Towards a multi-level, multi-actor approach to science

Within the framework of the fourth meeting of the Conference on Science, Innovation and ICT in April 2024 of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), a regional agenda for 2024-2025 was agreed, highlighting the central role of science, technology and innovation (CTeI) in driving productivity and development. Sustainable and inclusive.

This initiative recognizes the ability to innovate as a critical element for the progress, prosperity and well-being of nations. Singapore is a good example, because its firm commitment to research and development has been fundamental to its economic transformation and to improving the quality of life of its population, which is reflected in the results of measurements such as the Global Competitiveness Reports. World Economic Forum And the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme.

On the path towards sustainable development for our countries, this situation is a source of inspiration. The proposed cooperation agenda invites us to think about how CTeI policies and tools can be designed and applied to address challenges at multiple levels – from the local to the global level.

Through the CTeI Action Line with a regional focus, the conference highlights the importance of clarifying efforts in the areas of science, technology, innovation and productive development policies, taking into account the specific realities of the regions. Focusing on local matters helps ensure that the benefits of innovation are distributed more equitably and meet the needs of communities.

However, major global challenges, such as climate change, require responses that transcend local scenarios and national borders. Hence, it is a priority to adopt a multi-level, multi-actor contextual approach that balances and links local challenges and solutions with national, regional and global strategies.

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Photo: VectorMine/Shutterstock

To maximize impacts, it is necessary to consider the possibility of scaling up local solutions, collaborating at different levels, and developing collaborative networks that unite different regional and global actors. Some actions aimed at achieving this are the establishment of multi-level governance frameworks, the development of regional clusters and the establishment of financing mechanisms that support projects that have the potential to transcend the local level.

Addressing the common challenges faced by Latin American countries implies resolute regional cooperation that aims not only to exchange successful policies and practices, but also to create joint initiatives that seek to address the major problems we share.

Likewise, it is important to recognize the importance of developing pioneering knowledge and investing in cutting-edge research areas, such as biotechnology or artificial intelligence.

Achieving an effective multi-level, multi-actor contextual approach, one of the challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, entails increasing investment in research and development (R&D) beyond the regional average of about 0.6% of GDP in 2021, which is lower than the OECD average, which exceeds 2% of GDP. 83% of investments in the region are made by Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.

Colombia falls below the regional average; The goal of the National Development Plan (2022-2026) is to move from 0.26% in 2021 to 0.5%.

We need more innovative financing policies and explore alternative and creative sources to meet this challenge, and seek to increase the budgets of the Emerging Projects Fund, allocate reform funds and management mechanisms, and enhance cooperation between the public and private sectors.

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Implementing concrete actions to strengthen ECLAC policies and strategies will allow us to implement an effective multi-level, multi-actor contextual approach. The Pontifical University of Javeriana, together with other academic institutions and public and private sector actors, plays a crucial role, because through a joint effort we can ensure that CTeI is a driver of sustainable and inclusive development in the region.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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