UNESCO has cooperated with Namibia in the field of science, technology and innovation (STI) policy for many years. In 2004 to 2005, the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Employment addressed an official request to the Director-General of UNESCO to provide technical assistance to formulate a strategic plan for the reform of and investment in science and technology for Namibia’s national development. With its regular programme resources, UNESCO organized an exploratory fact-finding mission notably for the operationalization of the Act on Research, Science and Technology that the Namibian Parliament adopted in October 2004. Areas of immediate attention were identified, condensed into three projects, and recommended to Namibia to implement in the short-term.
One of the projects focused on the establishment of the National Commission for Research, Science and Technology and its organs, as well as the creation of a National Research, Science and Technology Fund to support the development, management and application of STI.
Through the Spanish funded project on Capacity-Building in STI Policy in Africa, UNESCO renewed its cooperation with the Ministry in charge of science and technology (S&T) in 2012, in close collaboration with the Directorate of Research, Science and Technology. After consulting and setting up of a national working team, a road map and terms of reference were developed to focus on:
- designing the funding mechanisms for research, science and technology; and
- developing STI indicators and a model to monitor and evaluate the digital platform.
Two technical missions were fielded in 2013 and served to provide guidance and develop two documents, the Final Draft Procedure Manual for the Operation of the National Research, Science and Technology Fund of Namibia (pdf) and a proposed model to design a STI information platform for the country (pdf). These documents were presented and discussed at a national stakeholder workshop in Windhoek. The government validated these proposals and further requested UNESCO to provide assistance in the review of the National Programme on Research, Science, Technology and Innovation. An international expert selected by the National Commission for S&T (NCRST) undertook two missions to the country and assisted in the revision of the Programme. The expert provided a detailed review of the preliminary texts prepared by the NCRST and took part in a wide consultation with Namibian STI stakeholders to promote their participation in the preparation of the National Research, Science, Technology and Innovation Programme.
The Government expressed satisfaction with the technical assistance and guidance provided by UNESCO and willingness to continue cooperation after mobilizing additional resources for a follow-up project.
In the evaluation questionnaire sent to UNESCO at the end of the project activities, the Ministry noted that many challenges remain for the next phase of cooperation, such as:
- the need to set up a STI information system in Namibia;
- engaging the participation of the private sector and industry in STI development;
- the linguistic issue in Namibia and the need to facilitate the use of languages for science reports and dissemination; and
- the development of marketing and communication approaches for the dissemination of research and innovation issues.
- Namibia developing national programme for research and STI, 26 March 2014
Articles and Publications
UNESCO Science Report, 2015