The Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus (EESC) sub-region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) has considerable potential for sustainable growth and development. Innovation, or broad experimentation with new ideas, is crucial to making the most of this potential – and for public policy to play an effective role in enabling and promoting this dynamic. The increasing complexity of socioeconomic challenges, not least caused by COVID-19, require robust legal frameworks, strong institutions and evidence-based policies to respond to the changing environment, emerging constraints and new opportunities.
EESC countries have a great foundation to build on, notably high levels of education attainment, a tangible and viable legacy of applied and basic research, and proximity to a range of markets, including the European Union. Recognising the imperative of innovative development, EESC countries are keen to build on these advantages and have already taken concerted steps to promote innovation – including showing strong political commitment and investing into a range of new agencies and institutions. Several examples involving, for instance, foreign investment into production or the rise of export-oriented ICT and business-process outsourcing (BPO) services show the way.
The Innovation Policy Outlook (IPO) 2020 is a new UNECE flagship publication, which supports EESC governments’ innovation policy reform efforts by assessing and benchmarking the scope, quality, and effectiveness of innovation policies, institutions and processes, and by providing actionable policy recommendations and good practice case studies. The IPO complements international composite indices, such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Global Innovation Index and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, by looking more closely at the role that policies and institutions play in promoting innovation and by focusing on a group of countries with shared economic, structural, legacy and institutional features. The results can inform policy dialogue, reform processes, joint initiatives, donor-funded programming, investment and support the transition to a circular economy.
UNECE would like to express its sincere gratitude to EESC government institutions, EESC non-governmental innovation stakeholders, local and international experts, international organisations for the fruitful cooperation on the IPO since 2018. The project was made possible by the generous financial support of the Government of Sweden.