The UN Technology Bank helps least developed countries build the science, technology and innovation capacity that they need to promote the structural transformation of their economies, eradicate poverty and foster sustainable development.
A number of activities have been initiated to reach this objective.
Science, Technology and Innovation Reviews and Technology Needs Assessments
Science, technology and innovation are key for the socioeconomic transformation of least developed countries and their sustainable development. These countries experience serious deficits in their science, technology and innovation capacities and lag behind significantly compared to the more-advanced developing countries that are closing socio-economic divides through more developed knowledge-based economies. The UN Technology Bank assists least developed countries by building capacity of these nations to access and use science, technology and innovation.
A series of baseline science, technology and innovation reviews and technology needs assessments are currently underway, starting with a small number of least developed countries and over time, scaling up to cover all 47 nations.
The reviews and assessments are being conducted in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other relevant organizations. They will identify technological gaps and priority needs, as a first step towards developing coherent and integrated strategies that are tailored to the specific situation of the country under review. They will also include recommendations for strengthening policies and measures to improve national and regional technological capabilities and encourage innovation, including detailed assessments in areas of critical importance for the countries under review.
Promoting Access to Research and Technical Knowledge
The least developed countries experience considerable challenges in gaining access to published research, which makes it difficult for them to operate on an equal playing field with other nations in the areas of science, technology and innovation. The importance of strengthening national capabilities and providing expertise to this group of countries is a key concern of the UN Technology Bank.
To ensure that least developed countries are not left behind in achieving internationally agreed development goals, the UN Technology Bank is taking steps to stimulate the production of high-quality research in these countries through capacity development and fostering international research collaboration, both South-South and South-North.
The UN Technology Bank works with several partners including Research4Life, a collective of five research programmes focusing on health, agriculture, environment and other life, physical and social sciences, to deliver these activitives. Research 4Life provides developing countries with free or low-cost access to academic and professional content online. The UN Technology Bank is ensuring that the least developed countries make the best possible use of this access.
Strengthening National Academies of Science in Least Developed Countries
The UN Technology Bank works to strengthen the capacity of Academies of Science in least developed countries so that these institutions can act as advisors to the government and industry on science, technology and innovation. The Academies will assist in directing science and technology policies, integrating these vital areas into sustainable development achievements.
Through this activity, Academies of Science are being established and strengthened, where they already exist in least developed countries, supported by the UN Technology Bank and in partnership with regional networks of academies, the UN Regional Commissions and regional development banks.
The academies will provide science, technology and innovation information and advice, by performing studies, on policy issues at the request of authorities. They will also bring together research and technology leaders to address science, technology and innovation, acting as a communications hub for up-to-date information and developments on science, technology and innovation in-country.