Mrs Cynthia Asare Bediako, Chief Director, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), says there is no innovation without science and technology and “no science without research”.
It is like God, when you choose Him, you have all others as bonus. MESTI has been very vocal in advocating for more resources in research and believes in the role of research in innovation,” she said.
Mrs Bediako made this remarks at a stakeholder consultative meeting for the implementation of the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) project on strengthening Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) systems for sustainable development in Africa.
It was organised by MESTI, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) in Accra.
The project, which is being funded by the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA) is within the UNESCO global framework for monitoring, providing policy support and advocacy for the “UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers (RS/SR),” and had Ghana, Sierra Leone, Congo, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Namibia as countries selected.
The specific proposed actions of the project would ensure that governments and national science institutions in the six pilot countries were taking measures to strengthen their national and regional STI policies, governance of STI, and institutions in research and innovation in accordance with the 2017 RS/SR.
She said with the onset of Covid-19 and its impact on the world, the global paradigm was rapidly changing towards a knowledge-based economy that had brought changes in political and socio-economic systems, hence increasing the demand for STI, especially for the achievement of Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the drive for a Ghana beyond aid.
Dr Abdourahamane Diallo, UNESCO Country Director, said the project was aimed at strengthening fragile STI systems and governance in the beneficiary countries with the objective of having African societies creating, curate and use scientific knowledge to make inclusive and evidence- informed decisions.
Dr Diallo said he believed that Ghana would take the lead in the implementation due to the activities the country had undertaken under the STI for SDGs initiative and be the best performing country when its STI systems were assessed against the benchmark in a future RS/SR.
Mr Victor Agyeman, General Manager, CSIR, said their mandate involved generating and applying innovative technologies, and efficiently and effectively exploiting STI for socio-economic development in critical areas of agriculture, industry, and environment, some aspects of public health.
He emphasised that the Council was on a mission to become the force for accelerated social and economic development of the nation and that was in line with the current project.
CSIR, he said, would support the project goal and that the country needed to develop both monitoring capacity and the capacity to plan concrete nationally contextualized actions to achieve the targets of the prioritised SDGs.
Mrs Melody Boateng, National Professional Officer, Natural Science Sector, UNESCO, Ghana, said the project objectives included supporting research and research-based tertiary education, reinforcing policy design and implementation to deliver the SDGs, STISA2024.
She said it would create robust ecosystems and deliver innovative and effective funding instruments that provided adequate funding levels and options to research at national and regional levels.
Nana Yamoah Asafu-Adjaye, Principal Technologist, CSIR-STEPRI, said key areas of the UNESCO 2017 RS/SR included the key responsibility of Science towards the UN’s ideals of human dignity, progress, justice, peace, welfare of humankind and respect for the environment.
It also included the need for science to meaningfully interact with society and vice versa, the role of science in national policy and decision-making, international cooperation and development, and promoting science as a common good.