Developing countries are increasingly recognising the importance of science in developing their economies, and the challenges that entails.
Displaying 1-20 of 47 key documents
Source: UNESCO Division of Human Rights, Philosophy and Democracy | 2011
This report offers the most up-to-date and rigorous compendium of every existing human rights-based international and regional instrument and framework.
Published annually, the report also provides key statistics and comparative international analysis of evolving human rights standards and implementation of key rights-based mechanisms. It offers data on how rights-based instruments have impacted particular social and cultural groups (including women, refugees, and children with disabilities). It also provides scope for reflection on how the vast array of rights-based instruments implicitly and explicitly engage with science, technology, and development issues.
The report is divided into three sections. The first looks at universal instruments, the second regional, and the third consists of a copy of the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
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: 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: 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: UNCSD | March 2012
This document is a draft of the international agreement to safeguard the Earth's resources, which will be used to create a final declaration at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place in Rio, Brazil later this year (20–22 June).
This 'zero draft' of the Rio+20 declaration, entitled 'The Future We Want', is based on more than 600 submissions from individual countries, civil society and nongovernmental organisations and other groups.
It outlines advances and setbacks on achieving sustainability since the 1992 Earth Summit, which also took place in Rio, calls for renewed political commitment and outlines a framework for progress towards the green economy. It also calls for support for scientific research and technology transfer in developing countries; strengthened global environmental governance; and sustainable development goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
The document includes an overview of the conference's vision, a framework for action, priority issues and proposals for strengthening implementation.
Source: Pew Environment Group | October 2011
This policy paper focuses on the depletion of fisheries in the past 20 years, and the urgent need for governments to implement existing policies within the sustainable development framework put forward at the Earth Summit in 1992. It highlights gaps in ocean management, and aims to inform discussions and negotiations in the run-up to the Rio+20 conference in June 2012.
The authors urge the international community to implement commitments made as part of the Earth Summit, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Millennium Development Goals. They also identify eight additional areas for action by the international community as part of a 'pathway to a green economy'.
The paper singles out marine fisheries and marine biodiversity as two key elements of discussions at Rio+20, and argues that there can be no green economy without a blue economy and sustainable marine ecosystems.
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: Harvard University
This policy brief, from Harvard University, explores research and development (R&D), cost and performance issues that the nuclear power sector needs to consider if the industry is to meet the growing demand for carbon-free energy. Based on surveys it offers estimates of the costs and performance of this research, and potential benefits that could be gained over the next 20 years.
A key finding is that current levels of public investment in nuclear power technologies will not lead to a major reduction of the cost of nuclear plants by 2030. Instead, many of today’s R&D programmes are focused on capabilities such as extending uranium resources or improving waste management and safety. The authors acknowledge that the Fukushima accident has highlighted the need for better preparedness and has undermined confidence in nuclear energy. The report concludes that development of nuclear power should address issues aside from R&D such as getting public acceptance and support from governments.
Source: Health Research Policy and Systems
This paper discusses how researchers promote the use of research in policy by examining the practices of 'boundary organisations' that cross the boundary between science and politics to facilitate evidence-based policies and programmes. It identifies key lessons for organisations looking to engage policymakers and decision-makers.
The study focuses on the Regional Network on AIDS, Livelihoods and Food Security (RENEWAL), a regional 'network of networks' active in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia which engages government officials on programmes that could inform policies on food, nutrition and HIV/AIDS. It describes the challenges and successes of efforts to promote research in these areas; challenges include adherence to scientific principles while maintaining close relationships with political authority, and ensuring accountability to the communities within which the research is conducted.
The paper offers recommendations to strengthen efforts to get research into policy, and concludes that the concept of a boundary organisation can help researchers engage people and processes that have decision-making power.
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: 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: Nanotechweb | Jan 2004
This opinion article argues that excessive concern about the risks of nanotechnology in developing countries could derail its progress and hinder the enormous health, environment and economic benefits to be gained from nanotechnology research. The authors identify the developing countries making the most advances in nanotechnology, those in the middle ground, and the "up and comers".
This briefing paper, published by the Royal Society and part of its Atlas of Islamic-World Science and Innovation project, summarises recent scientific and technological advances across the Islamic world and draws attention to the barriers to further and faster progress.
The authors present case studies of successful projects in Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and examine the role of women in science in the Islamic world, and the effects of governance, policy and the media.
Source: Africa Progress Panel
This policy brief, prepared by the Africa Progress Panel, African Development Bank and UN, outlines the implications of climate change for Africa, emphasising the need for a strong and cohesive negotiating position at the December 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen.
The authors argue that African governments must define practical steps for the international community to address the climate crisis. Three areas require urgent action: clear emissions targets and an adaptation fund; energy-saving technologies through additional financing and technology transfer; and improving long-term frameworks such as the Clean Development Mechanism and reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
To achieve this, argue the authors, African heads of state and ministers of finance, planning and environment must collaborate on a practical strategy position to generate maximum buy-in from the rest of the world. This must be achieved in time for high-level meetings in the second half of 2009.
Source: ICTSD | May 2009
This policy paper, published by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), addresses technology transfer issues in developing countries and considers current intellectual property rights.
The author makes practical recommendations to least developed countries (LDCs) wanting to use technology transfer as an effective growth engine, and to developed countries who must comply with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
The paper finds that technology transfer in LDCs is hindered by trade and foreign investment shortfalls, and an inability to disseminate new technologies throughout the economy.
The author suggests a shift to local authority decisionmaking over technology transfer and assistance to socially beneficial projects with low expected profitability.
Source: World Health Organization
In 2005, the World Health Assembly called on WHO member states to tackle their growing rates of cancer by developing rigorous cancer control programmes. To help guide the process, the WHO developed a series of six modules that provide practical advice for programme managers and policy-makers on how to advocate, plan and implement effective cancer control programmes, particularly in developing countries.
Individual modules focus on planning; prevention; early detection; diagnosis and treatment; palliative care; and policy and advocacy. As of May 2008, all but the one on policy and advocacy have been published.
Source: Nature Reviews Cancer
Worldwide, cancer kills more people than HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB put together. In developing countries where chronic diseases are now growing alongside infectious diseases, new strategies need to be developed.
This article outlines how to develop an effective cancer strategy in African countries on the basis of discussions at the recent African Cancer Reform convention. A cancer control plan clearly needs to take into account African countries' financial constraints and the authors outline six key essentials that would offer most health gain for money invested. These are: setting up cancer intelligence units to collect data on cancer incidence; controlling tobacco use; early diagnosis and prevention; offering treatment wherever possible; palliative care when treatment is no longer useful; and training and educating future generations of African oncologists.
Developed countries can offer crucial expertise and experience and collaborate on cancer information networks. Educating local communities about a disease that is relatively new but growing quickly will also be essential to stop it spiralling when many cancers are preventable or treatable when detected early enough.
In 2003, the Gates foundation infused new vigour into global health efforts by declaring that the 21st century's "grand challenges" included developing new vaccines and overcoming drug resistance. This new grand challenges initiative, launched by a collaboration of top global chronic disease experts, identifies priorities in tackling diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and explains in detail how research should be directed to meet each challenge (a challenge was defined as a critical barrier that if removed would help solve an important health problem).
To distill the range of opinions and priorities, the coordinators sought input from 155 stakeholders from different countries and disciplines. The initiative requires the participation of agencies like the WHO, individual governments, and non-governmental organisations as well as civil society and business if it is to succeed. The authors point out that the Gates initiative was linked to large funding, whereas this project will rely on multiple funding agencies to coordinate on these priorities.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine | January 2007
Global health experts have watched with increasing alarm as the waistlines of people in developing countries have started to widen with the adoption of a "Western" lifestyle. Obesity is of such concern because of its heightened risks for other diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
In developing countries, the number of people with diabetes is set to rise to 228 million by 2030 from 84 million estimated in 2000. The link between obesity and diabetes is so strong because obesity renders individuals unable to properly process glucose — about 90% of type 2 diabetes is due to being overweight. Obesity and diabetes also raise the risk for cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. Diabetic nephropathy was the most common cause of end-stage renal disease in 9 out of 10 Asian countries, say the authors, which could be deadly for countries unable to cope with the health repercussions.
Source: African Union | April 2001
The African Union (AU) developed the African Model Law on Safety in Biotechnology to help countries across the continent fulfil their obligations under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and manage related issues.
The AU encourages the development of a common position on biosafety regulation (see AU Biosafety Project) across the continent. It does not have the authority to legislate on behalf of its members — but it promotes the Model Law as a framework for individual countries to use in creating their own laws and institutions.
The Model Law is being revised through an ongoing consultation process before submission to AU governments for possible adoption at national level.