Ensuring everyone can benefit from technology and innovation

STI are critical means of achieving sustainable development. Yet, STI can also be a source of inequality and exclusion. They are a source of exclusion when least developed countries and small island developing States in Asia and the Pacific do not have the necessary capabilities to make full use of the potential that technology and innovation offer for addressing sustainable goals. Technology and innovation can also be drivers of inequality when women, the poor, older persons, people with disabilities or other disadvantaged groups, from any country regardless of its level of development, cannot benefit from technological advances and cannot fully participate in innovation processes.

Therefore, governments need to put in place inclusive technology and innovation policies that are congruent with national economic, social and environmental objectives and that leave no one behind. Inclusive technology and innovation comprises initiatives that serve the welfare of lower-income groups, including the poor and excluded groups. It has two perspectives: a) technology and innovation for the poor or pro-inclusive, and b) innovation by the poor, or grass-roots innovation.

While the market is a key determinant of technology development, governments have influence in the direction of technology change. Inclusive technology and innovation policies can help address sustainable development goals.

From the 2nd Session of ESCAP’s Committee on ICT and STI: Mainstreaming inclusive technology and innovation policies that leave no one behind.Download the document

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