Higher Education Ministry Participates in 26th Annual Session of the UN CSTD, Geneva

The 26th Annual Session of the United Nations Commission on Science, Technology and Development (CSTD) is currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland from the 27th – the 31st of March 2023. Representing the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology of The Gambia are: the Deputy Permanent Secretary - Technical, Mr. Mucktarr M.Y Darboe; and the Director of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Mr Samba Sowe.

The theme for this year’s meeting is: The role of science, technology, and innovation in accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels”. 

The United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) is a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It holds an annual intergovernmental forum for discussion on timely and pertinent issues affecting science, technology and development.  Since 2006, the Commission has been mandated by ECOSOC to serve as the focal point in the system-wide follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).


The Ministerial roundtable session was Chaired by Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of The Gambia to Switzerland and Head of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of The Gambia to the United Nations Office, World Trade Organization and other International Organizations in Switzerland, Prof. Muhammadou M.O Kah, who also serves as the Vice Chairperson of the UN CSTD. Also present was the DPS Technical (Mr. Malang Ambruce Bass) of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy in The Gambia.


The Deputy Permanent Secretary – Technical of MoHERST, Mr Mucktarr M.Y Darboe delivered a speech on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Higher Education, Professor Pierre Gomez. Mr Darboe began by giving an overview of how the COVID-19 Pandemic has “ravaged the world in ways that were previously unimaginable”. He informed that in sub-Saharan Africa, the pandemic has highlighted many of the region's pre-existing challenges, including policy implementation challenges, duplication of efforts from various development partners, a plethora of policy priorities, lack of focus on priorities of socioeconomic relevance, and lack of follow up and follow through beyond support to develop or review policies.  

To address these challenges, Mr Darboe identified the need for a coordinated approach that involves all stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, civil society, and development partners.

Furthermore, DPS Darboe underlined the role of science, technology and innovation in accelerating the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and achieving sustainable development in the sub-Saharan Africa. To overcome the challenges facing the region, DPS Darboe recommended the need for a coordinated approach that involves all stakeholders and prioritizes policies and strategies that are informed by evidence-based research tailored to the specific needs of sub-Saharan Africa.

We must ensure that all countries have access to the latest technologies and innovations and that no one is left behind. With this approach, we can harness the transformative power of science, technology and innovation to create a better future for all,” said DPS Mucktarr M.Y Darboe.

Outcomes of the CSTD include providing the United Nations General Assembly and ECOSOC with high-level advice on relevant science and technology issues.  UNCTAD is responsible for the substantive servicing of the Commission.