New technologies have the potential to accelerate a country's development, but a global technology gap remains.
Displaying 1-17 of 17 key documents
Source: World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) | 2010
This document examines ethical and human rights-based approaches to climate change and climate-related vulnerability. It was published by the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), an independent expert advisory committee tasked with guiding the UN Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) in its implementation of ethical frameworks in science, technology and development.
In particular, the report focuses on ethical issues brought about by climate change, and discusses both general and specific principles that could be adopted to respond to these issues.
These include protecting human rights; providing equitable access to medical, scientific and technological developments, including the rapid sharing of knowledge about such developments and the sharing of benefits, with particular attention to the needs of developing countries; holding polluters accountable for the cost of their pollution; and ensuring that development is sustainable.
Source: Millennium Project | January, 2005
This report outlines the role that science, technology and innovation can play in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It draws from lessons learned over the past five decades, and describes actions needed to help achieve the MDGs through technological innovation, including building scientific infrastructure, investing in education and promoting business activities in science and technology.
The report acknowledges three main actors in technological innovation: governments, academic institutions and private enterprise. It argues that they must work together to improve the policy environment, technological infrastructure and capacity-building in developing nations. It suggests that global partnerships, advising policymakers and good governance should be encouraged, and points out that the diversity of political environments and resources means that countries should not have a one-size-fits-all approach to policy development.
Source: UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) | January, 2009
This report — summarising a UNESCO innovation for development workshop — examines the role of innovation in development, and the contribution of knowledge, research and development to innovation. It focuses on knowledge in science, engineering and technology.
The report outlines analytical and theoretical frameworks as well as current innovation efforts and innovation policy. Major issues discussed at the workshop are highlighted in an action agenda, which suggests the need for more research and statistical indicators, dissemination of projects, human and institutional capacity building, better policy design and the need to increase awareness of innovation.
A separate report, which is included in the document, consolidates several themes that emerged from the talks, including the need to improve policy coherence, the difficulties of comparing innovation across countries or different points in time, the importance of capacity building, and the role of technology transfer in generating new knowledge. It also identifies challenges facing policymakers, the research community and international donors in achieving these goals. The report includes keynote speeches and links to Powerpoint presentations given at the conference.
Source: Global Economy and Development at Brookings | January 2012
This report gives an overview of education challenges facing the developing world and discusses the technologies available to address them. It aims to provide guidance to decision-makers designing, implementing or investing in education initiatives.
The report focuses on the potential of recent information and communications technology (ICT) such as mobile phone and laptops, and examines conditions that can influence whether technology interventions are successful. It also focuses on the world's poorest countries.
The authors put forward seven principles for effective use of technology in education, which include a focus on identifying the problem before introducing a technology to address it, and considering whether the design and implementation of the technology will allow it to last over time. The report concludes that ICTs can bring quality learning to some of the world's poorest and hard-to-reach communities.
Source: Worldwatch Institute
This report, from the US-based Worldwatch Institute, provides qualitative and quantitative information about nuclear power plants in operation; under construction; and those being planned worldwide. It also includes an overview of reactions to the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan.
The authors analyse the economic performance of past and present nuclear projects, and compare them with other leading renewable energy sources. A country by country rundown of nuclear power projects can be found in the annex of the report.
Key findings suggest that nuclear power can no longer keep pace with the development of other renewable power sources. The report states that the nuclear industry had been in decline even before the Fukushima disaster because not enough new reactors are becoming operational, while existing reactors are aging rapidly. The authors believe that the disaster at Fukushima is likely to accelerate this downward trend.
Source: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) | June 2011
This report, from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), highlights the results of research into what drives and inhibits the uptake of new crop-livestock farming techniques by small-scale cattle farms in Asian countries. The authors describe five farming systems in China, Indonesia and Vietnam that have attempted to increase beef production and profitability by integrating new farming knowledge and technology with help from ACIAR. Using these case studies, the authors draw out lessons learned for future initiatives. Key findings include the importance of partnering with local people who have a good understanding of the farming system, and having a realistic expectation of the scale of improvements that can be made with new technologies.
Source: Institute of Development Studies | May 2011
This report investigates how the next generation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) — such as open mapping and open source crowdsourcing platforms — can empower vulnerable communities and build local capacity.
It is based on an investigation of how initiatives such as Map Kibera, an online community information source based in Kenya, contribute to creating shared information resources. The empirical data also provide insights into the hurdles and opportunities facing marginalised communities using these innovative communication tools. The report also presents results from interviews of leaders of ICT initiatives deployed to support post-reconstruction efforts in Haiti.
It outlines the challenges of using ICT for development, including the need to balance short-term individual benefits with longer-term agendas and the responsibility of those in charge to build trusting relationships to diffuse tensions emerging from free information sharing.
The study highlights the role of open-source social entrepreneurs as a new development actor, and the opportunities for collaboration between development and technology practitioners. The report suggests a follow-up research agenda to build upon this initial investigation.
Source: Meridian Institute | January 2005
This report, published by the Meridian Institute describes the growing interest of developing countries including Brazil, China, India and South Africa, in nanotechnology. The ways nanotechnology applications could solve health, sanitation, and pollution problems and provide faster, cheaper information and communication technology are outlined. The challenges of using and developing nanotechnology for and in developing nations including the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders are also discussed.
The Meridian Institute says nanotechnology can play a role in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals. As a result, rich nations should dedicate a reasonable portion of their overseas development assistance to nanotechnology.
(To access the report, users must create a free login name and password.)
Source: UN Economic Commission for Africa | April 2005
This report, prepared for the UN Economic Commission for Africa, reviews the status and prospects for remote sensing in Africa.
The authors argue that a real and immediate need exists for real-time remote sensing data to improve early warning, vulnerability assessment, mitigation, response and relief of disasters. This means, they say, supporting African countries to acquire data — including launching their own satellites, as well as improving bandwidth infrastructure and building capacity for analysing and processing geoinformation.
The authors highlight the continent's limited connectivity as a particularly challenging hurdle to overcome, as well as a lack of training and expertise in remote sensing. They briefly outline international donors' efforts to improve the situation and suggest improving collaboration and networking.
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory | March 2003
This report, written by solid-Earth scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, sets out the requirements for delivering high-accuracy, high-resolution surface deformation data for earthquake studies.
The authors build on recommendations made by NASA's Solid Earth Science Working Group. They propose a constellation of satellites for interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) — a technique based on combining two or more radar images in a way that can measure ground motion on a centimetre scale.
A constellation of InSAR satellites could provide earthquake prediction data, suggest the authors. The GESS report defines a 20-year roadmap for earthquake forecasting and outlines the measurement requirements, as defined by scientists and disaster managers.
Source: CEOS | 2008
This report, prepared by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), presents the main capabilities of satellite systems and their applications to detect, monitor and adapt to climate change, alongside plans for future relevant satellite missions.
The report is divided into three parts. The first discusses the Earth's changing climate, emphasising the role of satellite imagery in monitoring this. The second presents a number of case studies to illustrate how earth observing satellites provide data to improve our understanding of climate change, including charting sea-level rise to better cope with flooding.
The final part summarises satellite capabilities with a description of the different satellite missions and instruments as well as their applications, such as to improve weather forecasting or provide damage assessment associated with natural disasters.
Source: Meridian Institute | October 2006
This paper from the Meridian Institute describes a range of well-known and field-tested conventional approaches to removing contaminants from water as well as the current crop of nanotechnologies that could enhance existing — or develop new — water treatment technologies.
For each approach or potential product the authors give a short description of what it is and who has developed it, and report on the product's effectiveness in removing contaminants, the amount of water it can treat, and its cost and ease of use. They also include summary comparative charts of conventional versus nano-based treatments.
Conventional approaches covered include various types of filters, ultraviolet radiation, chemical treatment and desalination. Nano-based water treatments covered include carbon nanotube-based technologies, nanofiltration membranes and devices, nanoporous materials and clays, zeolites, nanocatalysts and magnetic nanoparticles.
Source: UNESCO | March 2009
This report, prepared by the World Water Assessment Programme under UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), assesses global freshwater resources including what drives the pressures facing them, how water is used, climate change's future effects on water supplies and options for improving water management for sustainable development.
The authors highlight the increasing demand for water, outlining the demographic, economic and social factors — such as population growth, international trade and changing lifestyles. They argue that climate change will undoubtedly affect water resources, impacting water quality and the frequency of extreme events such as droughts or flooding.
Investment in the water sector is important, say the authors — to improve access to clean water as well as decrease pollution from untreated sewage discharge. International donors must play a part in improving water infrastructure in the developing world, they add.
But how individual countries respond will depend on their own development objectives, capacity and political framework. The authors outline options for policymakers to increase supply, manage demand, reduce losses and reallocate resources.
Source: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars | January 2009
This report, published by the Project on Emerging Technologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, looks at social and ethical issues of emerging technologies, with a focus on nanotechnologies.
The author examines social context issues such as unequal access to health care, morally controversial practices such as synthetic biology, the emergence of technoculture, and life issues.
He discusses three common misconceptions; that it is too soon to understand the ethical implications of new technologies; that raising ethical issues hinders technological and social progress; and that the sole purpose of ethical and social research is to secure public acceptance.
The author concludes that ethical considerations can anticipate and proactively address any negative aspects.
Source: Meridian Institute | January 2005
This report, published by the Meridian Institute describes the growing interest that developing countries, including Brazil, China, India and South Africa are showing for nanotechnology. It describes the ways in which nanotechnology applications could solve problems of health, sanitation, and pollution and provide faster, cheaper information and communication technologies.
The report also reviews the challenges of using nanotechnology for and in developing nations. Finally, it outlines the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders in ensuring that nanotechnology moves forward responsibly.
The Meridian Institute says nanotechnology could play a role in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals — a set of quantified development objectives to be achieved by 2015. As a result, governments of rich nations should dedicate a "reasonable" portion of their overseas development assistance to nanotechnology.
To access the report, users must create a free login name and password.
Source: The Economic and Social Research Council, UK | July 2003
This report by the UK Government-funded Economic and Social Research Council presents an overview of nanotechnology and its commercial applications, from cosmetics to the defence industry. It features a chapter on the debate between those who claim that nanotechnology will have a positive impact on society and those who consider it dangerous. A useful literature summary in the second appendix briefly describes the contents of 25 key documents published in the field of nanotechnology in recent years.
Source: Swiss Re | May 2004
The insurance industry trades in risk, and therefore has a vested interest in assessing the risks connected to emerging technologies. This report presents an overview by the leading insurance company Swiss Re. It assesses the range of risks to human health and the environment posed by nanotechnology and the implications for insurance.
The report says that the unknown risks of toxicity and pollution associated with nanotechnology are unacceptable. Swiss Re is concerned nanotechnology may follow the same route as asbestos, a product that was used chiefly in construction materials for many years, posing great risks to human health and the environment, before the real scale of its toxicity was revealed.
The report's appendices summarise potential applications for nanotechnology in the fields of information technology, medicine, pharmaceuticals and energy processing. The full text of the report is only available in pdf format.