community, with the first meeting planned for late May 2021.
The new members of the group are:
- Quarraisha Abdool Karim (South Africa), Associate Scientific Director, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research (CAPRISA); and Professor, Clinical Epidemiology, Columbia University
- Cherry Murray (USA), IAP co-chair; Member of the National Academy of Sciences; Professor of Physics and Deputy Director for Research, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona;
- Maki Kawai (Japan), Director General, Institute for Molecular Science, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo
- Salome Guchu (Kenya), Deputy Director of Research, State Department of University Education and Research, Ministry of Education
- Anita Gurumurthy (India), Founding member and Executive Director, IT for Change, Bangalore
- Keywan Riahi (Austria), Director, Energy, Climate and Environment Program (ECE), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
- Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz (Brazil), Member, Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Senior Vice President (Elsevier), and Professor Emeritus; Elsevier Research Networks; Physics Institute, University of Campinas
- Yonglong Lu (China), Chair Professor of Xiamen University, and Distinguished Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
- Tālis Juhna (Latvia), Vice-Rector for Research and Professor; Chairman of Advisory Board of the Latvian Council of Science, Riga Technical University
- José Ramón López-Portillo Romano (Mexico), Science Diplomacy Adviser to Mexican Government, Chairman/non-Executive Director, Zenith Energy Ltd.; Co-founder and Chairman of Q-Element
The Technology Facilitation Mechanism was created to support the implementation of the SDGs by facilitating partnerships, collaboration and sharing of best practices on using science and technology for sustainable development. The mechanism comprises a United Nations Inter-agency Task Team (IATT) on science, technology and innovation, currently consisting of 45 entities; an annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs; and an online platform – the 2030 Connect, which serves as a gateway for information on existing initiatives, mechanisms and programmes.
IAP wishes the 10 Member Group well in their important work to ensure that STI is harnessed to accelerate progress on the UN SDGs: it is needed now more than ever.