On the opening day of the 20th Session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) held in Geneva, Switzerland on May 8th, 2017, Wang Ruijun, candidate recommended by the Chinese government and Director General of the National Center for Science and Technology Evaluation of the Ministry of Science and Technology, was elected as Chair of the UNCSTD. This was the first time for a Chinese expert to take this post since the Commission was established in 1992.
The UNCSTD is the highest-level intergovernmental commission specializing in scientific and technological affairs in the United Nations system. Affiliated to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it provides ECOSOC with high-quality advice on STI, helping the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to formulate guidelines, and coordinates policies relating to scientific and technological activities of the UNGA system.
Wang Ruijun’s election as UNCSTD Chair demonstrates that China’s influence on STI development has grown and so has its international recognition. It is also an important opportunity for China to fully leverage a global multilateral governance mechanism to carry out effective international STI cooperation, and have more of its voice heard. As the rotating presidency of the 20th UNCSTD, China has formulated a series of important measures to strengthen its cooperation with the UNCSTD. At the current session, the Chinese delegation led by the Ministry of Science and Technology announced concrete measures which include to sponsor R&D and management personnel from developing countries for short-term work in China. As UNCSTD Chair, Wang Ruijun presided over the session before going with the UNCSTD Secretariat to New York to report to the ECOSOC.
Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCSTD, thanked the Chinese government for its contribution, saying that the Chinese expert won recognition from the membership as the rotating chair of the current UNCSTD session and that China‘s STI development provides reference for the international community. He looked forward to seeing China play a bigger role during its presidency of the UNCSTD.
The session was attended by more than 200 delegates from UNCSTD members, observers, multilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions.