Displaying 1-20 of 40 key documents
Source: UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
This document presents a collection of selected papers produced for and discussed at the Second International Conference on Early Warning, in Bonn, Germany, in 2003, and four regional conferences in Africa, Asia/Pacific, America and Europe. The conferences focused on integrating early warning into sustainable development policy. The document notes the failure of scientists, policymakers, local authorities and other relevant actors to use early warning systems efficiently, and makes suggestions for improvement. It highlights challenges, lessons learnt and possible trajectories for further development of early warning systems, and outlines key steps towards strengthening frameworks, finding resources, and designating responsibilities. Key areas for action include improving data collection, ensuring that warning systems focus on people and achieve gender balance, and creating platforms for early warning dialogue.
Source: UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) | 2009
This resolution, drafted by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), aims to mainstream global attempts to facilitate scientific innovation for sustainable development.
Its importance lies in engaging with the vast array of rights-based science and technology issues — including research systems, knowledge divides and cyber-security — and its explicit attempts to ground scientific and technological advance within the framework for achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
It presents a series of recommendations for consideration by national governments, the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). These include mainstreaming science and technology promotion and investment in governments' national development plans; providing suitable working conditions for scientific talent, particularly women and young graduates, to prevent brain drain; identifying critical gaps in countries' innovation systems; and developing a clearing house for common development challenges that can be addressed through scientific, technological and innovation-related issues.
Source: OECD-FAO | June 2012
This is the eighteenth edition of the Agricultural Outlook, which outlines projected market trends (from 2012 to 2021) for major agricultural commodities and biofuels, and presents recent developments and uncertainties associated with those markets. It focuses on the challenges of meeting the rising demand for food alongside input costs, resource constraints, environmental pressures and the impacts of climate change.
The report finds that world prices for many agricultural crops are expected to remain high over the long-term, in spite of a short-term decline. It highlights progress in improving the sustainability of agricultural practices, and calls for the private sector to take a leading role in creating the right environment.
The report concludes by arguing for better agronomic practices and commercial, technical and regulatory environments, and strengthening agricultural innovation systems, as essential policy challenges. It calls for developing countries to invest in agricultural infrastructure in rural areas and in human capital, and to put in place policies for reducing food loss and waste.
Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) | June 2012
This paper examines technology transfer and technology accumulation for development since the 1960s, with the aim of generating constructive dialogue on the subject.
The authors ask whether debates over technology transfer cater to developing countries' needs, and review how knowledge of capacity for technological innovation has changed over the past few decades. They also ask how international negotiations over technology transfer can reflect lessons learnt about how countries build technological capabilities in a changing global technology environment. The paper focuses on intellectual property rights (IPRs) — an issue which, they argue, is central to international discourses on technology transfer.
The authors conclude that in order to move forward, technology transfer cannot be discussed in the polarised terms of providing technology transfer in return for sustaining trends in global IPR protection, or by granting IPRs in the hope of technology transfer. To facilitate this discussion, they identify three linkages between technology transfer, IPR and economic development.
Source: The International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) | June 2012
This report presents a new index, which could become an alternative to gross domestic product (GDP) and the Human Development Index as a means of assessing a country's economic development. The Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) measures nations' wealth by taking into account natural resources and ecological conditions, and a long-term view on wellbeing and sustainability.
The IWI was applied to 20 countries — representing over half the world's population and three quarters of global GDP — revealing changes in inclusive wealth between 1990 and 2008. The report found that an accurate representation of development depends on accounting for factors such as population change, the effect of global variables, and the price of natural or social capital. It recommends that governments integrate the IWI into planning, development and economic policies; protect their natural capital; and establish research initiatives to help evaluate natural capital components.
The report will be published every two years, offering policymakers practical frameworks and encouraging more holistic approaches to economic development assessments.
Source: National Innovation Foundation (NIF), India | February, 2012
This document describes the work of India's National Innovation Foundation (NIF) in supporting grassroots innovation through activities such as documentation, business development and protecting intellectual property rights, and lays out proposals for strengthening links with African nations. Suggestions for Indo-African cooperation to spread innovative technology and ideas include cross-cultural exchanges and replicating the Honey Bee Network. The remaining part of the document contains an extensive catalogue of technological, agricultural and knowledge-based innovations supported and developed by NIF. They include a solar mosquito-destroying device, a portable and smokeless stove, a tractor attachment that collects groundnuts, and a hand-operated water pump.
This paper gives an overview of the history of science technology and innovation (STI) institutions and policies in the Latin American region, and the challenge of using STI to meet development needs.
The paper gives examples of public, private and civil society initiatives illustrating regional efforts to develop a 3D innovation agenda — one that concentrates on direction, distribution and diversity of innovations. It outlines areas for action to advance STI in Latin America, which include agenda setting, funding, capacity building, organising and monitoring, evaluation and accountability. Limitations and failings of STI are considered, and recommendations of further research are offered; they include persistent social and economic inequalities, institutional and political resistance to change, and the role of power relations in determining directions of STI policy in the future.
Source: Development Policy and Practice, The Open University | December, 2009
This paper discusses the shift in technological innovation from developed to developing nations, and its link to economic growth and poverty reduction. The author writes that until the 1960s, technological innovation activities took place in wealthy environments to meet the needs of rich, industrialised nations. But a rising entrepreneurial spirit, higher incomes and favourable economic conditions in developing nations such as China and India have created a favourable environment for the development and diffusion of appropriate technologies: low cost solutions for the poor. The author suggests that these parts of the world are likely to become the centre of appropriate technology development in the future due to the size of the population in need of innovations, as well as growing technical capabilities. He argues that this geographical shift will move technological progress away from large companies to small local producers.
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.
This editorial provides an overview of a special issue of the International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development (IJTLID), which contains papers first presented in a symposium organised in South Africa in 2010. It covers themes such as capacity building, inclusion, inequality, case studies and measurement within the field of innovation studies.
The author discusses major challenges facing the field, and their relevance to broader development agendas and policy. The article highlights the increasing acknowledgement of the important contribution that innovation can make in efforts to balance economic growth with better quality of life in developing countries. It outlines a research and advocacy agenda to strengthen the role and impact of innovation for development, and describes how the articles published as part of the issue tackle the issues included in this agenda. Through case-studies, the article also points to empirical evidence of innovation practices and outcomes in different sectors.
This report reviews the achievements made by the 'Promotion of Grassroots Innovation in Asia-Pacific Countries' project, which aims to build capacity for member countries to source, document and disseminate grassroots innovation and traditional knowledge as a means of economic and social development.
The first section documents the theory and practice of grassroots innovation using case-studies of existing organisations, such as the Honey Bee Network. It illustrates the diversity of approaches used to engage with this type of innovation, as well as the ethical aspects of informed consent before obtaining knowledge from local populations. The second part describes advances made during national and regional workshops on the subjects of capacity-building, promoting grassroots innovation and creating partnerships.
Source: Environmental Politics | June, 2011
This paper offers a theoretical approach to combining innovation and community action as a way to bridge the gap between grassroots activities and mainstream technological innovation. It discusses how grassroots innovation differs from mainstream business reform, and how the United Kingdom's sustainable development strategy reflects this.
Using an example of communal housing, the authors show how technological innovation is intimately linked to social innovation. The paper characterises social needs and ideological commitments as key drivers of grassroots innovation, and describes the benefits and problems associated with grassroots activities. It concludes by stating that grassroots activities are neglected, and lays out a research and policy agenda to help address the problem.
Source: Springer-Verlag | June 2011
This peer-reviewed paper examines the factors that motivate people to innovate, with the authors arguing that material rewards, such as capital or patents, make up only one aspect of their motivation. Using grassroots innovation in India as a case-study, the study found that the intrinsic rewards of "getting things done" and satisfaction play just as important a role as extrinsic factors, such as increased income.
The authors developed indicators of motivation by looking at innovation as a process of three stages — idea generation, experimentation and application. They found that intrinsic motivations were particularly important in the early stages, when there are high levels of uncertainty about the innovation. They conclude by outlining implications of their findings for innovation policies, suggesting that use of funding and patents could negatively impact innovators by reducing their desire to share their ideas locally.
Source: UNU-MERIT | June, 2011
This paper describes two case studies of smallholder farms in South Africa to assess the processes involved in agricultural innovation carried out jointly with farmers. It highlights the importance of experimentation and cooperation for cash crop and subsistence farmers, and reviews current policies to evaluate how grassroots innovation is being supported in South Africa.
The paper points to inadequate policy support for grassroots innovation. It outlines the characteristics of innovation systems including social contexts, learning cycles and self-reflection, and discusses intellectual property rights. The authors identify triggers for innovation, including the potential to cut down on labour, and suggest that policymakers and local communities need to engage in cooperative activities to create an enabling environment for grassroots innovation. Policy suggestions include creating links between formal and informal research and viewing collaboration as a key indicator of success.
Source: World Resources Institute | September 2011
This paper provides guidance for policymakers working on identifying low-carbon technologies, and discusses why they should put innovation at the centre of any green growth strategy. The authors argue that the need for innovation in the low-carbon power sector is critical in terms of preventing climate change and promoting development.
The paper explains the innovation process in the low-carbon power sector, and highlights participants and rules in the innovation process. It introduces the 'innovation ecosystems' approach — designed to capture the complexity of innovation processes — and to identify the services innovators need. The final section lays out a step-by-step process for identifying and making the most of opportunities in this sector. The authors conclude that innovation is key to using technology effectively and solving global problems requires everyone to live up to their potential as innovators.
Source: The World Bank | May 2011
This sourcebook provides an overview of current and upcoming information and communications technology (ICT) for agricultural innovation, and discusses their potential to improve productivity, services institutions and value chains. It aims to provide both technical and policy guidance to development professionals and decision makers, and focuses on how ICT can support poor smallholder farmers including female farmers.
The guide includes fourteen modules on various aspects of ICTs in agriculture, including how to use the technologies to boost livestock, crop and fishery production; increase smallholder farmers' access to financial services; and improve rural governance. Each module provides information about current trends in ICT use, identifies challenges and lessons learned, notes how technologies have been used to achieve specific goals, and offers examples of successes or failures. The report describes the contributions these technologies can make, provides guidance on how to design and implement ICTs and on how to evaluate them.
Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development
This policy brief looks at the role of intellectual property rights in developing and accessing technologies for mitigation and adaption to climate change. It provides an overview of intellectual property rights as the main mechanism of encouraging technological innovation for responding to climate change, and describes the issues that prevent constructive discussion in the area. The brief brings together diverse perspectives to propose action, beginning with building trust and exploring potential policy options, challenging countries to go beyond their entrenched positions and thus enable productive climate talks. It concludes with a caution that without reaching a compromise, the impasse will prevent a significant move towards green technologies.
Source: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
This report, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, examines the role of renewable energy sources and technologies in the mitigation of climate change and provides policy relevant information. The authors evaluate the scientific literature on six renewable energy sources — bioenergy, direct solar energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy and wind energy — and their current deployment. The report describes how each of these power sources can be integrated into future energy systems, and outlines future research needs in the context of sustainable development. It puts forward strategies to overcome environmental and social consequences associated with the deployment of such technologies, and compares the cost of energy from renewable sources to non-renewable sources.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) | March 2011
This policy guide, published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, lays out the key requirements for developing effective and efficient smallholder seed enterprises, and how the process can be supported through policy. It argues that the best way to ensure production and distribution of quality seed in developing countries may be to support smallholder seed enterprises, but this approach can only succeed if the right policies and capacities are in place.
The report gives an overview of each stage of the evolution of the seed sector and possible interventions, as well as priority activities for policy support at each stage. These may include national policies to encourage linkages between research, quality control and financial systems that can support local smallholders in taking over seed production from the public sector. It outlines specific requirements for the establishment and sustainable operation of smallholder seed enterprises.
Source: UNESCO | 2007
This technical report provides policymakers with a framework for action to address the underlying causes for the science and technology (S&T) gender gap, and aims to promote discussion about gender in the scientific and academic communities.
The report provides an overview of S&T for development and discusses how gender can be incorporated into S&T education, research and policy. It incorporates empirical data and research contributed by institutions involved in science, technology and gender studies and policy around the world. It highlights the need to increase women's participation in S&T research, foster awareness about science, technology and gender among the general public, and collect more data for research.
The full report is available in English but Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Russian versions are being prepared. An executive summary is available in English, French, Arabic and Chinese. It is the first of several planned thematic reports to be produced by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).