Statement delivered by Ms. Shanchita Haque, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations on behalf of the Least Developed Countries at the Second Committee on Agenda item 21: Globalization and Interdependence, sub item (b): Science, Technology and Innovation for Development (New York, 13 October 2017)
Thank you, Mr. Chair
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of 47 LDCs on the sub item (b) Science, Technology, and Innovation for Development under agenda item 21. The Group aligns itself with the statement made by Ecuador on behalf of the G77 and China.
We thank the Secretary General for his comprehensive report on science, technology, and innovation for development. The recommendations made in the report show us the way forward in overcoming developmental challenges with the help of science, technology and innovation (STI).
STI is critical for stimulating economic growth and sustainable development. There are considerable STI gaps between the LDCs and the rest of the world. LDCs are lagging behind in these areas which have the potential to accelerate structural transformation in these countries.
The latest report of OHRLLS suggests that LDCs filed for a total of 542 patents in 2014, down from 639 in 2010. This figure is much lower than other developing countries. Furthermore, the filing of patents was concentrated in only a few LDCs, with Bangladesh accounting for 54% while Cambodia 12% and Yemen another 10%. Patent filing among the African LDCs was led by Madagascar and Zambia, with 6 per cent and 7 per cent of the total, respectively. In 2013, only 0.3 per cent of the scientific and technical articles published in journals worldwide came from LDCs which corresponds to 7.2 articles per 1 million people.
There are several challenges that hinder STI in the LDCs. The limited data relating to expenditure on research and development in LDCs indicates that it is probably less than 0.5 per cent of GDP, compared with 1.4 per cent in developing countries. This low rate of spending explains in part the low level of innovation as well as the limited use of advanced technology in the economies of LDCs.
Other obstacles to technological diffusion include isolation from global research networks, limited domestic capacities in science and technology, and the lack of technicians and researchers in research and development.
The 2030 Agenda has recognized that the implementation of many SDGs is contingent on the availability of, and access to, technology. The weaker and vulnerable countries must build resilience against their numerable vulnerabilities including those posed by climate change, disasters, diseases etc. by leveraging modern and clean technologies. I should also mention that technology can contribute significantly to poverty eradication, good governance, financial inclusion and building infrastructure.
In this regard, we recall with appreciation the collective efforts of all for the operationalization of the Technology Bank for the LDCs. Our sincere thanks go to the Government of Turkey for its generous contribution for the Bank. We also acknowledge with appreciation the significant financial contribution of Sudan, Bangladesh, Norway and the Philippines to the Technolgy Bank. The Group is looking forward to similar efforts by all Member States and other development partners for funding this Bank for its effective functioning.
With a view to promote and utilize STI in LDCs, we emphasize on the following five specific measures:
First, it is necessary to enhance public investment in Research and Development. Also, there must be a strong coordination among national, regional and global/multilateral policies and agendas in this regard.
Second, the LDCs, in general, do not have the adequate data infrastructure, capacity or skills to support new and advanced technologies. The features of these technologies, particularly digitization and connectivity, can unlock enormous prospects for the LDCs. Private sector development can be of great use in this regard. Also, public-private partnership is a tested means to fund STI.
Third, LDCs need adequate financial support to harness STI. A stronger commitment and political will of the international community is of utmost importance to support the LDCs in utilizing STI to realize the 2030 Agenda and the Istanbul Programme of Action. We do not see any progress in the implementation of the legally binding commitment in Article 66.2 of TRIPS concerning providing assistance to the LDCs on technology matters. There must be a robust framework for facilitating technology transfer to the LDCs from the developed countries.
Fourth, as the SG’s report suggests, Knowledge Aid can be a tool for providing support in science, technology, and innovation as part of official development assistance. Our development partners can contribute to agricultural research and development in our countries. With respect to stimulating industry and infrastructure, knowledge aid, as part of official development assistance, can focus on value chain development schemes, complementing foreign direct investment and the development of linkages, project funding for industrial and physical infrastructure etc.
Fifth, LDCs need appropriate technologies correspondent to their needs and circumstances. In this regard, the partnership among the South in the framework of the South -South and Triangular Cooperation can also play an important role in supporting the LDCs as a complement to North-South Cooperation.
I thank you for your kind attention.