unctad.org | CSTD discusses UN Secretary-General’s reports on priority themes
CSTD discusses UN Secretary-General’s reports on priority themes
22 May 2012

Developments in the ICT landscape have provided opportunities for innovation, collaboration and learning. However, for applied science to keep delivering benefits to societies, a stronger commitment to basic science and research is required, participants agreed.​

Recent developments in the ICT landscape are significantly affecting the relationships between innovation, research, technology transfer and entrepreneurship. In particular, some of these trends give rise to opportunities for “learning by collaboration” in a variety of areas, accelerating skill-building and spurring innovation. In this light, the use of Open Access, virtual libraries, and Geographical information systems can enhance education and improve accessibility of research, especially in developing countries.

These are some of the main points of the two reports of the United Nations Secretary-General on the two priority themes of this week’s fifteenth session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, presented today by Mr. Mongi Hamdi, Head of UNCTAD's Science, Technology and ICT Branch, and also Head of the CSTD Secretariat.

Developing the discussion that followed, Dr. Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director-General of CERN, called for a global initiative for bringing science back to the “heart” of our societies. We are all experiencing the benefits that applied science has brought, yet we must not forget that it is basic science that makes the applied one possible, he noted. Promotion of science and research should be a global priority, particularly among young people, Dr. Heuer concluded.

Science, technology and innovation (STI) policies must be at the core of the development efforts of countries, yet there are no ready-made blueprints on how this is to be achieved, said Mr. Taffere Tesfachew, Director of UNCTAD's Division for Africa, LDCs and Special Programmes. Following the recommendation of the CSTD, he reminded, UNCTAD has been conducting science, technology and innovation policy (STIP) reviews of countries, aimed at helping them maximize the beneficial effects of STI in their local context. UNCTAD has completed 12 STIPs so far, with those of El Salvador and Peru to be presented tomorrow.​


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