Escap meeting in Islamabad focuses on efforts to facilitate innovation in support of sustainable development Islamabad:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Government officials from across Asia and the Pacific met today in Islamabad to discuss how governments can promote innovation for sustainable development and shape the future direction of the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT).

A subsidiary institution of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the APCTT organized the 12th Session of its Governing Council, bringing together ten of its thirteen member countries – China, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.H.E. Mr. Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology, Pakistan inaugurated the Session with a keynote address.

While addressing the participants of the inaugural session of the Governing Council, Federal Minister for Science & Technology Rana Tanveer Hussain said that the Government of Pakistan has given high priority to the implementation of 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the SDGs. Pakistan has already formalized a broader political support for the SDGs through adoption of a unanimous Resolution in the National Assembly of Pakistan on 19 February 2016. The Prime Minister’s Task Force has been constituted on SDGs and a Monitoring and Coordination Unit is being established to serve as a National Coordinating entity. Besides this, Progress Monitoring and Review Centers will also be established at the Federal and Provincial capitals, in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

It is encouraging to note that in Pakistan, the National Research Agenda-2016 has been prepared in-line with the Vision-2025, to align the national R&D and innovation activities with the SDGs. The National Research Agenda identifies 13 priority areas, vital for national growth and development. It is based on the input of a large number of stakeholders including scientists, engineers, researchers, industrialists and policy makers, while more priority areas will also be added in the national research agenda as recommended by the Executive Committee of the National Commission on Science and Technology. Pakistan is placing emphasis on formulating Innovation Strategies and Action Plans to align itself with global pace of development as well as to meet the SDGs. The National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Strategy and Action Plan (2016) have been prepared in consonance with the Vision 2025 to align the national R&D activities with the SDGs, where as each Policy Action is target-oriented and time bound.

 During the opening session, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary of ESCAP and United Nations Under-Secretary-General, emphasized that “the ability of countries to grow their economies in a globally competitive environment depends on their capacity and preparedness for strengthening the innovation eco-system and supporting technology transfer, with a particular focus on innovative entrepreneurs”. Dr. Akhtar stressed that APCTT’s policy advice, capacity building programmes, and analytical work have played a vital role in supporting member States efforts to strengthen their national innovation systems and build their science, technology, and innovation (STI) capacity. To maximize its impact and better enable countries to harness STI for sustainable development, Dr. Akhtar underscored that moving forward APCTT must begin to cover new and emerging areas of innovation, and incorporate new modes of delivering capacity building activities, such as e-tools.

A dynamic business sector is a key source of technological and non-technological innovations. The High-level International Conference on Innovation Strategies, organized as the substantive segment of the 12th Session, provided a platform for policymakers, experts and representatives from private sectors to share best practices on the role of public policies in facilitating innovation for sustainable development, supporting innovative entrepreneurs, measuring innovation and the role of the public research institutes. Policy recommendations and suggestions on the emerging area of work which APCTT should address were incorporated to the APCTT’s future work programme.

The Governing Council reviewed the substantive progress and accomplishments of APCTTto date, including administrative matters, financial status and work programme implementation since the previous Council session. It further called on member Statesto strengthen APCTT’s institutional capacity and enrich its future programmes in support of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.