‘Catching Up’ in the Caribbean: DEIP 2013

Mention the Caribbean and few people think of innovation. But the capacity to innovate is crucial to growth here, just as in many other developing regions around the world. Decision makers in Caribbean countries are now realizing that an effective Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy can galvanize large parts of their economies. Whether in agriculture, music or tourism, so much can be done: from helping entrepreneurs to clustering to upgrading value chains.

The creativity, desire and will are all there. What remains is to build capacity, first by sharing knowledge, then by applying new approaches to real-world needs. This was the mission background to UNU-MERIT’s latest ‘Design and Evaluation of Innovation Policies’ (DEIP) course. The June 2013 edition was an intensive one-week training course for more than 35 participants, co-organized by UNU-MERIT and the University of the West Indies (see below for an AV slideshow and six brief interviews with speakers and participants).

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Press Review June 2013: First Impressions

Our internal press review features the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance: from working papers to policy reports to entire books.

Our June output includes a handbook, a PhD thesis and nine working papers, covering half the globe from Canada through Latin America to Western Europe to Iran. We focus on topics including the impact of infrastructure on trade; child deprivation and poverty; location advantages for new multinationals; and microeconometrics for innovative activity.

Innovation for economic performance: The case of Latin American firms’ analysed a raft of indicators to capture the innovation behaviour of manufacturing firms in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. Using the Enterprise Surveys 2010, this working paper explored differences in innovation performance and effort by country, sector and firm characteristics, such as being a multinational or exporter. The authors identified top R&D performers in LAC and what features they share. By researcher Pluvia Zuniga, PhD fellow Ezequiel Tacsir, et al.

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UNU at the Global Media Forum 2013

‘The world economy faces enormous challenges. Pressed to deal with climate change and scarce resources, it must also respond to growing social, political and cultural tensions. As billions of people vie for lives in dignity on a shared planet, the debate on global regulatory and structural policies is swelling…’  Deutsche Welle

This year’s Global Media Forum allowed UNU to join the debate on the future of growth before a massive media audience. It enabled us to share our recent work and aspirations with more than 2500 journalists, academics and policymakers — from reporters at Britain’s Guardian newspaper to Professor Noam Chomsky to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle — all against the stunning glass backdrop of the World Conference Center in Bonn.

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Migration Debate: From Local Lives to Global Policies

Migrant entrepreneurs represent clear development potential for source countries. While abroad they gain new skills, earn more money, build social networks — and often bring these benefits ‘home’. But amid a divisive political climate, how should academics and policy makers approach this thorny issue? On 29 May 2013, the Maastricht Schools of Governance and Management held an International Policy Debate to clarify the links between remittances, entrepreneurship, and development. 

As a new research assistant at UNU-MERIT, I was lucky enough to sit in on last week’s policy debate. Having finished my bachelor’s a few weeks ago, I can say that I have read development and migration about as thoroughly as an undergraduate can. But I had never before seen it applied in real time.

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The Post-2015 Development Agenda: New Goals, New Questions

On 30 May 2013, the High-Level Panel assembled by the UN Secretary General published its recommendations for the post-2015 development agenda. The document outlines both a general view on the future of global development (culminating in the five ‘big, transformative shifts’) and a list of goals and targets to follow up on the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The new list is longer than the original: there are now 12 instead of eight goals, and 53 instead of 21 targets. Two clear observations can be drawn from this sheer rise in numbers. First, the increase may be interpreted as an indication of a wider and higher level of ambition. Coming from this group of eminent persons, including many political leaders, this is a positive factor. Despite attracting various critiques, the MDGs have been a positive focusing device for policy and thinking about policy. By increasing the scope of goals, this focusing function is potentially stronger because it will affect a larger set of relevant issues.

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Latin America’s Silent (Two-Wheel) Revolution

More and more Latin Americans are finally on the verge of buying cars, thanks to a historic combination of rising salaries, higher availability of credit, and decreasing prices of motor vehicles. For many it’s a ‘life dream’ come true. But what do we lose in the process? What are the side-effects for public health and city spending?

The clearest impact is on public health: the more people cycle, the healthier they are; and having societies that avoid global trends in diabetes and obesity translates into major savings for governments. For example, the WHO estimates that in any given year, regular cyclists (i.e. cycling 3 hours/week, 36 weeks/year, or 108 hours/year) are on average 28 per cent “less likely to die from any cause than non-cyclists”.

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