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2023 Social Forum


02 - 03 November 2023


Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

In 2023, the Social Forum will take place on 2 and 3 November in Room XX at the Palais des Nations in Geneva and online. In accordance with resolution 50/22 of the Human Rights Council, it will focus on the contribution of science, technology and innovation to the promotion of human rights, including in the context of post-pandemic recovery.


Programme of work
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Concept Note - Youth Empowerment Initiative for Sustainable Development


Science, technology, and innovation play a pivotal role in promoting the enjoyment of human rights across the globe. These interconnected elements empower individuals, communities and peoples by enabling access to education, healthcare, clean water and sanitation, and other essential human rights. Scientific advancements enhance our understanding of diseases and aid in the development of life-saving treatments, thus promoting the right to health. Technological innovations bridge geographical gaps, ensuring the right to information and communication. Moreover, innovative solutions address environmental challenges, safeguarding the right to clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Epistemic communities play major roles in promoting human rights, by providing humbling lessons about the Cosmos, adding to our understanding about the threats of climate change to world peace and livelihoods, and by inventing assistive technologies that provide opportunities and hope to persons with disabilities. Through these and other means, science, technology, and innovation foster economic growth, create opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, and enable the realization of the right to development and other rights. By empowering societies to tackle complex issues, they can contribute to the realization of a just, equitable world for all, where all human rights are enjoyed by everyone.

Science, technology and innovation also pose threats to the enjoyment of human rights, by increasing the destruction possible by means of warfare, and inventing tools that violate privacy and manipulate democratic processes. The opportunities to engage in science and technology follow and reproduce patterns of concentration of power along racial, gender and geographic lines. If the benefits of science, technology and innovation are not equitably distributed, inequalities tend to grow, potentially pushing even more people to face hunger and extreme poverty. The Social Forum will be, hence, an opportunity to discuss ways and means to harness the potential of science, technology and innovation to promote human rights while taming challenges they may pose in this sense.


More information about participation is available on the Social Forum index page. All participants are required to register through the registration page of the event before 30th October 2023. After your registration is approved, you will receive a e-ticket (with QR code) by email. A link for remote participation will also be sent to all registered participants by email ahead of the session. 

Side events

If you wish to organize a side event, please send your proposal in a concept note to [email protected] by 30th September 2023. We will be in touch with you for further details if your proposal is accepted.

Further information

Document Suggestions in Support of the Social Forum

Resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Human Rights Council

  • A/HRC/RES/50/22 - The Social Forum
  • A/HRC/RES/53/29 - New and emerging digital technologies and human rights
  • A/HRC/RES/51/22 - Human rights implications of new and emerging technologies in the military domain
  • A/RES/41/128 - Declaration on the Right to Development
  • A/RES/3384(XXX) - Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace and for the Benefit of Mankind

Reports and General Comments

  • A/HRC/54/35 - Vision of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for reinforcing its work in promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights within the context of addressing inequalities in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 28 July 2023.
  • A/HRC/54/22/Add.5: New technologies and enforced disappearances - Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, 11 September 2023.
  • A/HRC/50/56 - The Practical Application of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to the Activities of Technology Companies – Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 21 April 2022.
  • A/HRC/50/32 - Impact of the digitalization of education on the right to education. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Koumbou Boly Barry. 19 April 2022.
  • A/HRC/50/29 - Reinforcing media freedom and the safety of journalists in the digital age. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. 20 April 2022.
  • A/HRC/48/76 - Racial and Xenophobic Discriminations and the Use of Digital Technologies in Border and Immigration Enforcement – Report of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, E. Tendayi Achiume. 22 September 2021.
  • A/HRC/48/61 - Right to Science in the Context of Toxic Substances – Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Substances and Wastes, Marcos Orellana. 26 July 2021.
  • A/HRC/44/57 - Racial Discrimination and Emerging Digital Technologies; A Human Rights Analysis – Report of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Tendayi Achiumi. 18 June 2020.
  • A/HRC/46/34 - “Right to Science” in Covid-19, Culture and Cultural Rights – Report of the Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, Karima Bennoune. 4 February 2021.
  •  A/77/296 - Principles Underpinning Privacy and the Protection of Personal Data. 20 July 2022.
  • A/77/290 - Development and cultural rights: the principles. Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Alexandra Xanthaki. 15 August 2022.
  • A/70/279 - Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, Patent Policy. 4 August 2015.
  • A/HRC/23/34 - Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, The right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity. 14 March 2013.
  • E/C.12/GC/25. General comment No. 25 (2020) on science and economic, social and cultural rights (article 15 (1) (b), (2), (3) and (4) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 30 April. 2020. 

Statements and Key Messages