Developing countries are increasingly recognising the importance of science in developing their economies, and the challenges that entails.
Displaying 1-20 of 32 key documents
Source: Asian Institute of Technology Working Group
This document builds on the idea that security constitutes a basic human right, and examines how technological advances can potentially impinge on this right while also addressing an imbalance of global security, technology, and power.
The article insists on the social production of science and technology, and makes the case for creating an alternative technological order that would re-orient the production of science and technology so it is socially driven and engages directly with human vulnerability. The authors argue that this would serve to re-entrench the basic right to security and create new modes of empowerment through the democratisation of technology.
Source: UNESCO International Hydrological Programme | July 2012
This collection of papers was presented at a conference on linkages between climate change, water, conflict and migration, held in September 2011 at The Hague, in the Netherlands, where the discussion focused on: capacity building and resilience in climate hotspots; conflict prevention; and a legal framework to protect environmental migrants.
The publication includes a conference summary and a background document providing an overview of how climate change, water stress and environmental problems are increasingly seen as major threats to human security. Also included are papers that explore connections between these issues from the perspective of vulnerability; put forward a research and capacity-building agenda for climate-induced migrations; and review current literature, evidence and implications for policymaking on the environment, climate change and human displacement.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
This paper, published by the UK-based Institute of Development Studies, examines how disaster risks associated with climate change might impact electricity generation and energy planning — which is an emerging research and development agenda. The authors argue that energy researchers and policymakers have overlooked how changing disaster risks could affect electrical power production.
The report assesses the vulnerability of nuclear power as well as several other options for energy generation — including oil, natural gas, hydropower and bioenergy — and identifies the implications for energy policy and planning. It lists recommendations as to how policymakers could take into account the link between disaster risk management and low-carbon development to improve the capacity of developing countries to build resilience. Suggestions include completing environmental impact assessments when siting new power plants, establishing better links between energy, climate, and disaster policymakers, and planning climate change adaption strategies for electricity production.
Source: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
This safety guide, published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is designed to help countries prepare plans to improve their capacity to respond to nuclear or radiological emergencies whether as a result of an accident or malicious use of nuclear material. The guide can also be used to meet IAEA's safety requirements.
It outlines generic and operational criteria, according to specific radiation doses, to help policymakers decide between different courses of action to protect the public, emergency workers and the environment. It includes guidelines for assessing food and water contamination, and subsequent remediation measures, as well as on how to set safety perimeters around an incident depending on initial observations at the scene. The guide also outlines lessons learned from past experiences.
Source: Center for Global Development | March 2011
This working paper, published by the US-based Center for Global Development, outlines a market-oriented approach to funding the development and deployment of low-carbon energy technologies in developing countries. It describes how a green venture fund, with money coming from public and private investors, could help the development of green technologies suitable for use in low-income countries "in time to avoid catastrophic climate change". The authors discuss the commercialisation of these technologies; the structure and rationale of the funding strategy; and how the fund could operate, addressing key issues such as setting technology priorities, geographic focus, and the treatment of public and private investors.
Source: PLoS Medicine | May 2005
This report from PLoS Medicine argues that nanotechnology has a role in the development of low-income countries. The authors survey 85 experts worldwide and rank the top ten nanotech applications most likely to benefit developing nations. They outline how these applications can help meet the Millennium Development Goals. The paper calls for an initiative to identify "grand challenges" in nanotechnology for global health, which since the publication of this paper are now underway.
Source: Journal of Nanotechnology Online | Oct 2005
This follow-up paper, from the Journal of Nanotechnology Online, provides an in-depth look at the way poor countries engage with nanotechnology. It analyses why some developing nations are ahead of others in nanotechnology progress, and the challenges some less-developed countries face in shoring up nanotechnology capacity. It also investigates nanotechnology patent activity and assesses country participation in nanotechnology policy dialogues – for instance, China is a frontrunner in filing nanotech patents yet it is absent from policy discussions.
Source: Science | July 2005
Mohamed Hassan at the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) argues that the nanotechnology boom will not lead to a divide between developed and developing countries due to the transformation of 21st century global science. Hassan says Brazil, China and India are swiftly developing nanotech capabilities. Instead, he warns of a South-South divide as poorer nations struggle to catch up. To avoid this, Hassan recommends that developing nations create networks between universities and research centres to share nanotech expertise.
Source: South African National Biodiversity Institute | June 2010
The paper investigates the gap between the scientific or research community and the policymaking community in South Africa. It proposes a model of knowledge brokering as a means to bridge the gap and ensure the uptake of evidence in policy development and implementation. The model looks at the need for institutional mechanisms, such as knowledge-brokering offices in research organisations and government. It highlights the importance of researchers involving policymakers from the outset as well as increasing dialogue between these communities.
Source: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | May 2010
This academic paper explores the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) system within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The authors highlight the principle challenges facing non-commercial biodiversity research scientists, in particular the tight regulations that restrict access to genetic resources in many countries and ultimately hinder the generation of knowledge vital to implementing the CBD.
Source: Nature | May 2010
In this Nature article, three members of the Royal Society call for an advisory group and a network of international laboratories to lay the groundwork for nuclear disarmament and international collaboration. Scientific collaboration has already helped nuclear negotiations, say the authors. But now, the technology needed to support disarmament must be developed.
Source: Science | February 2007
In this Science article, US-based scientists Kristin M. Lord and Vaughan C. Turekian argue that science diplomacy is critical to US efforts to build positive relationships with foreign societies. They outline roles for US scientists to play — from acting as goodwill ambassadors to collaborating with colleagues overseas. And they highlight the importance of nongovernmental scientific organisations as conduits to foreign societies.
Source: Cell | January 2009
Writing in Cell, Nina Fedoroff, science and technology advisor to the US Secretary of State, calls on all US scientists and engineers to build partnerships with developing countries and improve the economic and educational opportunities within these nations. Scientists have a pivotal role to play in decreasing the disparities between rich and poor, she says.
Source: Open AIDS Journal
This series of articles considers the questions and conflicts surrounding the use of patent pools for antiretroviral (ARV) treatments for HIV/AIDS.
It provides background to the debate, considers individual proposals including the UNITAID patent pool, and offers regional perspectives on the suitability of patent pools to Africa, China and India.
Source: West Indian Medical Journal | November 2008
This journal article, written by three researchers in Trinidad and Tobago, looks at malaria in the Caribbean. It asks why there are still outbreaks — including a big one in Jamaica in 2006/2007 — when the disease was allegedly eliminated in the late 1950s. The authors review malaria and vector data from across the Caribbean, summarising the pattern of imported cases as well as indigenous ones.
They identify three essential conditions for malaria transmission: presence of the vector, imported organisms and susceptible human hosts — all of which the authors show still exist across the Caribbean.
The authors suggest specific actions for regional policymakers to combat malaria. These include enhancing vector control skills, strengthening surveillance with new technologies, upgrading malaria therapy, increasing prevention strategies such as bed nets and raising public awareness of malaria. They emphasise that the role of climate change must be considered too, saying that rising temperatures could lead to new malaria vectors entering and colonising Caribbean islands and transmitting malaria on a major scale. But the authors are also careful to point out that the link to climate change is uncertain and remains contested in scientific circles.