The ESCWA initiative on technology
Technology capacity-building initiatives for the 21st century in the ESCWA member countries
A study published in 2001.
A follow-up on networking was also published in 2005
The present study (pdf) discusses the most common models for technology-based initiatives, charting practical approaches to their design and implementation. It includes case studies for S and T policy initiatives as well as various technology capacity-building initiatives such as technopoles, incubators and high-technology industry clusters. These case studies are taken from various developed and developing countries, and are analysed in the context of their original setting and prevailing conditions. In so far as possible, lessons are drawn from these experiences in the hope of providing food for thought to designers of ESCWA country initiatives. Pioneering initiatives in some ESCWA/Arab countries are also discussed as pointers to the current status of the region. A framework for future action in the ESCWA/Arab countries is offered as a proposed set of guidelines for the promotion and development of further such initiatives.
Recommendations adopted at an ESCWA expert group meeting on S and T capacity-building initiatives in November 2000 are also included.
The fact that a number of ESCWA member countries have launched initiatives aimed at formulating national science and technology policies is an essential and auspicious initial step in the capacity -building process. Policy initiatives such as these will help set national priorities and lead to the development of implementation strategies in harmony with national visions, specific socioeconomic development needs and resource constraints. It is now apparent, however, that efforts along these lines must be supplemented with initiatives directly aimed at clearly defined objectives in the areas of institution-building, networking and human resource development. The keys to technological capacity-building are:
(a) Knowledge creation, normally the preserve of research centres and university laboratories;
(b) Knowledge acquisition, adaptation and dissemination, generally a task that falls to enterprises, in both the private and public sectors, but sometimes to universities and research centers as well;
(c) Human resource development, often a task for universities and higher vocational training institutes;
(d) Financing, based almost totally on government funding in the developing countries;
(e) S and T infrastructure building and support services, also almost exclusively the province of governments in the developing world.
Examples are drawn from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, as well as: Koweit, Saudi Arabia, Oman, EAU, Yemen.