UNESCO reviews STI policy in Botswana, 2008−2014
UNESCO’s Division of Science Policy and Capacity-building has been collaborating with the Government of Botswana through the Spanish Fiduciary Fund allocated to the project on Capacity-Building in STI Policy in Africa.
In May 2008, the Hon. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, addressed an official request to UNESCO for technical assistance in reviewing Botswana’s Science and Technology Policy of 1998.
The main reason for the review was to align the Science and Technology Policy with Botswana’s Vision 2016 outlined in Botswana’s Tenth National Development Plan (2009−2016).
In September 2008, UNESCO ran a first subregional workshop for all SADC countries on STI policies and indicators, in collaboration with the African Union Commission. The workshop was hosted by the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology and moderated by UNESCO staff, including specialists from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Botswana’s presentation of the status of its Science and Technology Policy review process during the workshop served as the basis for defining a roadmap for cooperation during a bilateral meeting with UNESCO.
Within this roadmap, UNESCO contracted an expert in early 2009 to undertake a mission to Botswana, to provide the Department of Research, Science and Technology and national consultants with technical assistance. The expert met with the Intersectorial Steering Committee in charge of drafting a status report on S&T and the policy review.
After the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology was established in late 2009, UNESCO recruited another expert to help finalize the draft National Policy on Research, Science, Technology and Innovation and status report. In November and December 2010, the final draft was circulated to ministries and consulted by stakeholders. After some revision, the policy was submitted to the Cabinet.
UNESCO subsequently provided the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology with technical support in drafting the implementation plan for the revised policy and elaborating the operational guidelines for setting up the institutions proposed for the policy governance structure, among them the National Research Fund.
In February 2011, UNESCO staff participated with the consultant in a two-day national stakeholder consultation workshop financed by UNESCO, at which both the revised policy and its implementation plan were presented.
In November 2011, UNESCO was present at the official launch of both the National Policy on Research, Science, Technology and Innovation and its Implementation Plan.
In November 2012, in response to the common need expressed by countries participating in UNESCO’s project for Capacity-Building in STI Policy in Africa for greater capacity in the design and evaluation of STI policies, policy instruments and governing bodies, UNESCO ran a subregional workshop for the SADC countries, in cooperation with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Science and Technology for Development. The idea was to train national specialists in how to use analytical tools and produce a national profile for integration in the Global Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments (GO→SPIN). Botswana made an immediate commitment to producing such a profile. Entitled Mapping Research and Innovation in Botswana, this profile is due for release in November 2013. It will be the first in a new series of country profiles in STI policy produced by UNESCO within GO→SPIN.
UNESCO’s Spanish-funded project winds up in July 2014. For the last phase, the Government of Botswana has requested technical assistance in operationalizing, managing and assessing the National Research Fund.