Statement by India on Agenda Item 3(a)...
Statement by India on Agenda Item 3(a) Panel on Science, Technology and Innovation for post 2015 Development Agenda at the 17th Session of UNCSTD), delivered by Smt. SadhnaRelia, Scientist G & Head International Multilateral & Regional Cooperation, DSTon May 13, 2014
India supports and congratulates Secretary General, UNCTAD for the comprehensive report on Priority Theme STI for post 2015 Development Agenda E/CN16/2014/2 (March 2014).
India takes note of Chair of 17th Session of CSTD led Inter-Sessional Panel Report E/CN16/2014/CRP.1 (December 2013) on STI for post 2015 Development Agenda.
India takes cognizance and notes the importance of Ministerial Declaration of July 2013 High Level Segment of ECOSOC entitled ‘STI and potential culture for promoting sustainable development and achieving MDGs E/2013/L.18 (Dec. 13)
India foresees greater role for UNCSTD as torch bearer of UN System on STI policy issues; scanning of future developmental challenges which STI can resolve; role of STI in shaping developmental outcomes; mainstreaming STI in post 2015 Developmental Agenda.
UNCSTD Priority Theme Reports in the past decade have offered STI policies & international cooperation / partnership frameworks especially with reference to MDG 1 (Eradication of Poverty & Hunger), MDG 7 (Ensuring environmental sustainability), MDG 2 (Building education and research capacities) & MDG 4,5, and 6 (combating disease, improving health care). In this context, it is pertinent to mention that in India, STI played greater role in reducing poverty, hunger, access and equity in healthcare, education and ICT enabled services.
UNCSTD policy recommendations with respect to bridging technological divide, ICT and digital divide, sustainable agriculture-energy-urbanization, capacity building in education-research-innovation-entrepreneurship have found coherence with India’s 2013 Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, STI Strategies and Initiatives in XIIth Plan of Government of India 2012-2017.
India’s STI Human Capital Development national initiatives have included Innovation in Science pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), Fund for Improvement of S&T infrastructure in Universities and other Higher Educational Institutions (FIST), Women Scientists Scheme (WOS) for mainstreaming Women STI professionals who had break in their careers, Consolidation of University Research for Innovation and Excellence (CURIE) to improve the R&D infrastructure of ‘Women Universities’, Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence (PURSE). From international STI collaborative partnerships and alliances standpoint, India’s engagements with TWAS, ICTP, NAM S&T Centre, ASEAN, ICGEB includes South-South /South-North fellowships, India destination fellowships – Research Training Fellowships for Developing Country Scientists (RTF-DCS), are expression of India’s STI global outreach.
UNCSTD policy recommendations on STI dimensions, such as balance of trade, IP regime, acquiring technology and information, innovation coalitions and platforms, protection of local knowledge, open source software, global technology patent pool, accelerating investment in technological change, resonates in India’s initiatives such as ‘Open Source Drug Discovery’ (OSDD), National Knowledge Network (NKN), National Inclusive Innovation Fund (NIIF), e-Science Journals brought out by Indian Academies of Science, India’s suggestions in UNESCO S&T Ministerial Round Tables with regard to accessing/acquiring technologies to resolve common shared societal challenges of food-health-environmental security especially natural disasters resilience & mitigation. India notes and appreciates UNCSTD Theme Paper’s reference to Sulabh International effort on Water and Sanitation.
In so far as UNCSTD Technology and Innovation Policies with reference to post 2015 Development Agenda are concerned, India has the potential to emerge as the global power in affordable innovation space for public good such as in healthcare, ICT enabled services, decentralized off grid hybrid energy systems/solutions for large populations. Further, India offers to contribute in building international guidelines/frameworks on balancing ‘innovations for competitiveness’ and ‘innovations for inclusiveness’, reflecting the aspirations of upcoming developing countries. India’s experiments on Scouting, Spawning and Sustaining grass root innovations (by National Innovation Foundation) and fair &equitable share of profit with local communities on traditional knowledge may form part of international sharing of experiences and best practices.
UNCSTD’s STI Human Resource Policies with reference to post 2015 Development Agenda can take into account the insights for India’s initiatives and engagements at national-international bilateral, multilateral levels such as INSPIRE, Global Research Council meetings, Inter-Academy Panel meetings. Ideologies of gaining by giving – caring and sharing embodied in India’s international STI programs with Africa, ASEAN-CLMV nations, Developing Countries (New Africa S&T Initiative, Initiative for ASEAN Integration for CLMV nations, RTF-DCS Fellowships through NAM S&T Centre, TWAS-India Pan African Doctoral Fellowships hosted at Indian academia), exemplify science diplomacy at work.
UNCST’s thrust on ‘Research Policies’ with reference to post 2015 Development Agenda may take into account India’s approach and perspectives on inclusivity – solution science for grand societal challenges (for including the excluded; nurturing excellence and relevance); rationale for integrating earth system science for effective developmental needs/services on weather forecasts, natural disaster early warning systems. It is pertinent to refer to India’s aspiration to be among top 6 global powers I basic sciences research.
India’s perspective on challenges with respect to post 2015 Development Agenda, that UNCSTD can suitably incorporate in its resolution, are as follows:
Mainstreaming STI in post 2015 Development Agenda needs to be strengthened;
Upholding the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities with regard to environmental security;
Need for pragmatic indicators to measure Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are not abstract and which do not suffer from lack of data to substantiate;
Need to enlist deployable technologies beneficial to large populations; affordable, usable and accessible especially with regard to healthcare, water & sanitation;
Contemplate STI space in upcoming global trajectories/trends such as individual empowerment, opportunities arising from expanding global middle-class and emerging disruptive technologies (such as human augmentation, internet of things, machine communication).
To conclude, India stands for and will be pleased to contribute on following dimensions of UNCSTD STI efforts vis-à-vis post 2015 Development Agenda:
Affordable Innovations, encompassing access, availability and usable solutions to meeting basic needs;
Accelerated Inclusive Growth for aspiring nations – developing countries with thrust on base of pyramid population (as a better replacement to the prevalent expression of bottom of the pyramid);
Sustainable environment and efficient use of natural resources through recycling, reuse of waste; and
Constructs of development outcomes that lead to fulfillment of basic needs & strengthening education- research capacity building.