Science and technology are key drivers of Socio-economic Development. Technological innovation is a key factor in the development and Competitiveness of regional economies, which leads to wealth creation and the improvement of living standards.
Through the Science Technology and Innovation Desk within the SADC Secretariat, SADC pursues the goals and objectives of the region for science, technology and innovation as indicated in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development (RISDP). The unit is instrumental in co-ordinating the relevant activities.
The SADC vision is to develop a region where science, technology, and innovation drive sustainable Social and Economic Development, alleviate poverty and disease, and underpin the creation of Employment opportunities and wealth.
Most of the challenges currently facing Regional Integration, as identified in the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development will require scientific and technological solutions.
Developing Science, Technology and Innovation
The overall aim of the development and application of science and technology in the region is to develop and strengthen national systems of innovation that drive sustained socio-economic development and rapid achievement of the goals of the SADC Common Agenda. Most prominently, SADC strives to use science and technology as a means of poverty reduction, with the ultimate aim of poverty eradication in the region. Science, Technology and Innovation within SADC is driven by the Social and Human Development and Special Programmes Directorate.
Therefore, the focus areas of science and technology are aligned with the overall aims of SADC:
- Strengthening of regional cooperation;
- Development and harmonisation of policies; and
- Intra- and inter-regional cooperation.
SADC also aims to develop research capacity in key areas; to promote technology development, transfer and diffusion; and to support public understanding of science and technology.
Regional Imperative of Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation
Scientific and technological advances are important for regional development. In December 2008, the SADC Ministers responsible for Science, Technology and Innovation launched the “Science Technology and Innovation Desk,” which is responsible for coordinating interaction between Member States, mobilising financial resources, establishing strong linkages with other partners, and recordkeeping on regional issues. The Science Technology and Innovation Desk is a temporary structure that will ultimately culminate in a unit within the SADC Secretariat.
The Protocol on Science, Technology and Innovation was signed by Heads of State and Government in 2008. The Protocol outlines the framework of cooperation between Member States regarding science and technology within the region.
Implementation Framework to Support Climate Change Response
Climate change is an urgent issue facing the SADC region – one where science, technology, and innovation can play an important role in adaptation by people, business, and Industry. The SADC Science, Technology and Innovation Implementation Framework to Support Climate Change Response was adopted by the region's Science Ministers in May 2011. This document describes activities in four areas where Science, Technology and Innovation is crucial to tackling climate change:
The Plan also focuses on identifying sectors vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and producing a Vulnerability Atlas, highlighting areas at increased risk of flooding or drought. The adaptation strategy includes developing a portfolio of green technology projects, as well as research into disease-resistant and stress-tolerant crops.
- Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan
- Implementation Framework to Support Climate Change Response