Technology Opportunities For Sustainable Development in Arab Countries

وصف المشروع

The Arab region faces the dual challenge to adapt to climate change while still ensuring its sustainable development. Concurrently, the modern economy is undergoing a “fourth industrial revolution”, in which technologies “fuse” to blur the lines between various fields of expertise, create unprecedented challenges, and offer new possibilities188. In this age, The Arab region has an opportunity and many assets thanks to its young, enterprising population.
STI is therefore crucial to promote sustainable economic growth. Indeed, while climate change poses many challenges to the region’s future development, technology offers many opportunities that the region’s young and dynamic population is eager to exploit. The governance structure can play a large role in the promotion of STI, and the Arab countries tackle this issue with diverse approaches, ranging from large research systems, to small and integrated clusters, to rapidly expanding and well-funded institutions. Such a non-uniform STI ecosystem is more nimble, and can therefore adapt faster to an ever-accelerating technological environment. Furthermore, because of the relative young age of the region’s research establishments, they are not hindered by any established “legacy” modes of thinking that need to be overcome before any progress is made. They are often able and leverage international collaborations, to achieve wider aims. In some cases, institutions have been effective at leveraging their comparative advantage and “punching above their weight”, to achieve high impact research.
Those various systems are now increasingly pursuing applied sciences, prioritizing sectors essential to sustainable development and that enhance resilience to climate change in water, energy, food security. While relative investment in STI still lacks behind the rest of the world, progress is being made in this regard. This is facilitated by two factors; the region’s own capacity to innovate and “scale-up” existing technologies, and the fact than many of those new technologies afford businesses a “late mover” advantage, thus allowing them to “leap-frog” and bypass intermediary technologies.
Technology transfer and adaptation is key to the successful implementation of both SDGs and the Paris Agenda. Indeed, “there is no limit to the number of innovations that could help nations accelerating implementation of SDGs189”. The Arab Region therefore has an opportunity to seize many available synergies by tackling both SDGs and INDCs together. Through an integrated approach to planning, budgetary and monitoring processes, the countries in the region can optimise resource use, enhance information-sharing, and promote greater development of capacities, skills, and technologies.
As new ideas come along, they drive new enterprises, create new products that better meet market demands and social needs, and generate better efficiencies. As a growing economy creates a more complex value, the benefits affect wider segments of society. A successful STI policy therefore focuses on providing both stable appropriations and outlays for R&D, and a predictable policy environment and a wide dissemination of innovation. The focus of STI programs and policies should not be on picking winners, but rather on promoting the innovation process itself by bringing together innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs. This can be done through National Technology Transfer Offices (NTTOs) such as the initiative to establish those in selected ESCWA Countries (Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Oman). This would allow policy makers to plan ahead without attempting to “forecast the future”. Investment programs would then aim not only to promote innovative projects, but also to improve the quality of the business environment, and enhancing national positions in global value chains. Policies would target broad technology clusters that have competitive applications in sustainable development such as ICT, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and Artificial Intelligence. Depending on national needs and priorities, policies could highlight “grand challenges” or outline action plans to jumpstart strategic sectors that strengthen national competitiveness.

الباحثون الرئيسيون

الاسم الأول اسم العائلة الجنس الرتبة المؤسسة الدولة
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia Male لبنان

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المجال العلمي

Engineering and technology

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