Widespread poverty will not be eradicated unless the capacity of the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) to utilise science, technology and innovation is rapidly scaled up. Improving access, knowledge and skills in this area will also help to remove daunting structural constraints, unleashing the potential for sustained growth and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, which stand to benefit over a billion people living in these countries.
Building such capacities alone will not be enough, access to much needed technologies is also key. Dedicated and coordinated actions on these two fronts can help set LDCs on a positive cycle of high growth, sustained social progress, robust resilience against natural and human-induced disasters and beneficial integration into the world economy.
Although LDCs face important development challenges in science, technology and innovation, they also have one major advantage. These countries are latecomers to the field and as such, they do not have to invent everything they need.
The technology already exists to solve problems and achieve significant results simply by developing the capacity to find, adapt and adopt proven, off-the-shelf technology developed elsewhere. This technology may not be new to the world, but from the perspective of least developed countries it is newly available.
The UN Technology Bank has been established to help LDCs build science, technology and innovation capacities, ecosystems and regulatory frameworks.
These can harness the benefits of newly available technologies by:
- Attracting outside technology and facilitating technology transfer on voluntary and mutually agreed terms and conditions
- Supporting homegrown innovation and research
- Bringing imported and indigenous technologies to market
LDCs face a set of special challenges. We work with countries to identify and use technologies that are appropriate to their specific needs and which will have a real and lasting impact, from building economies to the health and welfare of individuals and communities.
We actively bring together different actors including government, academia, civil society and the private sector to form partnerships that boost the quality, availability and access of science, technology and innovation for LDCs.
We work with partners in least developed countries to ensure they have the capacity to adapt and use technologies to which they have access.
We support national and regional research efforts to identify areas and sectors where the science, technology and innovation needs improvement or greater investment.
We act as a depository for technological information and as a broker, ensuring that science, technology and innovation information reaches the countries who need it the most.