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Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine advance on innovation policy for sustainable development

Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine advance on innovation policy for sustainable development

Innovation will be key to aligning economic progress with ecological sustainability and social inclusion and to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Policy makers from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine gathered in Minsk on 17-18 November 2015 to reflect on the results of their Innovation Performance Reviews, five years since the inception of UNECE's programme, and to discuss recent progress on innovation policy and options for further improving innovation capabilities.

Based on the recommendations made in these reviews, the four countries have undertaken measures to improve innovation governance, reform universities and academic institutions, invest in techno parks and business incubators, improve the business and investment climate for innovative start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises, strengthen international cooperation in science and research, and reform public research financing to encourage cooperation with industry. UNECE will cooperate with all four countries in the coming years to provide advice and build capacity for implementing policy reforms.

Virginia Cram-Martos, Director of the UNECE Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, observed that the recently agreed UN Sustainable Development Goals place innovation at the centre of the United Nation’s post-2015 development agenda. She added that “At the UNECE, we are convinced that harnessing innovation will be the key to sustainable economic progress, supporting human development and security in the region.” The UNECE programme of Innovation Performance Reviews will be a key mechanism for supporting countries’ efforts in this regard.

Policy makers also discussed with leading international experts how to further improve the methodology for future reviews. It was agreed that analysis and recommendations on measuring innovation outcomes should be a point of emphasis. It was also agreed that future reviews will cover the role of innovation in promoting sustainable development in order to inform national sustainable development strategies and to monitor progress.

The conference “Better Policies for More Innovation: Assessment – Implementation – Monitoring”, organized by UNECE, was hosted by the State Committee on Science and Technology of Belarus.

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