New ‘Technology Bank’ to foster innovation

Paro, Bhutan

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 17 - which looks for the "means" to achieve the rest of the 16 SDGs - the United Nations recently established a “Technology Bank” for least-developed countries (LDCs). The UN General Assembly tasked the Technology Bank to strengthen the knowledge capacity of the world’s 47 LDCs, foster development of their national and regional innovation ecosystems to attract outside technology and generate homegrown research and innovation. This is part of the effort to ‘leave no one behind’ by the United Nations Agenda 2030.

In this effort, UNESCO provides technical support for STI policy reviews and Technology Needs Assessments to countries requesting such support.

At the request of the Government of Bhutan, the Technology Bank conducted the first technical mission during the week 14-18 October 2019, in Bhutan.

Guy Broucke, UNESCO New Delhi Chief of Natural Sciences, participated in the technical mission in Paro to start a multi-sectoral assessment, which included extensive consultations with relevant ministries and institutions and a one-day consultative workshop. Guy stated that “STI develops naturally whatever we do. Understanding the STI system of a country is the first step towards guiding it towards the desired priorities. Knowing where we are and where we want to go, and coming up with the instruments to get us there, is the essence of policy-making”.

This is the first step towards mapping STI and identifying technological gaps and priority needs in Bhutan. The final aim is to develop coherent and integrated strategies to strengthen policies and measures in LDCs in order to improve national and regional technological capabilities to encourage innovation.