Reflecting of the successful outcome of UNCTAD’s recent quadrennial ministerial conference, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD reminded yesterday that the adopted Doha Mandate from UNCTAD XIII which will guide organization’s work for the coming four years, sees effective science, technology and innovation (STI) policies as a “central feature” of sustainable and inclusive national development strategies.
Dr. Supachai spoke at the opening of the fifteenth session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development, being held 21-25 May in Geneva. Taking place seven years after the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the session will serve as preparation for the ten-year review of the implementation of WSIS outcomes. UNCTAD serves as the secretariat of the Commission.
The worldwide positive trends of technological growth notwithstanding, a significant digital divide still remains between developed and developing countries, Dr. Supachai warned. Moreover, the links between new technologies and inclusive growth and development have proved to be neither simple nor linear. Anecdotal evidence cannot be taken as substitute for sound research in this area, since a number of country-specific variables influence this complex relationship, including income, education, and the institutional and legal framework, Dr. Supachai reminded.
The UNCTAD S-G stressed the organization’s full commitment to continue working jointly with a broad base of partners to leverage further development gains from STI. One area in which UNCTAD has been contributing are the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) reviews, which have received appreciation from ECOSOC. Member States have called on UNCTAD to increase significantly its efforts to conduct these reviews, in response to growing demand, Dr. Supachai noted. At this year's session of the Commission, the STIP reviews of El Salvador and Peru will be officially presented.