The first Global Science, Technology and Innovation for SDGs Conference

  • 28th October 2017
  • by secretary

23-25 October 2017. Brussels, Belgium. G-STIC 2017: The first Global Science, Technology and Innovation Conference series.

G-STIC 2017, the first in series of annual conferences, aimed at identifying and promoting market-ready, innovative technological solutions needed to achieve the SDGs – implementable solutions that are scalable and sustainable both from a societal and economic perspective. 

View of the Panel (L-R): Dirk Fransaer, VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research); Ajay Mathur, Director General, The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI); Ambuj Sagar, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi; Surendra Shrestha, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT); and Kennedy Orwa, African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS)

G-STIC 2017 focused on integrated solutions that work across disciplines and sectors, and assessed how to accelerate and make more effective their deployment to help resolve the myriad of challenges that lie ahead.

G-STIC 2017 comes at “a critical and timely moment” by pointing to ways to scale up technological innovations and taking up the challenge of linking with policymakers who can facilitate the fast adoption of these technologies. Kennedy Orwa, African Centre for Technology Studies,

Extract of the programme

Agro-ecology session
Agriculture is increasingly challenged by climate change and environmental degradation, by population growth and urbanisation, and by ever tightening constraints on resources (land, water, farmers, energy) – especially in developing countries. To enable a substantially higher food production that meets the demands of 9 billion people by 2050 and to do this with far less resources than available today, there is a need to acquire and adopt innovations on a global scale. These should help accelerate agriculture’s capacity to provide higher and more resilient incomes for local communities and to deliver safe, nutritious and sufficient food for all at all

Participants in the Agroecology for
Sustainable Food Systems session

times of the year.

This theme explored how sustainable food production systems of small farms in developing countries can handle this challenge through natural and balanced agro-ecological approaches. The incorporation of such approaches is full of challenges itself but is vital to delivering a set of small-scale, farmer-friendly and resource-efficient solutions that can realize more resilient agricultural practices and provide populations with access to sufficient and healthy food under changing climate


  • EMILE FRISON (see picture) Keynote presentation – From uniformity to diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems

Session 1: Agroecology for sustainable food systems

Session 2: Complementary technologies and approaches to support smallholders, family

farming and indigenous communities

  • Eugenio Tisselli, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ICT for agroecology with smallholders in Tanzania
  • Bart Deronde, VITO Remote sensing & Geo-ICT boost agricultural insurances to a new level
  • Parviz Koohafkan, (see picture) World Agricultural Heritage Foundation Innovative tools and their application for dynamic conservation of agricultural heritage systems

Session 3: Scaling up agroecology

Final debate and conclusions

Topical session ‘Bamboo’
Bamboo is a strategic tool with over 10,000 known uses. It can help us restore landscapes, mitigate

and adapt to climate change, reduce poverty, construct safe buildings and provide a source of renewable energy. In China alone, the bamboo sector employs almost 10 million people and has an annual worth of US$ 30 billion. The objective of this bamboo session was to provide a policy-focused dialogue on how bamboo innovations can help companies, communities and governments to meet a range of different goals.

Policy-focused panel discussion on bamboo

  • Peter Wehrheim, Head of Landuse and Finance for Innovation; DG Climate Action, European Commission
  • Mark Halle, Senior Fellow, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
  • Luc Bas, Director, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) European Regional Office
  • Dr. Jan E.G van Dam, Senior Researcher, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research
  • Mr. Mark Draeck, Industrial Development Officer, Department of Energy, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)

G-STIC 2017 has provided deep insights, in particular paying attention to underserved and
marginalized communities, and has identified holistic solutions that can be applied now and work for small scale farmers and rural households as well as multi-nationals and start-ups The discussions highlighted that, to realise these technological opportunities, we need to break down institutional barriers, revisit established concepts, change laws, regulations and habits.

Above all, it is vital to work across sectors, to promote new business models and value chains, to demonstrate how the combination of integrated solutions and new business models works, and rethink local, national and global policy making. That requires commercial and political leadership to advocate and make the changes that are good for people, planet and prosperity.

*** Interview with HEM Ms. Nkandu Luo, Minister of Higher Education from Zambia @ 1:32

Bernice Dapaah, Ghana, presented her bamboo bike to
Louise De Tremerie, a PhD student from Ghent

In addition to focusing on integrated technological solutions that have the potential to substantively contribute to achieving the SDGs, G-STIC 2017 has also addressed 4 aspects that are of fundamental importance to the SDGs: Gender mainstreaming, youth engagement, climate and ICT. 

Four key findings clearly emerge from the first G-STIC conference: 
Dessima Williams , UN Special Adviser for 

Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

Elioda Tumwesigye, Minister of Science, 

Technology and Innovation, Uganda

  1. Many technologies needed to achieve many SDG-related targets are readily available. Following demonstration to show effectiveness under real-life conditions, we need to develop strategies for deployment at scale to a level necessary to achieve the SDG’s. For this, suitable policy and institutional environments, models, targeted incentives and partnerships are needed, which themselves are underpinned and strengthened by deep and sustained business, political and citizen engagement. 
  2. Widely distributed and bottom-up technological solutions that are appropriate for communities’ needs and circumstances are to drive the realization of the energy and food SDGs, two key SDG’s for achieving agenda 2030; 
  3. Circular economy is an essential element of the new narrative, with Industry 4.0 a key enabler to achieve it and resource recovery and use from waste streams, such as waste water and CO2, the new normal; 
  4. ICTs are an indispensable tool to enable the achievement of the SDGs

Winner of the reseach challenge: Forward-thinking humanitarian response in urban contexts (refugee settlements) by Ang Jia Cong (UN-Habitat, Kenya)