72 UNGA: Statement by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment of Cuba, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz. G77 and Regional Commissions High-Level Roundtable on Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development. New York, July 17, 2018.

G77 and Regional Commissions High-Level Roundtable on Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development: regional experiences to promote youth employment and address inequality. 17 July 2018. Conference Room 4, UNHQ Conference Building.

Distinguished participants,

Technological evolution and its accelerated development, exceeding limits that a few years ago were reserved for science fiction, entails a radical economic, social, political, cultural, biological and cognitive transformation for humanity.

The underdeveloped countries are in less favorable conditions to address the challenges associated with this reality and are forced to develop ways and strategies to quickly reap the potential benefits of these advances.

There is a consensus that science, technology and innovation can decisively contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

We believe that this High-Level Political Forum presents us with an opportunity to discuss individual and shared responsibilities in this endeavor, as well as to coordinate global efforts to this aim. We therefore welcome Egypt's initiative as chair of the Group of 77 and the Regional Commissions to hold this side event.

On this occasion, in addition to speaking on behalf of my country, I have the honor to speak on behalf of Latin America and the Caribbean, by virtue of Cuba’s presidency of ECLAC and the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development.

Latin America and the Caribbean is a region affected by the technology gap, the negative effects of which are compounded by the existence of large intraregional inequalities in accessing technologies.

Given the importance we attach to this issue, the Second Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Forum on Sustainable Development, held last April in Santiago de Chile, emphasized the implications of the technological revolution. Likewise, a special session on "artificial intelligence: accelerated technological change" took place, in which the effects of this phenomenon on the productive, labor, political and social spheres of new technologies were highlighted.

ECLAC has made available to our region data, analyses and recommendations that contribute to assessing these effects from multiple perspectives and invite to develop public policies and coordinated actions, based on the fact that the region is in a position to make a technological leap forward, although it is limited by inequality, socio-economic polarization and low educational standards of its workforce.

We have had successful experiences in the region and recognize the relevance of this issue. Consequently, we must work to transform current production and consumption patterns that are unsustainable and increase inequality, including the strengthening of national innovation systems.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Cuba is a small country that has developed a social process with the human being as the focus. This humanist vocation has guided the national strategy of science and technology, allowing us to make significant scientific achievements in various areas such as biotechnology and innovation in the health sector, which are key to Cuba's economic and social development and to cooperation in solidarity with other countries.

In our view on this matter, science is not only perceived as a factor associated with progress, but it is also identified as a tool for social transformation and the promotion of human dignity.

Therefore, Cuba's main experiences in this area are linked to massively expand access to education, based on the political will to prioritize and support the development of science with public investment. This has led to the creation of research centers that have become internationally reputed institutions, such as the centers of West Havana Scientific Pole.

In addition, we have unique experiences, including the creation of Science and Technology Forums, aimed at generalizing the scientific results from all institutions to join the country’s creative forces and provide multiple solutions to cope with everyday problems.

However, we also face challenges that include the effects of climate change, connectivity problems, population ageing and the low share of renewable energy sources in the electricity generation matrix. In all cases, we have laid down government policies to address these challenges.

Our view on the role to be played by science and technology in the country have been agreed at the national level in the Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model and in the Bases of the National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030, based on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Objectives.

In the international context, we defend the view that the industrialized countries have a responsibility to contribute substantially to reducing the digital divide.

At the same time, we believe that South-South and triangular cooperation can be a key factor in building partnerships to share knowledge and reduce discrimination in access to technologies.

We live in a world with greater technological potential than ever before. Let us work together to seize the advantages of this phenomenon for the benefit of our peoples.

Thank you very much.