Three UNU-MERIT researchers contributed to the UNESCO Science Report 2021: Luc Soete and Hugo Hollanders among others co-authored the chapter on the European Union, while Shuan Sadreghazi wrote the chapter on Iran.
In a preface to the 750-page document, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored three important lessons. The first is that we are all deeply interconnected. No-one will be safe from the virus until everyone is safe. The second lesson is that the same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also increase the risk of pandemics through their impact on the environment. The third lesson is the vital importance of science.
“This year’s UNESCO Science Report – the Race Against Time for Smarter Development – focuses on the global shift towards economies that are greener, knowledge-based and make the best use of digital technologies. We must work to ensure that the pursuit of advanced technology and sustainable development go hand in hand.
“Many countries are aligning policies on science, technology and innovation with the Sustainable Development Goals. These include ambitious plans for decarbonizing the economy and reducing waste. But, despite the prioritization of sustainable development, sustainability science has not yet gone mainstream.
“UNESCO has found that developing countries focus more of their research efforts on topics vital for their development such as agro-ecology, climate-ready crops and sustainable waste management – but publications on these issues remain marginal in the overall research ecosystem. Meanwhile, there were almost 150 000 publications on artificial intelligence and robotics in 2019. This field dominates scientific output on other cross-cutting technologies that have potential benefits for developing countries, such as energy, materials science, nanotechnology and biotechnology.”
Access the report here and watch the presentation by Luc Soete below.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.