UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT
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TECHNOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY AND
INNOVATION REPORTINNOVATION REPORT
New York and Geneva, 2018
| TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION REPORT
HARNESSING FRONTIER TECHNOLOGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
2018, United Nations
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We live at a time of technological change that is unprecedented in its pace, scope and depth of impact. Harnessing
that progress is the surest path for the international community to deliver on the 2030 agenda for people,
peace and prosperity. Frontier technologies hold the promise to revive productivity and make plentiful resources
available to end poverty for good, enable more sustainable patterns of growth and mitigate or even reverse
decades of environmental degradation.But technological change and innovation need to be directed towards
inclusive and sustainable outcomes through a purposeful effort by governments, in collaboration with civil society,
business and academia. If policy-makers are not proactive technological disruption can entrench inequality,
further marginalize the poorest, and fuel reactionary movements against open societies and economies.
Technology and Innovation Report 2018: Harnessing Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development
notes that change is becoming exponential thanks to the power of digital platforms and innovative combinations
of different technologies that become possible every day. This opens exciting possibilities for the democratization
of frontier technologiesto materialize in development solutions. The Report proposes strategies and actions,
some of them based on existing experiences in STI policy for development, and some more innovative ones to
make technology an effective means of implementation of our common development agenda – nationally and
The Report also suggests that countries develop policies to help people navigate the transition period that lies
ahead. This may require that stakeholders adapt the social contract to the new world that frontier technologies
are forming. Education will become an even more indispensable lever for development and social justice. Since
digital technologies as enablers and multipliers of other frontier technologies we should ensure that all – and
specially women and girls – are given a real chance to build digital capabilities. Lifelong learning will need to be
supported. For those who may struggle to keep up with the transformation, countries will have to be innovative
in providing effective social protection mechanisms.
Most crucially, there is an urgent need for a sustained effort by the international community to ensure that
the multiple gaps in technological capabilities that separate developed and developing countries are closed.
Investment in hard and soft infrastructure and human capital, complemented by a scaled up, coherent and
accelerated effort to enhance innovation systems for sustainable development are necessary to spread the
By providing a platform for policy dialogue and experience-sharing, and through our capacity-building
programmes, UNCTAD and the UN Commission for Science and Technology for Development, which we service,
intention is that the Technology and Innovation Report 2018 will help launch a dialogue about how to harness
technologyfor the achievement of the SDGs and in larger and more profound sense, the shared future of the
people of the world.
Secretary-General of UNCTAD。
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