Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Development

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Science, technology and innovation (STI) are universally recognized as key drivers for poverty eradication and essential components for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, to make STI work for the society, appropriate STI policy frameworks and participatory forms of governance need to be developed and reinforced.

In this regard, UNESCO supports countries' efforts to reform and upgrade national STI systems and governance. For the past decades, UNESCO provides technical advice, methodologies and guidance to Governments on design, monitoring and implementation of STI policies as integral parts of national development policies and plans.

As part of its work in STI policy, UNESCO develops partnerships with international and regional institutions working in the field of STI for development, and carries out activities that raise political awareness on the need to invest in STI as important pillar to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The role of UNESCO in STI policy is threefold: a technical adviser on policy development and implementation; a standard-setter for national policy reforms; and a catalyst for regional and international cooperation.

STI policy technical assistance and advice

UNESCO has a long tradition of providing policy advice and technical assistance to Member States for the generation and effective utilization of their STI potential. Depending on a country’s specific needs and national context, UNESCO accompanies Governments in the process of elaboration of national STI policies and strategies to achieve effective sustainable development and social-economic well-being. Furthermore, advice is also given on specific STI governance issues, such as funding mechanisms, national STI commissions, STI laws and other STI policy instruments.

UNESCO’s work in STI policy in:

In order to strengthen countries’ capacity in STI policy development, UNESCO provides training to policy makers in STI policy.

Guidelines and standard-setting in STI policy

As part of its role of standard-setter in the field, UNESCO is developing a new methodological framework in STI policies to provide better support to countries, including a “STI Policy Blueprint”, a “STI policy standard process outline” and a methodological guide for “Priority Setting in STI”. This new frame reflects the changes which have taken place in the STI policy landscape, nature and practices and the need to strengthen sound evidence-based STI policies responding to the main societal needs and goals.

UNESCO develops tools, such as the Global Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments (GO-SPIN) and STEM and Gender Advancement (SAGA), to provide policy-makers with informed and strategic choices in terms of policy instruments and mechanisms for effective policy implementation and improvement of gender equality in STI.

International STI policy initiatives and partnerships

UNESCO contributes to many international STI policy initiatives, working in close collaboration with other UN agencies and development organizations, such as the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), the OECD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Bank, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). International STI policy initiatives UNESCO is contributing to include:

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