Overview of UNESCO’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)

UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Science in Latin America and the Caribbean is based in Montevideo, Uruguay. Since 2011, it has been carrying out a consultative process with a view to establishing a Regional Strategic Action Plan in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy for Latin America and the Caribbean. This process consists in the organization of a number of regional and sub-regional fora with governments and other stakeholders.

In its current form, the draft Action Plan is based on five pillars:

Strategic STI Information Management

This pillar of this plan is the Science Policy Information Network (SPIN) for Latin America, launched in 2010. SPIN is an information platform based on a cluster of databases, accessible via innovative graphic and analytic tools. SPIN is conceived as a tool for decision-makers and experts in science, technology and innovation (STI) policy, who can access cross-nationally comparative information, both quantitative and qualitative, to develop new policies, tools and instruments, or produce regional analysis of the state of STI policy in the region. SPIN is the pilot project for a global observatory being developed by UNESCO known as GO-SPIN. A new proposal, NEXUS, aimed at exploring the capabilities of the semantic web, constitutes the next step in developing this pillar in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Promotion of regional R&D activities

The main instrument here will be a regional facility to fund R&D and other STI activities that involve South-South cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean. Discussions with banks and other partners are ongoing.

Capacity-building in STI management

This involves various training programmes with numerous partners in the region, including the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and various universities, such as UNICAMP in Brazil and the University of Quilmes in Argentina.

Research and foresight in STI policy

This pillar will provide the way forward for upcoming regional initiatives. It will mainly involve networking STI policy researchers in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as key STI actors, such as deans of science faculties, regional science organizations, academies, etc.

Co-ordination and strengthening of regional and international cooperation

In recent decades, many international organizations have shown interest in STI policy and increased their presence in this field in Latin America and the Caribbean. Only through proper co-ordination will we make the desired impact on the Millennium Development Goals of sustainable development and the eradication of extreme poverty.

Contact Ernesto Fernandez-Polcuch in UNESCO’s Montevideo office

UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Science in Latin America and the Caribbean

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