Seychelles reviews science, technology and innovation policy with UNCTAD support
A prototype of a solar-powered pesticide sprayer the former National Institute for Science Technology and Innovation developed for farmers. (Seychelles Nation)
Seychelles has presented its draft Science Technology and Innovation (STI) policy review to relevant parties and held a two-day workshop to raise awareness and stimulate dialogue about the role of science STI in national development.
Organised by the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship, and Industry, in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the event also seeks to encourage the emergence of stronger linkages among the STI players within Seychelles.
Being held from September 25 to 27, the workshop aims to develop the capacities of local partners to understand the roles and importance of science, technology, and innovation as a catalyst for economic development.
In her opening address, the Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship, and Industry, Devika Vidot, outlined that "the global landscape is marked by both opportunities and challenges, from the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence to the pressing need for sustainable solutions to combat climate change."
"Our policy must equip us with not only the ability to thrive in the ever-changing environment but also to lead and innovate. It is thus essential to recognise that the science, technology, and innovation landscape is continually evolving and so are our national priorities," said Vidot.
She noted that the country needs to adapt to changes fast and that "It is critical that for that we have the right environment, institutions, capabilities, and mindset to be able to adapt, and, of course, why not even develop technologies and innovation for our socio-economic development," said Vidot.
|The event also seeks to encourage the emergence of stronger linkages among the STI players within Seychelles. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
The UNCTAD consultant, Dimo Calovski, said that the policy review is one of two programmes that UNCTAD is engaging with Seychelles. Calovski is assisting Seychelles with the STI policy review.
He outlined that Seychelles developed an STI policy in 2016, and after a few years of implementation and following the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has considered that it is time to rethink some concepts, do some revisions, and consider some paths for future development of this policy.
"During the first day of the workshop, we're looking at a draft of a policy review that UNCTAD has prepared. The agenda for today is to seek feedback and develop perspectives on the policy. We hope that some of our views, recommendations, and insights may be of use to the government of Seychelles, but also that we open an opportunity for discussion among the various stakeholders," said Calovski.
On the first day of the event, speakers pointed out that as a small island developing state (SIDS), Seychelles is facing sustainable development challenges such as climate change, and water and waste management.
"On the question of frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence, the case is not very clear, neither for Seychelles nor globally. We can advise to some extent, but to be very honest, some of these front-end technologies are very much ahead and we suffer the same problem at the UN and that is that the technology today is accelerating so fast that, the policy considerations are always a bit behind, and this is just the nature of things," he said.