ESCAP meeting in Islamabad focuses on efforts to facilitate innovation in support of sustainable development

Government officials from across Asia and the Pacific met this week in Islamabad to discuss how governments can promote innovation for sustainable development and shape the future direction of the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT).

A subsidiary institution of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the APCTT organized the 12th Session of its Governing Council, bringing together ten member countries - China, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. H.E. Mr. Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology, Pakistan inaugurated the Session with a keynote address.

During the opening, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, emphasized that “the ability of countries to grow their economies in a globally competitive environment depends on their capacity and preparedness for strengthening the innovation eco-system and supporting technology transfer, with a particular focus on innovative entrepreneurs”.

Dr. Akhtar stressed that APCTT’s policy advice, capacity building programmes, and analytical work have played a vital role in supporting member States efforts to strengthen their national innovation systems and build their science, technology, and innovation (STI) capacity. To maximize its impact and better enable countries to harness STI for sustainable development, Dr. Akhtar underscored that moving forward APCTT must begin to cover new and emerging areas of innovation, and incorporate new modes of delivering capacity building activities, such as e-tools.

A dynamic business sector is a key source of technological and non-technological innovations. The High-level International Conference on Innovation Strategies, organized as the substantive segment of the 12th Session, provided a platform for policymakers, experts and representatives from private sectors to share best practices on the role of public policies in facilitating innovation for sustainable development, supporting innovative entrepreneurs, measuring innovation and the role of the public research institutes. Policy recommendations and suggestions on the emerging area of work which APCTT should address were incorporated to the APCTT’s future work programme.

The Governing Council reviewed the substantive progress and accomplishments of APCTT to date, including administrative matters, financial status and work programme implementation since the previous Council session. It further called on member States to strengthen APCTT’s institutional capacity and enrich its future programmes in support of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.