Regional Consultation on Inclusive Technology and Innovation Policies
Technology and innovation are a driving force behind economic growth, expanding access to basic services (such as education, health and energy) and offering means to address environmental concerns.
Yet, not everyone has benefited from the opportunities offered by technology and innovation. Income and wealth inequalities are on the rise in the Asia-Pacific region. The region’s combined income inequality, measured by the Gini coefficient, has increased by over 5 percentage points in the last 20 years. Rural communities, women, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable and low-income communities are often unable to make full use of technologies and innovation.
There is an imperative to expand inclusive technologies and innovations for the poor and by the poor to achieve sustainable development and leave no one behind.
The Asia-Pacific region hosts some of the more transformative efforts to use technology and innovation for inclusive development: the grassroots movement solving local needs in India, small entrepreneurs earning a better living by trading online in Indonesia, women furthering scientific careers in Malaysia, research addressing social problems in the Republic of Korea, frontier technologies enabling better care for the elderly in Japan, and technology transfer enabling affordable access to clean energy in rural areas of Tajikistan provide just a few examples.
Most inclusive innovations are developed by firms, entrepreneurs, grassroots innovations and development organisations. Yet, public policies are required to enable inclusive innovations to flourish, reach scale, and diffuse.
ESCAP’s new Inclusive Technology and Innovation Policies programme will support governments across the region to design and implement inclusive innovation policies by conducting policy research, building policy making capacities and supporting knowledge exchange.
As a first step, ESCAP is convening a Regional Consultation on Inclusive Technology and Innovation Policy to:
• share experiences and lessons learnt regarding inclusive innovation policy
• identify emerging challenges and opportunities to encourage, enable and emulate more inclusive innovation; and
• identify inclusive innovation policy issues that require further exploration.