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Virtual High-Level Thematic Debate on the Impact of Rapid Technological Change on the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets

Thursday, 11 June 2020
FORTUNATO T. DE LA PEÑA, Secretar, Department of Science and Technology Republic of the Philippines



His Excellency President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,


It is a privilege to join you in this High-Level Thematic Debate. The Philippines wishes to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this event, and welcomes and supports the Secretary General’s Roadmap on Digital Cooperation.

Globally, there has been a significant increase in the recognition of science, technology, and innovation (STI) as a solution to issues that cut across various disciplines. STI contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Today, the world is battling against the multidimensional impact of COVID-19, affecting SDGs such as health, poverty, food security, inequality, decent work and economic growth, and more.

The Philippines has observed rapid technological change and it bases its interventions on scientific findings through its very own R&D and technologies.

An information system called FASSSTER which was designed for modeling disease spreads in the country, was earlier used for Dengue Fever, Typhoid Fever, and Measles. Now, it is applied to model the behavior of COVID-19 and project the effect of the government’s interventions. A local technology platform developed for dengue was also remodelled into an effective rRT-PCR COVID-19 detection kit. And lastly, Quick Response (QR) codes through a RapidPass System was used for ease of access through the Quarantine Control Checkpoints (QCPs).

There will always be new and unfamiliar challenges. But the Filipinos’ natural resiliency and creativity will be greater than these. The innovative telemedicine device RxBox, the locally developed ventilator, and the use of mechatronics and robotics for physical rehabilitation therapy are just some examples.

The Philippines welcomes the recent call of the Secretary General to evolve the support of the UN Development System to middle-income countries (MIC) in all their diversity, as well as the recommendation to support MICs in building necessary human, organizational and information assessment capacity; developing economic, regulatory and legal frameworks that provide positive incentives to innovate; and creating new and innovative mechanisms for technology transfer.

Together, with strengthened international cooperation, we will overcome our present trials. We call on the States and our leaders that as we pursue this path, we must also ensure that no one will be left behind.    Thank you.