25.10.2013 - UNESCO Venice Office

Western Balkan Regional Research and Development Strategy for Innovation Steering Committee and Ministerial Meeting

©World Bank - Western Balkans Regional R&D For Innovation

With job creation stagnant and economic growth stalled, the Western Balkans region faces an intensifying need to create knowledge-based economies that can generate higher value-added jobs and stronger growth. The high-level event to be held on 24- 25 October 2013 at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb, Croatia, is bringing key stakeholders to endorse the Western Balkans Regional Research and Development (R&D) Strategy for Innovation.

Regional cooperation at the policy level will create positive peer pressure and serve as credible commitment for implementing reforms at the national level and promote integration of the region into the European Research Area (ERA). Integration in international scientific and innovation networks and technologically advanced production chains is fundamental for the quality and impact of R&D and innovation for all the countries in the region.

The Joint Statement of the Ministerial Conference, held in Sarajevo 2009, expressed the interest of the region in developing a joint strategy on research and innovation. In September 2011, the World Bank and the European Commission signed an agreement to support the development of the Strategy. The resulting technical assistance is financed through a multi-beneficiary Instrument of Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).

For the last two years, a Steering Committee composed of the beneficiary entities (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo [1], The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), the World Bank, the European Commission and the Regional Cooperation Council oversaw the project implementation. The Advisory Body composed of stakeholders of the national innovation institutes, universities and private business, while ad hoc experts guided and contributed to the development of the Strategy.

The Strategy, accompanied by an action plan detailing initiatives to be implemented at the regional level, identifies priorities and is expected to serve as a framework for a collective effort to recommend policy for institutional reforms, which will promote the Western Balkans’ most urgent priority to increase contribution of research and innovation to the overall economic development of the region.

The main objective of the meeting is the ministerial endorsement of the Western Balkans Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation. Participants will include ministers responsible for science from the beneficiary countries, as well as representatives of the European Commission, the Regional Cooperation Council and the World Bank. Mario Scalet, head of the Science unit of UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), member of the WBC-INCO.NET Steering Platform and supportive of the process, will represent UNESCO in that event.

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[1] As defined by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 from 1999




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