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STI policy formulation: an Overview

UNESCO assists its Member States in formulating their STI policies, strategies and plans as well as in the reform of their science systems, by bringing to light policy options for the governance of science systems in new contexts and supporting participatory policy formulation and/or reviews to improve science management at the national level. This is done by means of the provision of guidelines and methodologies, technical advice and guidance on formulation, implementation and monitoring, together with a review of policies and plans concerning national S&T activities.

Since 2004, UNESCO has been helping Nigeria and the Republic of Congo to reform their science systems, at the government’s request. UNESCO has also been accompanying the United Republic of Tanzania in the reform of its science system since 2008. Tanzania is one of eight pilot countries for the One UN initiative launched in 2007 within a broader reform to improve co-ordination among UN agencies.

As part of UNESCO’s contribution to Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action adopted in 2005, UNESCO’s General Conference approved the launch of an African Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Initiative in October 2007. The aim is to develop national science, technology and innovation (STI) policies for all those African countries still without one. One of the thrusts of this initiative is to build capacity in evidence-based policy-making in these countries via STI policy reviews.

The Spanish Government, through the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID), has showed a great commitment to the development of STI policy capacities in the African region. From 2008 to 2010, a project for Capacity Building and support for STI policies in Central Africa supported the key trainings in the sub region. Enlarging the geographical and financial scope of this first initiative, a second project entitled Capacity Building for STI policy in Africa, run from 2011 to December 2014 providing technical assistance in response to the official requests of 21 Sub-Saharan African countries: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Congo, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Malawi ,Mozambique , Namibia, Niger, Senegal Sudan, Swaziland , Togo , Zambia and Zimbabwe. Further to fulfilling Member States requests, extra outcomes non- planned in the original project proposal have been produced, the most important being the completion and validation of the GO-SPIN surveys in 11 African countries and the publication of the country profiles of Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Capitalizing on the work undertaken, another phase of this project currently on-going provide Support to the development of STI policy instruments in Africa that will address gaps of the STI systems in Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal.

Since 2002, UNESCO has also been helping the countries of Southeast Europe to reconstruct their science systems.

In the past five years, UNESCO has also been helping countries in other regions to reform their science systems. These countries include Azerbaijan, Iraq, Lebanon and Mongolia. UNESCO is also one of several partners providing institutional support for the elaboration of a strategy for an Arab Science and Technology Plan of Action, as well as a Regional Strategic Action Plan in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy for Latin America and the Caribbean.

During the process of national reform, a number of reports and studies are published. (Read the country studies)

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