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8 October 2015

Technology bank urged for LDCs

A "technology bank" could provide critical support to the world's least developed countries as they work to build strong science, says a high-level UN panel that included five TWAS Fellows.

A Technology Bank that supports science, technology and innovation in the world’s poorest countries is both "feasible and desirable", according to the recommendations of a study by a high-level panel of experts, presented to United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. The study proposes that a Technology Bank for least developed countries be established in the 2015-2016 period and headquartered in Turkey.

The study was chaired by TWAS Executive Director Romain Murenzi, and the 11-member panel included five TWAS Fellows and leaders of associated organizations. It was delivered to the Secretary-General on 22 September in New York.

The study suggests that the Technology Bank be composed of two units, a Science, Technology and Innovation Support Mechanism and an Intellectual Property Bank. Recommendations highlight that the Technology Bank has the potential to strengthen national capabilities, support negotiated agreements and provide expertise to the world’s least developed countries, ensuring that they are no longer left behind in achieving internationally agreed development goals.

“Nothing quite like it has been attempted before”, according to the report, “but the thinking behind it has been sound and planning to-date suggests that it could be launched on an exceptionally firm foundation”.

Secretary-General Ban requested the technology bank feasibility study and tasked a high-level panel to make recommendations on the establishment of the bank. The panel was supported by the UN Office of The High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).

Modeled on the United Nations University, the report recommends that the Technology Bank should consist of a multi-stakeholder Governing Council with 12 members appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General on a broad geographical basis. The Governing Council will have representation from governments of least developed countries and other member states of the UN, the global science, technology and innovation community, the private sector, philanthropic foundations and civil society.

The panel was comprised of:

Murenzi, formerly minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Rwanda;  Mohamed H.A. Hassan (Sudan), co-chair of IAP, the global network of science academies, and treasurer of TWAS; Bruce Lehman (United States); TWAS Fellow Tebello Nyokong (South Africa); Dorte Olesen (Denmark); Posh Raj Pandey (Nepal);  Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis (Haiti); TWAS Fellow Firdausi Qadri (Bangladesh); and TWAS Fellow Fang Xin (China), who also serves as president of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD).

Gyan Chandra Acharya, UN Under Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and Hakan Karatas, Director for International Coordination at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştırma Kurumu, TÜBİTAK), representing the host country Turkey, were appointed ex-officio members

This article was adapted from a UN-OHRLLS news release.

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