UNESCO and WTA have agreed to establish one pilot project in each of the following regions: Africa, Arab States, Asia Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, at the end of 5 years. Each pilot project has triple function: first, as the infrastructure of capacity building for science park managers in the region; second, as the object of technical assistance since UNESCO will provide the pilot project with technical assistance; and third, as the platform of a regional network.
Within the framework of the preparation of pilot projects, a regional workshop was conducted in the Arab States, Africa and Asia-Pacific with the following objectives: (i) to assess the state of development of science and technology parks in every country in each region; (ii) to initiate the development of a network of science and technology parks at regional level; (iii) to identify a science park that can be used as a UNESCO-WTA pilot project.
Based on our awareness that innovators rarely innovate alone, UNESCO supports and promotes the development of international partnerships on science and technology parks. There are currently three big worldwide networks of science parks, such as IASP with more than 400 members, University Research Parks with around 100 members and WTA with around 70 members. Unfortunately, the existing networks are not very strong. Our strategy is to collaborate with the international networks, strengthen the existing regional networks and assist in the creation of a new network if one does not exist.
As follow-up to the Arab States regional workshop, Mubarak Science Park in Alexandria, Egypt, was selected as the UNESCO-WTA pilot project for this region. In July 2007, a team of UNESCO experts, in cooperation with Egyptian experts, conducted a study to develop a business plan for the park.
In July 2008, the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, was chosen to host the science park in Africa.
A science park will subsequently be chosen for the Asia-Pacific region.