Secretary General of the United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Dr Mikhisa Kituyi has assured the Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayantha that the UNCTAD stands ready to assist with Sri Lanka’s Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Review (STIP) and to explore modalities of technical assistance and a strategy for mobilizing the funding required.
This assurance was given by the UNCTAD SG, following consultations Minister Premajayantha had in Geneva last week with Senior Officials of the UNCTAD.
During his meetings, the Minister noted that consistent with the SDGs set by the UN, Sri Lanka was working with the relevant Ministries, Institutions, private sector and civil societies in order to achieve targets set by 2030. He emphasized the need to explore avenues to strengthen relations between UNCTAD and the Government of Sri Lanka to promote Science, Technology and Innovation for SDG achievement in Sri Lanka and to assess a policy review on Science, Technology and Innovation in Sri Lanka.
Presenting “Innovating Sri Lanka”, the three year action plan on Science, Technology and Innovation in Sri Lanka, the Minister introduced the emerging technologies that Sri Lanka is currently working on and has succeeded such as Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Genomics, Immunotherapy, Enzyme Manufacturing, Biopharma, Robotics, Mechatronics, Artificial Intelligence and Space Technology.
He also shared Sri Lanka’s best practices, in particular the success story of the Nanotechnology Laboratory (SLINTEC), which was initially capitalized by the Government funds, but where the private sector is successfully running its operations.
The Minister said Sri Lanka is planning to follow similar approaches for other technologies as well. The Minister said the private sector in Sri Lanka is closely working with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research. The Minister invited the UNCTAD Secretary General and officials to participate in the ‘Science and Technology for Society Forum’ scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in September 2018.
Noting the considerable potential for cooperation within the Geneva based UN and other organizations to support capacity building particularly in developing countries, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha detailed the Programmes of Action with a bearing on the 2030 Development, Sri Lanka had entered into with the WIPO, CERN, UNITAR, IOM and were being negotiated with the ITU and WMO. It was proposed that Sri Lanka embark on a similar initiative with the UNCTAD in the Science, Technology and Innovation, that could compliment the current POAs.
Director of Technology and Logistics Division of UNCTAD, Mrs. Shamika Sirimanne said her organization was encouraged by the science and technological advancements taking place in Sri Lanka and saw many of them as suitable to adopt as best practices in other developing countries.
Given that at present UNCTAD’s main focus is on SDGs, it was agreed to make an assessment on how these could be linked with the SDGs.
She further informed that the UNCTAD will prioritize the areas that they could support and also share relevant experiences from elsewhere with Sri Lanka.
Mrs. Sirimanne said she was encouraged by Sri Lanka’s experience in leveraging the support of Geneva based UN and other organization, and looked forward to collaborating in continuing the discussion relating to the SDGs and Science, Technology and Innovation.
Ms. Dong Wu, Chief of Policy Review Section, Science, Technology and ICT Branch of UNCTAD, Mr. Angel Gonzalez, and the Ambassador and officials from the Permanent Mission in Geneva were associated with the Minister. (Colombo Gazette)