UNESCO and Jamaica launch partnership for developing Science

Kingston, May 4-5, 2022. UNESCO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology (MSET), the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), and the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, has launched a partnership to strengthen Jamaica’s national Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) system. Within this partnership, UNESCO will provide technical assistance to develop a comprehensive inventory of Jamaica’s STI policy system. Based on this, a country profile and tailored STI approach will be developed to effectively guide Jamaica on its path to an economic and social transformation, in line with its National Development Plan – Vision 2030 Jamaica.

Opening session of the National Training Workshop on Strengthening Inclusive STI Systems for the development of GO-SPIN Country Profile for Jamaica

The “Introductory Workshop on Mapping the Science, Technology and Innovation System in Jamaica” was held on May 4-5, 2022, at the PCJ Auditorium in Kingston, as a kickoff to a series of activities within this partnership. The two-day national workshop examined the process and dynamics of the STI system in Jamaica, focusing on aspects of governance and policy implementation. UNESCO presented its Global Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments (GO-SPIN), a standardized methodological approach for analyzing national STI policies and policy instruments in the context of business innovation development for inclusiveness and sustainability. GO-SPIN comprises an open-access online platform that provides key information on STI data and indicators, legal frameworks, and policy instruments for evidence-based policy analysis, design, and prospective studies. The workshop was the first step in mapping and reviewing the structure of STI bodies in Jamaica, the national legal framework, and existing policy tools. Following the event, a series of national surveys, a desktop research study, and national multi-stakeholder consultations will be conducted to gain deeper insight into the current state of the STI system.

The address of Honorable Daryl Vaz, MP, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology was delivered by Dr. Natwaine Gardner, on behalf of the Honorable Daryl Vaz, MP, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology. The Minister recognized this initiative as a game changer to support the sustainable development of Jamaica. He further stressed this launch as a historic moment for the country.

Jamaica is the first Caribbean country to utilize the GO-SPIN methodology to standardize and analyze the Science, Technology and Innovation, STI, landscape, which augurs well for a bold and brighter future. STI are key drivers for the economic growth and development of our country as it undergirds every facet of our lives. As a small island developing state, STI has the tremendous potential to revolutionize and transform our country, and the quality of life for our citizens, the potential for business, entrepreneurship, social and economic development, food security, healthcare, and a myriad of other activities are magnified through their use.

Honorable Daryl Vaz, MP, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology.

Dr Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga, Programme Coordinator for Natural Sciences and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, delivered opening remarks on behalf of Dr. Saadia Sanchez-Vegas, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean. She emphasized that enhanced integration of Science, Technology and Innovation policy in the national development plan will drive real change toward sustainable economic transition and social transformation.

Dr Ngome Abiaga also explained that “this partnership initiative with Jamaica combines our ability to translate policies into scientific developments and literacies, our capacity to make science truly open, accessible, and understandable to everyone, and our contribution to elevating scientific knowledge at the level of a common good — a common heritage and legacy.”

Prof. Ronald Young, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO stated that “Jamaica experiences an information deficit regarding the critical indices of its state in the areas of science, technology and innovation. Through the GO-SPIN methodology, UNESCO has developed a commendable level of experience and a pool of experts skilled in defining, describing, and evaluating these indices. This initiative is our most important step towards developing a diverse, self-sustaining, and evolving STI ecosystem for the sustainable progress of our country.”

UNESCO considers Science, Technology and Innovation as the cornerstone to achieving the transition to sustainability, economic development, and environmental resilience, thus enabling countries to overcome some of the most critical challenges of the 21st century, such as pandemics, climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean degradation, inequality and extreme poverty. This is especially relevant for Small Island Developing States like Jamaica to flourish and contribute to building an inclusive and flourishing society.

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