Developing countries are increasingly recognising the importance of science in developing their economies, and the challenges that entails.
Displaying 1-20 of 77 key documents
Source: Maria Socorro I. Diokno
This chapter of the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) Development Toolkit — a document that aims to help address the role of human rights in development — looks at the full spectrum of the rights invoked by HRBA in relation to development, and fleshes out their concrete implications on the work that development planners undertake.
It also examines how human rights-based approaches to development planning operate in regional and national settings, and maps the multiple factors that affect the implementation of HRBA in development.
It includes diagrams that illustrate the pathway of each particular human right within the developmental infrastructure, with a view to revealing the deep social impacts found at each step of the pathway. The chapter illustrates how rights are not simply abstract principles, but normative mechanisms with profound effects on the way that development is practised on the ground.
Source: SustainUS | June 2012
This guide provides an overview of water-related topics up for discussion at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). It aims to introduce the Rio+20 process and facilitate relevant stakeholder participation.
It gives an overview of global water commitments, emerging issues related to water resources such as sound management and sustainable urban development, and an outline of where water features in the draft document prepared for the summit. It concludes with policy recommendations which include national strategies that recognise the human right to water, and the establishment of gender indicators that strengthen women's participation in governance. The authors say that a strong unified front from the water community is required to ensure a positive result from the agreements made at Rio+20.
Source: IFPRI | February 2012
The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) is the first measure of women's empowerment and inclusion in the agricultural sector. It aims to track the change in female empowerment as a result of the US government's Feed the Future initiative that tackles food security.
The WEAI focuses on five areas: decisions on agricultural production, power over resources such as land and livestock, decisions over income, leadership in the community, and use of time. The report features case studies in countries where pilot indices were developed.
The results of pilot projects highlight, among other issues, that wealth is a poor indicator of empowerment, and that lack of control over time can contribute most to disempowerment in some countries.
Source: Center for Global Development | September 2011
This report presents findings from the first randomised evaluation of a cash transfer programme delivered using mobile phones. The study investigated the effect of mobile phone technology on monthly cash transfers to households in Niger that were affected by a severe drought.
Villages that received cash in this way, known as 'zap', saw benefits such as reduced costs of receiving cash, more diverse purchases and diets, and more types of crops. This, suggest the authors, is down to the zap mechanism encouraging different decision-making in the household, as well as due to lower costs and greater privacy.
They conclude that mobile transfers are a cost-effective way of transferring cash to remote rural populations, especially those with limited road and financial infrastructure, but caution that more research is needed on broader effects on the welfare of these populations.
Source: United Nations Environment Management Group | October 2011
This report outlines the first coherent strategy drawn up by the UN to address dryland management, taking into account environmental concerns and the well-being of dryland communities. It examines the relationship between drylands and climate change, food security and livelihoods, and highlights ways in which the UN is working to mainstream drylands into policymaking processes.
Climate change is already having an impact on crop yields and nutrition in areas that rely on rain-fed agriculture, according to the report, and these impacts will intensify by 2020 in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. The impacts of climate change may be most pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, suggesting that those already vulnerable will be affected the most.
A key message is that the international community has an opportunity to address the underlying causes of dryland degradation. The report concludes that global cooperation must be intensified if the ten-year strategic plan of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification — whose aim is to tackle desertification and degradation — and the Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved.
Source: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
This report, published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), details a survey of all significant nuclear-related developments that took place in 2010 worldwide, and outlines how each of the developments has affected the work of the IAEA.
It provides updates on the status and trends in nuclear power, including plants that are under construction, and offers up-to-date details of global uranium resources, safety and emergency preparedness guidelines, and applications of nuclear technology in areas such as cancer treatment. Changes in nuclear law, proposals for nuclear waste management and the status of decommissioned sites are also discussed. The report concludes that countries, international organisations and civil society must work together and respond to future challenges collectively if nuclear energy is to benefit development.
Source: Climate Change Adaptation and Development Initiative (CC DARE), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
This paper suggests that research-based, small-scale interventions that help farming systems adapt to climate change can guide progress towards achieving food security and addressing the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.
It outlines lessons learnt from the Climate Change Adaptation and Development Programme jointly implemented by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Development Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The authors argue for a shift away from top-down, corporate approaches to agricultural research and practice, in favour of a democratic approach that involves giving more decision-making power to local people, including farmers and indigenous people. Small-scale initiatives reduce tillage, protect the soil surface and alternate cereal crops with legumes that enrich the soil.
The paper suggests that communicating food security solutions to the public can help balance vested interests and level the field in favour of small producers. Managed effectively, the current drought in the Horn of Africa offers a window of opportunity to re-establish food security as a global priority.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute | February 2011
This report gives an overview of the challenges facing many African countries that have renewed their commitment to agricultural research and development (R&D). It outlines levels of staffing and public spending on agricultural R&D, country-specific analyses on what drives R&D growth, and an overview of funding sources.
New data presented in the report show that public spending on agricultural R&D and capacity levels — such as infrastructure and agricultural researchers — have increased since the 1990s in Sub-Saharan Africa. But a handful of countries account for this trend, with many others still dependent on external funding.
This report outlines key areas that governments, donors and other stakeholders must address to improve prospects for agricultural R&D. These include decades of underinvestment, challenges in human resource capacity and regional cooperation.
Source: Chatham House | November 2010
This briefing paper, aimed at policymakers and researchers, discusses the regulatory implications of having varied definitions of the term 'counterfeit' and outlines successful law enforcement initiatives to halt the trade in fake drugs. The paper outlines the problem of counterfeit medicines and the urgent issues to be considered by the international community before taking additional steps to tackle it. It discusses the controversy around intellectual property rights and counterfeits, and investigates the motives behind some anti-counterfeiting initiatives that seem to be more concerned with protecting patents.
Source: UN Environment Programme | 2009
This annual report from the UN Environment Programme highlights investment trends in renewable energy, including solar technologies. It finds that new investment in renewables continues to rise — despite the global financial crisis — as a result of a growing focus on climate change, energy insecurity, fossil fuel depletion and new technologies. In 2008, the solar sector received US$33.5 billion of new investment — a rise of 49 per cent from 2007.
Source: Center for Global Development
This paper, published by the Center for Global Development, describes the institutional hurdles to increasing funding for nutrition policies and programmes.
Drawing on a series of interviews with key stakeholders in the field of global nutrition, the authors identify the major institutional strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in global nutrition. They point to donors' growing awareness of nutrition and an increase in national planning and engagement in some countries including Uganda, as well as the birth of partnerships such as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.
But, say the authors, there is no obvious leader with adequate resources and a clear mandate to improve nutrition in the international community. International players are also disconnected from country policymaking and implementation.
The authors suggest that donors create a shared set of principles for coordinating nutrition funding. They also call on leaders within UN agencies to increase the agenda of nutrition security within the UN itself.
Source: Overseas Development Institute (ODI) | December 2009
This article, published by the Overseas Development Institute, summarises the findings of a study on the challenges of incorporating science, technology and innovation into policy in developing countries and highlights the role of science in promoting effective climate change adaptation measures.
The study, commissioned by SciDev.Net and the UK Department for International Development, included investigations of how to improve structures and institutions for delivering climate change adaptation and how to integrate adaptation measures into developing country policies as a critical priority.
The article suggests finding innovative ways to embed scientific knowledge into national policy through, for example, placing researchers in government bodies or creating citizen juries to judge adaptation measures.
Source: South Centre | February 2009
This book, published by the intergovernmental organisation South Centre, presents a collection of articles on intellectual property (IP) restrictions and access to knowledge for developing countries.
An outcome of the South Centre Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme, the book responds to pressure from IP owners to increase control over knowledge in different forms including digital platforms.
The first part describes how IP restrictions challenge access to knowledge by setting out the norms, common goods and public authorities' responsibilities.
The second section describes recent developments in policy discussions including proposed World Intellectual Property Organization treaties and multilateral efforts to extend copyright limitations and exceptions.
The final part makes practical suggestions for moving forward, such as using open access or tapping into Internet technology.
Source: ACU | June 2005
This paper from the Association of Commonwealth Universities outlines the commitments and activities made by major international partners — specifically the G8 countries — to developing African higher education between 2000 and 2004.
Projects are analysed by topic — from human resources development to HIV/AIDS to science and technology — and region. The authors highlight trends in donors' strategies for supporting African higher education, presenting development portfolios and case studies from France, Germany, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and the United States, among others. They suggest improvements in aid delivery, including collaboration between donors and increased communication about individual donor strategies. They also call for more networking and collaboration across higher education institutions within Africa, while noting that these face financial constraints.
The authors conclude that there is a particular need for donors to provide more support to science and technology projects — as a crucial driver of socioeconomic development.
Source: Center for Global Development | February 2008
This paper, written by researchers at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Columbia in the United States, examines various aspects of higher education in developing countries including its impact on economic development.
The authors discuss the growing demand for higher education in developing countries, analysing the contributing factors and presenting examples of different country responses. In particular, they examine the trends in China, India and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Some broader challenges facing developing countries, including governance, brain drain, equity and access, and regulation and accreditation are outlined. They also examine the role the international community — including major donors such as the World Bank — has played in supporting higher education in the developing world.
The authors highlight the general lack of data on higher education and call for more research on how, and even whether, higher education works in developing countries.
Source: South Centre | December 2008
This paper challenges the idea that patent counts provide reliable indicators of innovation in cross-country assessments. The authors argue that national differences in patent systems — how and why patents are granted and standards of examination — make comparisons across countries difficult at best, inaccurate at worst.
They urge readers to be cautious in interpreting the World Intellectual Property Organization findings that suggest the geography of innovation is changing — based on a sharp rise in patent counts in north-east Asia. The authors' own analysis of Chinese patent applications and legal frameworks in Brazil, India, Europe and the United States shows wide differences in the value of patents across regions.
They recommend developing a proper set of indicators for monitoring innovation capacities, particularly in developing countries.
Source: Nature Reviews | January, 2004
Vaccination for infectious diseases is a vital method of prophylaxis, and has transformed modern medicine. By contrast, research into vaccines against chronic diseases has been less successful, in part because of the increased complexity involved.
In this opinion piece, the authors outline the prospects for the development of chronic disease vaccines. These might not need to rely on the traditional method of inducing the body to produce antibodies, but rather on introducing monoclonal antibodies against specific proteins — this has so far worked well against Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
The authors outline key hurdles in developing a successful therapeutic vaccine. Safety and efficacy are two obvious ones, but there is a third that is unique to vaccines for chronic diseases. Because these vaccines would block bodily chemicals — such as cytokines or hormones — it would not be acceptable for a vaccine to induce a life-long block (unlike a malaria vaccine, for example, where a lifelong block would be ideal).
These might be particularly useful in developing countries, say the authors. Because prophylaxis with vaccines is already a familiar concept, there should be no problem with patients' compliance, and judicious partnerships between public and private organisations could mean the vaccines are produced cheaply.
Source: The Haworth Press | 2005
The mass media is an effective way of getting policymakers interested in a research issue, but only if communicators are able to make the issue attractive. Ways to increase the media appeal of research policy related news are suggested, as is the need to equip researchers and analysts with improved communication skills that will help bridge the research-policy gap.
Source: UNESCO | 1998
This study was prepared for the UNESCO Cairo Office. The key objective was to collect a wide array of data and statistics on R&D systems across the Arab states.
The study was motivated by the attempts of several Arab countries to balance the need to invest in R&D systems with their rapidly depleting resources during the 1990s.
These attempts focused on: diversifying the funding base of R&D activities; maximising linkages between industry and business enterprises and R&D performing institutions; optimising the relevance of R&D activities to client demand; increasing competitiveness among institutions for funds; and institutionalising R&D activities as an economic operation.
The study provides data on the organisation of R&D systems, R&D performing units, trends and levels of funding, full-time researchers, and R&D disparities between Arab countries.
This document provides important — and rare — background data on R&D systems across an important sub-section of the OIC member states and may be valuable for science, technology and innovation policy-makers from these countries seeking to better understand the structure and contribution of R&D in their economies.
Source: UN/ESCWA | 2005
This study provides a framework and guidelines for the design, development and implementation of strategies to build an integrated knowledge society and knowledge-based economies in Arab countries, in accordance with the goals of the World Summit on the Information Society.
The study asks what exactly a knowledge society or knowledge economy is. It provides an overview of the analytical tools needed to create a knowledge strategy and makes recommendations as to how strategies might be best implemented. Lebanon and Yemen are presented as case studies, comparing and contrasting their experiences of crafting and implementing their own strategies.
The authors conclude that "moving towards the knowledge society means adopting customs and attitudes that value knowledge as a personal asset, an organisational resource and an economic prerequisite. The region must start moving into intellectual capital leverage, and must strive to create, disseminate, share and make such capital more productive."