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Capacity-building for policymaking on the promotion and application of science and technology to meet the Millennium Development Goals

Background:

The Commission on Science and Technology for Development has stressed that science and technology are central to facilitating the achievement of all Millennium Development Goals. Developing countries are more likely to meet the Millennium Development Goals with concerted efforts to place science and technology at the centre of their development agenda. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals requires a reorientation of national development policies to focus on key sources of economic growth, including those associated with the use of new scientific and technological knowledge, and related institutional adjustments. The report of the Secretary-General on promoting the application of science and technology to meet the development goals contained in the Millennium Declaration (E/CN.16/2004/2) encourages national Governments to review and analyse their science, technology and innovation policies to ensure that they serve the needs of development effectively.

The project will address science, technology and innovation as key development issues that need to be integrated in national development strategies. It will be primarily designed for decision makers in Africa and will be carried out in partnership with prominent academic institutions, such as the Science, Technology and Innovation Program (STIP) of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. The project will also seek to partner with the regional commissions, UNDP country offices, non-governmental organizations and multilateral organizations such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South.

The project will draw on previous UNCTAD experience with science, technology, and innovation policy reviews, as well as on relevant work undertaken by regional commissions. Emphasis will be placed on knowledge-sharing and partnerships.

Objective:

To integrate science and technology into national development policies by assisting policymakers in developing countries.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased exchange of expertise and experience among national and regional science and technology policymakers
  • Implementation of recommendations, policies and practices favouring technological capacity-building and strengthening technological capabilities, innovation and competitiveness and integrating them in the overall policy framework

Implementation status:

The project results so far have been mixed, with varied degrees of success among the three client countries covered by the project (Ghana, Lesotho and Mauritania). Overall, the results to date have been good in Ghana and Lesotho and so far less developed in Mauritania. Each of the three reviews (Science, Technology and Innovation Policy-STIP) was designed to correspond closely to the needs of the client country in terms of the focus of the reviews on industries and issues of importance to the client country based on discussions with local counterparts in each country. Each has therefore been tailored to fit specific country requests in terms of project design. The degree of local participation, discussion among policy makers and other stakeholders based on the project, and local "buy-in" or ownership of the project has varied (very good in Ghana and Lesotho and not as noticeable in Mauritania). Accordingly, the likely impact of the project as does the likelihood of actual follow-up within several years in the country, which is very high in Ghana and Lesotho. In summary, the results have varied among the three countries but may be judged to be positive overall.