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.
The objectives of the Technology Bank are to:
- strengthen the science, technology and innovation capacity of least developed countries, including the capacity to identify, absorb, develop, integrate and scale up the deployment of technologies and innovations, including indigenous ones, as well as the capacity to address and manage intellectual property rights issues;
- promote the development and implementation of national and regional science, technology and innovation strategies;
- strengthen partnerships among science, technology and innovationrelated public entities and with the private sector;
- promote cooperation among all stakeholders involved in science, technology and innovation, including researchers, research institutions and public and private sector entities, within and between least developed countries, as well as with their counterparts in other countries;
- promote and facilitate the identification and utilization of and access to appropriate technologies by the least developed countries, as well as their transfer to the least developed countries, while respecting intellectual property rights and fostering the national and regional capacity of the least developed countries for the effective utilization of technology in order to bring about transformative change.
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 and be sustainably integrated in national systems, 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 bridge, ensuring that science, technology and innovation information reaches the countries who need it the most.