The Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), to which UNCTAD provides substantive support, is the focal point within the United Nations for science, technology and innovation (STI) for development.
The commission plays a central role in strategizing how STI, including frontier technologies, serve as enablers of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Supported by UNCTAD analysis, the CSTD provided intellectual leadership and policy guidance for the UN to address the economic, social, ethical impacts and unintended consequences of frontier technologies.
As an international forum, the CSTD engaged government ministers and development stakeholders to help developing countries implement their technology and development agenda.
Such support is backed by world-class research – such as UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2021, focusing on frontier technologies and inequality – and access to leading scientific expertise including Nobel prize winners.
Through the CSTD, UNCTAD connected technology stakeholders in various development-oriented partnerships such as national STI policy reviews, which helped developing countries strengthen their innovation systems.
CSTD member States also benefited from partnerships for technological capacity-building, including programmes to enhance developing countries’ ability to use space technologies and big data to monitor crops for higher yield.
In addition, UNCTAD facilitated partnerships to train policymakers from developing countries on good practice in technology and innovation policy.
Following CSTD deliberations, in 2021 UNCTAD launched a new project to develop the capacity of STI stakeholders in Africa to conduct technology assessments.
The project aims to help African countries better leverage frontier technologies to turbocharge sustainable development.