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Innovation and Competitiveness Policies (ICP)



Innovation is central to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and one of the main enablers not only to prosperity but also to inclusive and sustainable development. 

With the Fourth Industrial revolution, digital transformation and technological advancement have brought growth, higher productivity, higher output per person, and increased quality of life. Connectivity and digitization have created new opportunities – they have empowered citizens, transformed work, created new business models and accelerated innovation. Governments have thus a central role to play in ensuring that innovation-driven growth will be inclusive and sustainable and in harnessing the power of innovation for sustainable development.

Under this work stream UNECE supports member States in their efforts to enable and promote innovation for sustainable development and develop vibrant innovation systems in a range of policy areas, such as risk finance, entrepreneurship development, innovation governance, science-industry linkages, innovation-enhancing procurement, innovation for the circular economy transition, and diaspora engagement. 

Under this mandate, UNECE supports member States through intergovernmental meetings and multi-stakeholder meetings, facilitating knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices and identifying policy actions and recommendations in thematic areas, through the work of its Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness Policies (ToS-ICP)

UNECE also  provides country and regional assessments and policy studies through its flagship publications, the Innovation for Sustainable Development Reviews (I4SDR) and the sub-regional Innovation Policy Outlook (IPO), as well as policy handbooks and thematic publications. 

To support member States in their efforts to put policy guidance and recommendations into practice, UNECE provides national and regional capacity building, including trainings, on-line resources, and policy handbooks on specific topics. 

In focus

UNECE releases a handbook to help countries in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus (EESC) foster Innovative, High-Growth Enterprises

A small sub-set of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), innovative, high-growth enterprises (IHGEs) have a key role in jobs and value creation as they experiment with new ideas and respond to new incentives while also contributing to structural economic change through the creation of new markets and better domestic integration into the global economy.

To guide countries in the EESC sub-region in their efforts to support IHGEs effectively, UNECE has published a policy handbook “Supporting Innovative High-Growth Enterprises in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus”. The handbook goes through principles, examples, and good practices for:

  • fostering an enabling environment for IHGEs to promote growth;
  • using a key account approach to design flexible, tailored, and catalytic support to IHGEs;
  • enabling external risk finance for each growth stage of a firm;
  • building private sector absorptive capacity for innovation; and
  • promoting internationalization and linkages.

With this publication, as well as a series of training modules, UNECE seeks to support policymakers in the EESC sub-region to design effective policies and institutions to further enable and foster the potential of innovative, high-growth entrepreneurship as invaluable drivers for innovation-led sustainable development.

The publication can be accessed here.

“Leveraging Innovation for Circular Economy”, the thirteenth session of the Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness Policies on 1-2 November 2021

On the occasion of the 13th session of the UNECE Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness Policies (ToS-ICP), member States, and international experts met to explore how innovation can drive the circular economy transition, share best practices, and identify policy recommendations.

The delegates took stock of progress made in the implementation of ToS-ICP recommendations on the circular economy in 2017 and highlighted progress and way to accelerate the transition. Particular attention was dedicated to national innovation strategies and Circular Economy roadmaps, support mechanisms for the private sector (particularly to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), as well as the potential of innovation-enhancing procurement.

More information on this year’s ToS-ICP session can be found in this news item and the documents section.