From past to present, technology has shaped the path of sustainable development in several key Asian economies, according to a new report launched today by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
The study, titled, Evolution of Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Sustainable Development: The Experiences of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore tracks the trajectories of science, technology and innovation (STI) development policies in the four countries from pre-industrial to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The country narratives draw on recent initiatives and experiences in forming STI policies that support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Guided by the report, the Asia-Pacific region stands to accelerate commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by facilitating STI capacity development.
“In a world of rapid technological transformation, the capacity of governments to leverage innovation for sustainable development and mitigate against risks is a key element for future prosperity. This report and training will help our member States to understand and prepare for these technological changes,” said Ganbold Baasanjav, Head of the ESCAP Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia.
To maximize the potential for innovation, the report delivers information relevant to the public sector, civil society and professionals in science, technology and innovation. Through the lenses of the four Asian leaders in STI initiatives, the report provides concrete and up-to-date technical data on STI development and contains detailed analysis accessible to civil society, innovators, entrepreneurs and governments.
While innovation is often considered the realm of the private sector, the report identifies three main ways governments can be innovative, through improving service delivery, creating new public services and developing new forms of governance that address specific societal challenges.
The report was launched in Incheon, Republic of Korea at an Expert Group Meeting held in conjunction with the Training Workshop on STI Policies for Sustainable Development in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, organized by ESCAP Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia, the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on STI Policy (ARTNet on STI) and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), a Korean governmental research think tank specialising in STI policy from 18-22 March 2019.
The training workshop serves as an introductory programme for senior policy makers on developing STI policies aligned with the SDGs in the context of the rapid technological change. The meetings also builds the capacity of government representatives from across 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region to develop effective policies on frontier technologies for sustainable development. Participants will hold thematic discussions on research and development for catch-up and leapfrog growth, building human capacities in the era of AI, and fostering linkages between the public sector and academia, civil society and the private sector.