Innovation for development: DEIP Bolivia 2013

Bolivia was the location of our latest training course on the ‘Design and Evaluation of Innovation Policies’ (DEIP). One of the least developed countries in Latin America but with one of the highest investment rates in education, Bolivia is a special case in many ways. In the last few years the Bolivian Government has focused on the potential rewards of innovation and R&D, specifically by bringing together researchers and manufacturers. Crucially, this DEIP fed into a long-term process that aims to reform the country’s science and technology policy, with a view to securing a major ‘leap forward’ by 2025. A leap based on social innovation and the sustainable exploitation of natural resources. The main themes are summarized below by government officials and course lecturers, in Spanish and English and in video and text.

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Press Review September 2013: First Impressions

This press review features the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance, from working papers to policy reports to books, as well as mentions in the media.

Our output for September includes two journal articles, two working papers, a study report, a policy network paper, a conference paper, a book chapter, a book and a research report for the European Commission. We cover knowledge transfer across Europe, industrial growth in Chinese regions, capability building in developing countries, and migration across four continents.

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What Direction for Dutch Higher Education?

The current state and future prospects of Dutch education were the focus of a cross-school debate in April 2013, based on a recent report by Empower European Universities (EEU). Hosted by Amsterdam University College (AUC), the debate focused on the contribution of higher education policies to economic innovation in 32 European countries, as highlighted in EEU’s ‘State of University Policy for Progress in Europe’ report.

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Black Friday: How to Resist the Orgy of Consumerism?

Although the key to urban sustainability lies in the magic formula of living smaller, living closer and driving less, it’s also important to reflect on the impact caused by our lifestyles.

Christmas hasn’t even begun and we’re already feeling the aftershocks of the US shopping bonanza. This sad occasion, ominously dubbed ‘Black Friday’, is held every year in the USA on the day after Thanksgiving.

Now, amid the avalanche of consumers and virtual riots, its influence is being felt outside the western world. Developing countries are rapidly becoming new markets for this consumerist orgy, and Colombia is no exception. In a country overwhelmed by poverty and inequality, Black Friday has now firmly set up stall.

Gone are the days when the opportunistic few escaped to empty out the malls of Miami, only to fight the airline counter workers to push through their excess baggage. Now, you can buy online ad nauseum (and schedule shipments through local companies), or simply go to several of the local chain stores that have learned so well how to copy this promotion of promotions.

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Metros of the World: From Dirty Deathtraps to Green Galleries

There are metro systems to suit all tastes. Dirty and uninviting ones like those in Rome and Atlanta, or clean and tidy like those in Singapore and Medellín. From the ubiquitous ones – take the Paris metro or the London tube – to the crowded systems of Buenos Aires and Tokyo (where helpers are famous for ‘gently’ pushing commuters with a cane to allow the doors to close).

Other students of sustainable mobility London tuberemind me that New York and Copenhagen serve as two of the most innovative systems. I couldn’t agree more: the former is the fundamental reason why Manhattan never became addicted to the car, the latter seems to have been specially designed to help cyclists move around both above and below ground.

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Migration Focus: EU Mobility Partnerships

The Dutch Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels hosted a policy debate on 18 January on the topic of EU Mobility Partnerships. The debate was organized by Maastricht University and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The aim of the debate was to discuss the state of implementation of the EU’s Mobility Partnerships. These partnerships are a framework for cooperation between the EU and non-EU countries on migration issues. The debate brought together academics and policy-makers from the EU member states, the European Commission, and non-EU countries.

During two panel sessions and a plenary debate participants spoke of the successes and challenges experienced during implementation of the Mobility Partnerships. The major conclusions of the day were that: the EU needs to communicate the aim and content of the partnerships more effectively; there needs to be better coordination between the partners involved (the Commission, the member states and the non-EU countries); and there needs to be more balance within the partnerships between encouraging legal mobility and preventing illegal migration.

All participants agreed that Mobility Partnerships have the potential to add real value to the existing bilateral cooperation with these non-EU countries, and an upcoming evaluation (to be carried out by the Commission) should help to unlock this potential.

The policy debate was organized in the framework of the IS-Academy cooperation on Migration and Development. The IS-Academy partners are Maastricht University (coordinated by the Graduate School of Governance), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Institute of Public Administration, the European Centre for Development Policy Management, and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development. A summary of the main conclusions of the policy debate will be made available on the IS-Academy website, which can be accessed at http://mgsog.merit.unu.edu/ISacademie/

Natasja Reslow, Maastricht University