Monday, November 30, 2009

STS Working Papers from the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Trivandrum, Kerala, India

STS Working Papers from the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Sunil Mani

  • High Skilled Migration From India, An Analysis of its Economic Implications. November 2009: WP 416. Download
  • Has India Become More Innovative Since 1991? Analysis of the Evidence and Some Disquieting Features. September 2009: WP 415. Download
  • [EPW Article] Is India Becoming More Innovative since 1991? Some Disquieting Features. India is variously described as a knowledge-based economy in the making, thanks essentially due to her high economic growth and the role played by knowledge-intensive sectors such as information technology in spurring and maintaining this growth performance. This paper looks at the empirical evidence on whether this is indeed the case since the reform process began in 1991. A variety of conventional indicators are analysed and their movements over the last two decades or so are charted to draw some firm conclusions. The results show that instances of innovation are restricted to a few areas such as the pharmaceutical industry. Further, increasingly most of the innovations in industry are contributed by foreign firms operating in the country. EPW, Vol. 44 No. 46 November 14 - November 20, 2009. More ...
  • The Growth of Knowledge-Intensive Entrepreneurship in India, 1991-2007: Analysis of its Evidence and the Facilitating Factors. February 2009: WP 409. Download
  • Financing of Industrial Innovations in India, How Effective are Tax Incentives for R&D? August 2008: WP405. Download
  • The Growth Performance of India's Telecommunications Services Industry, 1991-2006, Can it Lead to the Emergence of a Domestic Manufacturing Hub? September 2007: WP390. Download
  • Sectoral System of Innovation of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry. September 2006: WP382. Download

K.J. Joseph and Vinoj Abraham

  • Information Technology and Prductivity: Evidence from India's Manufacturing Sector. September 2007: WP389. Download

M. Parameswaran

  • International Trade, R&D Spillovers and Productivity: Evidence from Indian Manufacturing Industry. June 2007: WP385 Download

K.J. Joseph, Govindan Parayil

  • Trade Liberalization and Digital Divide: An Analysis of the Information Technology Agreement of WTO. July 2006: WP381. Download

CDS-IIFT-RIS National Seminar on ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement & Way Forward

CDS-IIFT-RIS National Seminar on ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement & Way Forward

5-6 February 2010

Venue: Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Call for Papers

The recently signed ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has had mixed responses. While it has been hailed as the beginning of the end of India’s isolation from major trading blocs and a firm step towards Pan Asian economic integration, the Agreement has been opposed in some regions and by a few sectoral interests in India which feel threatened because imports from the ASEAN would be promoted. Given the sensitivities of the issues involved, there is a need for systematic analysis of the implications of ASEAN-India FTA for India.

Against this background, the National Research Programme on Plantation Development (NRPPD) at CDS jointly with the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) and Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), propose to organize a national seminar with a view to promote discussion based on theoretically informed empirical analysis. The objective is to identify the real threats, highlight the opportunities and facilitate policy making.

We invite research papers on the macro and micro aspects of ASEAN India FTA. Contributions on sector-specific (e.g. Plantations and Fisheries) and region-specific (e.g.North East Region, Kerala) issues are especially welcome. The Scholars selected will be paid lowest economy class to and fro air fare to participate at the Seminar.

Important dates:

  • Detailed abstracts (500 words): 15 December 2009.
  • Final Papers: 30 January 2010.
  • Email: nrppd[at]cds.ac.in OR kjjoseph[at]cds.ac.in

Further Details

Call for Research Pre-Proposals - Economics of Climate Change


Call for Research Pre-Proposals - Economics of Climate Change

Deadline: 30 January 2010

The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE) is a regional network that brings together and strengthens South Asian researchers and institutions interested in the inter-connections between development and the environment. SANDEE is currently inviting research pre-proposals on the Economics of Climate Change. Pre-proposals, if accepted, will lead to an invitation to submit a full research proposal.

Human activity is altering the earth’s climate with serious implications for food security, health, biodiversity and natural disasters. South Asian countries will need to respond with strategies to both mitigate green house gases and adapt to climate change. SANDEE would like to increase its support for research on the economics of climate change.

We are soliciting concept notes on the following topics:

  • a) The benefits, costs and distributional impacts of specific adaptation or mitigation strategies.
  • b) Economy wide impacts of climate change policies through the use of macro-economic models.
  • c) Incentives related to international climate mitigation/adaptation instruments and climate negotiations.
  • d) Economic analyses of local and regional climate problems such as haze and black carbon and strategies to mitigate these.
  • e) Extreme events and the economic viability of ‘adaptation instruments’ such as insurance, improved natural barriers or institutional responses.

SANDEE supports economics research related to environmental problems. Pre-proposals that do not have a strong economics component will not be considered. However, multi-disciplinary projects are encouraged. Institutional affiliation is required for receiving support. Pre-proposals will be evaluated on their academic merit and policy significance.

SANDEE will collect proposals throughout the next 12 months. However, in order to be considered for our next research competition, please send concept notes by January 30th, 2010. Grant budgets for the last few cycles have been around 15,000 USD for one to two year grants. Larger budgets are considered if a multidisciplinary research team of natural and social scientists are involved with a clear definition of roles and tasks. Concept notes can be uploaded on the SANDEE website at http://www.sandeeonline.com. Please contact us at application[at]sandeeonline.org, if you have additional queries.

Further Details

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sources of information on EU Research and Innovation


Sources of Information on EU Research and Innovation

  • Two main Portals for EU research and innovation: "Europa" and "Cordis"
  • 7th Research Framework Programme (2007-2013): The European Commission adopted a proposal for a new EU programme for Research. The proposal provides new impetus to increase Europe's growth and competitiveness, recognising that knowledge is Europe's greatest resource. "Europa" and "Cordis"
  • Online Presentations of the 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7): A major FP7 information event was organised in Brussels in 2007. All video presentations are available.
  • 6th Research Framework Programme (2002-2006): The EU's Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development is a major tool to support the creation of the European Research Area - ERA."
  • Find a running Community research project: FP6 and FP7
  • International Cooperation in FP7: FP7 is open to and promotes international S&T cooperation.
  • Communication "More Research and Innovation - Common Approach": Research and innovation have been confirmed as key challenges in the new Lisbon Partnership for Growth and Jobs. The 2002 Barcelona European Council set the goal of raising overall research investment in the EU from1.9% of GDP to around 3% by 2010.
  • Information and Communication Technologies: Information and Communication Technologies are vital to creating growth throughout Europe’s economy and achieving its social and environmental goals. It is therefore crucial that Europe masters these technologies, rather than simply importing them.
  • Key S&T Figures: The Key Figures report 2008/2009 take a detailed look at the most important aspects of EU research and innovation investment and performance.
  • The European Researcher's Mobility Portal: If you are a researcher planning your next move in Europe, look here for career opportunities and to find information and assistance.
  • Marie Curie Actions: Marie Curie Fellowships actions provide may opportunities to pre and post-doctoral researchers.
  • The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard: The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard provides economic and financial data and analysis of companies from the EU and from abroad investing the most in Research and Development.
  • European Innovation Scoreboard: The EIS is the instrument developed by the European Commission, under the Lisbon Strategy, to evaluate and compare the innovation performance of the Member States.
  • European Technology Platforms: They provide a framework for stakeholders, led by industry, to define research and development priorities, timeframes and action plans on a number of strategically important issues where achieving Europe's future growth, competitiveness and sustainability objectives is dependent upon major research and technological advances in the medium to long term.
  • Building the "European Research Area": The idea of a European Research Area grew out of the realisation that research in Europe suffers from three weaknesses: insufficient funding, lack of an environment to stimulate research and exploit results, and the fragmented nature of activities and the dispersal of resources.
  • European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures: The role of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) is to support a coherent approach to policy-making on research infrastructures in Europe, and to act as an incubator for international negotiations about concrete initiatives. In particular, ESFRI has prepared a European Roadmap for new research infrastructures of pan-European interest.
  • Gate2Growth: Gate2Growth is the pan-European Business Platform for (i) Entrepreneurs seeking financing (Business Matching), (ii) Investors (InvestorNet), (iii) Technology Incubator Managers (Incubator Forum), (iv) Knowledge Transfer Offices (Proton Europe), (v) Academia in entrepreneurship, innovation and finance(Academic Network), (vi) Innovative companies seeking expert service providers (Service Centre).
  • European Institute of Innovation and Technology: The proposal to establish EIT ) was first put forward in 2005 as part of the mid-term review of the Lisbon strategy. In a Communication to the European Council on February 22 entitled “Implementing the renewed partnership for growth and jobs. Developing a knowledge flagship: The European Institute of Technology”, the Commission defined the key elements of EIT.
  • European Research Council: The objective of the 'Ideas' programme in FP7 is to enhance the dynamism, creativity and excellence of European research at the frontier of knowledge. This is to be done by supporting "investigator-driven" research projects carried out across all fields by individual teams in competition at the European level.
  • Stimulating research and innovation through public procurement: A new study confirms that there is sufficient room within the framework of EU legislation for national and regional governments to apply innovation-oriented procurement if they wish. "Innovation and Public Procurement. Review of Issues at Stake" recommends that Member States take initiatives to encourage procurement for innovation.
  • SINAPSE: The main and general objective of SINAPSE (Scientific INformAtion for Policy Support in Europe) e-network is to make better use of scientific knowledge in policy making. SINAPSE is open to all scientists, scientific organisations and anyone with an interest in science.
  • Competitiveness and Innovation Framework programmes (2007-2013): The proposed Framework Programme is structured around three main blocks of activities: (i) The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, particularly focussing on SMEs, (ii) the ICT Policy Support Programme, to support the adoption of ICTs in business, administrations and public sector services and (iii) the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme.
  • Towards world-class clusters in the European Union - Implementing the broad-based innovation strategy: This Commission communication calls for more efforts for facilitating the emergence of world-class clusters in the European Union. It addresses key challenges to achieve this: Deepening the internal market, improving cluster policies, fostering trans-national cooperation, promoting excellence of cluster organisations, and improving the integration of innovative SMEs into clusters.
  • Cluster Mapping: The European Observatory of clusters will be built upon the results of two cluster mapping projects. The first project, completed in June 2006, covers the EU-10 countries while the second, to start in September 2006, will cover EU-15, the three Candidate Countries i.e. Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey as well as Iceland, Israel, Norway and Switzerland.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NISTADS Workshop on "Green Economy: Challenges and Responses to Changing Conditions"

Two day Workshop on "Green Economy: Challenges and Responses to Changing Conditions"
14-15 December 2009
Venue: India International Centre, New Delhi
Organized by National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS, CSIR), New Delhi

NISTADS is devoted to the study of various aspects of interaction among science, society and state. As a part of a recently undertaken project on "Prospects of Green Occupations in India with special emphasis on skilled professions". The workshop aims to focus on economic sectors with greening potential, such as water, energy etc and the skills response strategies towards current and future labour market demand for green collar workers at different levels, i.e. national, sectoral, regional, company and training provider. A discussion on the priorities of the country for mitigating and adapting to climate change in response to environmental degradation among researchers, academicians, bureaucrats and stakeholders will also be a part of the workshop. The workshop is broadly divided into the following themes:
  • Day I
A. Access to clean water: Water supply, Waste water treatment, Governance
B. Energy efficiency: Green buildings, Emerging clean technologies, energy supply
  • Day II
C. Environmental standards: Regulations, Management, Audit
D. Other issues on new or existing green occupations
Contact Dr. Kasturi Mandal, Scientist, NISTADS to present a paper or take part in the deliberations.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

UNU-EHS Summer Academy on Social Vulnerability


Fifth Annual Summer Academy on Social Vulnerability

25-31 July 2010

Venue: The historic Hohenkammer Castle (Schloss Hohenkammer) in the countryside outside of Munich, Germany

Supported by Munich Re Foundation and United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)

Call for Applications

UNU-EHS invites qualified Ph.D, LLM and SJD students who have an interdisciplinary focus and are working on research or dissertations related to humanitarian and human rights law, migration studies, economics and labor migration, environmental studies, natural disasters, human security, and public health to apply for the 2010 Summer Academy. Most participants are expected to be graduate or post-graduate students. PhD students would be ideally in their second or third year of research. However, a few places will be reserved for practitioners who wish to take a step back from their operational work to engage with young researchers on this strategic issue. Applications are required to be submitted online at www.ehs.unu.edu not later than January 15, 2010.

Purpose

The Summer Academy is designed to bring Ph.D, LLM and SJD students together with senior United Nations University and Munich Re Foundation scientists, international experts, and academic professors to facilitate the mutual exchange of research and scholarship on climate change and social vulnerability. The 2010 program will invite a group of outstanding students from graduate programs around the world to participate with experts in mapping a set of potential policy and institutional frameworks to help address the humanitarian and human rights impacts of forced migration related to climate change.

Learning Objectives

  • Independent and problem solving orientated thinking;
  • Actively engaging and communicating with other participants in an inter/multidisciplinary and intercultural team;
  • Translating research into policy relevant recommendations;
  • Enhancing participants’ ability to fit their own research into a broader research context and the ability of strategic planning of future research;
  • Professional networking amongst young and senior professionals at the academy to link up synergy for further collaboration;
  • Increasing and updating participants’ knowledge of the literature on social vulnerability, governance framework in relation to climate change and forced migration.

Financial Support

The participants are expected to cover their travel. Accommodation and meals during the week-long academy will be generously sponsored by the Munich Re Foundation. There are only limited funds available for travel support for applicants from developing countries. All applicants are encouraged to seek their own funding for travel.Summer Academy application process Complete applications must be received no later than 15 January 2010. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Notifications will be made mid-March 2010. The working language for the Summer Academy is English.

Summer Academy application process

Complete applications must be received no later than 15 January 2010. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Notifications will be made mid-March 2010. The working language for the Summer Academy is English.To apply for the 2010 Summer Academy in the online form provided at the UNU-EHS website.

Further Details

Monday, November 9, 2009

Invest in R&D to stay in the carbon capture & storage race

Invest in R&D to stay in the carbon capture & storage race

Malti Goel*

(*Former Advisor, Department of Science & Technology, and CSIR Emeritus Scientist, CSSP, JNU)

Monday, Oct 26, 2009, The Financial Express

While developing countries are expected to take adaptive actions to the pollution that has already occurred, mitigation is an inclusive process and it requires innovation. The science & technology developments have a great role to play in mitigation. The setting up of a national climate change mitigation authority would be a welcome step in this direction.

Take the example of energy sector: Fossil fuels are the backbone of economy of any nation. To address the challenge of emissions from coal-based power plants, efforts are being mounted to introduce carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology as means of effective mitigation option for stabilising CO2 concentrations, either through reduction of emissions or capture of excess CO2. The captured CO2 is converted to liquid form, making it easier to transport it to desirable location. For storage CO2 can be injected into depleted oil and gas reservoirs. The other possibilities are rocks, which react slowly to mineralisation, deep saline formations-underground or under the sea bed.

Pre-combustion appears most favourable to remove or minimise CO2 from the fuel before it is combusted. It is being routinely done for natural gas. Coal needs to be, however, gasified. It would be more appropriate to remove CO2 from the syn gas at higher temperatures of gasification so as to reduce overall energy consumption. The CO2 sequestration studies over a range of different materials; rare earths, composites and adsorbents, which can perform at higher temperatures, have been initiated in R&D laboratories.

In the area of coal combustion the pulverised fuel is the most practical technology adopted in 97% of thermal power plants worldwide. Pulverised fuel under super-critical conditions offers improved efficiency. In India plans are underway to introduce new capacity addition using super-critical boilers. Oxy coal combustion is another innovative technology being proposed in may countries to reduce air pollution and increase efficiency of power generation. Burning of coal in 100% oxygen has benefits as well as technical challenges. Rapid progress has been made in the UK, Germany, Canada and Australia in the last two years as it could facilitate low-cost CO2 capture. A 30-mw oxy coal pilot facility has been demonstrated at Vattenfall (Germany) in 2008.

More...

Call for Nominations - IDRC India Social Science Research Award 2009


Call for Nominations - IDRC India Social Science Research Award 2009

About the Award

The International Development Research Centre India Social Science Research Award (IDRC-SSRA) 2009 is about celebrating best research practices in social sciences in India on the occasion of 25 years of IDRC’s regional office presence in India. The Award seeks to recognize young talent and celebrate research that has demonstrated impact on policy and practice, or has enhanced public understanding of behavioral & social science principles. Nominations are invited for the Award process and open until November 20, 2009.

The Award will be given to the submission that best demonstrates the impact of research on decision-making within – and understanding of the issues relating to – the public policy and practice. The jury will be looking for case studies which show a strong connection between the research and policy or practice outcomes. A maximum of INR 40,000 per award is available.

Purpose

The Research Award recognizes young professionals who have made significant contributions to knowledge concerning significant areas of social science research to policy or enhanced public understanding and practice through meritorious research.

Award Categories

The IDRC SSRA will be given out for best research practices in the following five thematic areas:

  • Enhancing Food Security: Research and studies that aim at enhancing the food and livelihood security of marginalized and vulnerable communities, through increasing practical opportunities for enhancing and diversifying food production, improving access to markets (value chains) and securing rights.
  • Climate Change and Adaptation: Research and studies that develop integrated approaches to support building local resilience and adaptive capacity, particularly amongst vulnerable communities. This may involve research on enabling mechanisms underlying both planned and autonomous adaptation strategies (e.g. adaptive infrastructure or risk pooling/ transferring mechanisms or larger questions of governance and disaster risk reduction).
  • Rural Innovation Systems: Research and studies on innovation processes and innovation systems of relevance to the rural economy; this may include both formal ( science and technology based) and non-formal innovations (such as tacit- knowledge based); the ways of generating knowledge, linking to and learning from other knowledge actors and using knowledge for tangible outcomes to benefit rural people; research on policy and regulatory processes that influence these innovations; rural innovation capacity in the context of national development.
  • Equity in Health Systems: Research and studies that aim to ensure that all people may attain a level of health that enables them to participate actively in the social and economic life of the community in which they live. This would include applied research which is necessary to identify priority problems and to design and evaluate policies and programmes that will deliver the greatest health benefits, making optimal use of available resources.
  • Social Inclusion: Research and studies that focuses on existing social cleavages; the exclusion of some groups from social and economic rights (especially in the case of women); citizenship rights & political rights (participation and capacity to mobilize/organise by all groups in society especially those marginalized); and, conflict and insecurity induced by nation building.

Up to Ten Research Awards will be given in five key thematic areas. The jury also may award 2 non-cash projects recognizing special initiatives.

Last Date for Nominations: 20th November 2009

Further Details

Sunday, November 8, 2009

International Seminar on Forest Management and Sustainable Development: Economic and Environmental Issues

International Seminar on Forest Management and Sustainable Development: Economic and Environmental Issues
27-28 February (Sat-Sun), 2010
Organised by: Centre for Studies on Environment and Sustainable Development (CSESD), Rabindra Bharati University (Emerald Bower, 56A, B.T. Road, Kolkata - 700 050) in collaboration with the CHEM, RBU and IIDS

Call for Papers
CSESD invites Abstracts (within 300 words) on any aspect of the theme for consideration to be sent to csesd@rediffmail.com and rk_sen25@rediffmail.com with a hard copy within Dec 31, 2009. Selected authors will have to submit the full paper by email with a hard copy before the Seminar and selected papers will be published in the form of an edited volume in due course.
There is a token Registration fee of Rs. 300/- only for all delegates which includes Seminar kits and modest boarding and lodging (for outstation delegates only) from 26 Feb (afternoon) to 1 March (morning) (to be informed within 15.2.10). There is no TA for the delegates.
Professor Raj Kumar Sen
Director CSESD, RBU & Chairman, IIDS
Ph. 033-2555 5613(R), 09432364604 (M)
Further details: www.rabindrabharatiuniversity.net/csesd

Information and Communication for Development Report 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact

Information and Communication for Development Report 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact

Published by The World Bank, Washington, D.C., United States, July 2009

The World Bank Report takes an in-depth look at how ICT, and particularly broadband and mobile, are impacting economic growth in developing countries. The data section includes at-a-glance tables for 150 economies of the latest available data on ICT sector performance. Performance measures for access, affordability and applications in government and business are also introduced.

IC4D 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact

Does access to the Internet promote economic growth in developing countries? How can mobile phones extend financial and health services to the poor? How do manual and e-government services compare? What opportunities does the information technology industry offer for women and youth?

The second issue of the series Information and Communication for Development "IC4D 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact" takes a close look at mobile and broadband connectivity; it analyses the development impact of high-speed Internet access in developing countries and provides policy options with the opportunities and challenges of convergence. The report also presents a framework of e-government applications and discusses various country experiences with the institutional and policy arrangements for e-government and for the development of local information technology (IT) industry. The common thread running through these topics is the develompent impact of ICT.

In addition, the report presents summary tables of ICT sector indicators in 150 economies and introduces new performance measures in terms of access, affordability, and ICT adoption in government and business.

Powering Growth and Jobs through Broadband

The report Information and Communication for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact, finds that with 10 percent increase in high speed Internet connections, economic growth increases by 1.3 percent. New information and communications technologies (ICT) in particular are changing the way companies do business, transforming public service delivery and democratizing innnovation.

In addition, the report highlights that connectivity - whether the Internet or mobile phones- is increasingly bringing market information, financial services, health services - to remote areas, and is helping to change people's lives in unprecedented ways.

"The mobile platform is emerging as the single most powerful way to extend economic opportunities and key services to millions of people,” says Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang, World Bank economist and editor of a new Bank Group report on information technology and development.

The Report - Other Highlights are:

  • Access to affordable broadband Internet and mobile phone services enables development across all levels of the economy and society;
  • Governments should work with the private sector to accelerate rollout of broadband networks, and to extend access to low-income consumers;
  • Information technology services industries create jobs, especially among youth;
  • Modern, technology-enabled governments are more efficient, transparent and responsive.

Table of Contents

  • Part I
  • Chapter 1: Overview
  • Chapter 2: Nothing Endures but Change: Thinking Strategically about ICT Convergence
  • Chapter 3: Economic Impacts of Broadband
  • Chapter 4: Advancing the Development of Backbone Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Chapter 5: How Do Manual and E-Government Services Compare? Experiences from India
  • Chapter 6: National E-Government Institutions: Functions,Models, and Trends
  • Chapter 7: Realizing the Opportunities Presented by the Global Trade in IT-Based Services
  • Part II
  • Trends Analysis
  • ICT Performance Measures: Methodology and Findings
  • ICT Performance Measure Table
  • User's Guide to ICT At-a-Glance Country Tables
  • At-a-Glance Country Tables
  • Key ICT Indicators for Other Economies, 2007

Further Details and Download Chapters

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Information Economy Report 2009: Trends and Outlook in Turbulent Times


The Information Economy Report 2009: Trends and Outlook in Turbulent Times

Published by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

The Information Economy Report 2009: Trends and Outlook in Turbulent Times is the fourth in a series published by the UNCTAD. The report is one of the few publications to monitor global trends in information and communication technologies (ICTs) as they affect developing countries. It serves as a valuable reference for policymakers in those nations. It gives special attention to the impact of the global financial crisis on ICTs.

Contents:

  • Global and regional trends in the diffusion of ICTs such as fixed and mobile telecommunications, Internet, and broadband
  • Ranking of the most dynamic economies in terms of increased ICT connectivity between 2003 and 2008
  • Monitoring of the "digital divide"
  • Survey of national statistical offices on the use of ICT in the business sector
  • A review of the changing patterns in the trade of ICT goods
  • A mapping of the new geography in the offshoring of IT and ICT-enabled services
  • Policy recommendations on how developing countries can reap greater benefits from ICT
  • A statistical annex with global ICT data.

The Information Economy Report 2009 (IER 2009) offers a fresh assessment of the diffusion of key ICT applications between 2003 and 2008. While fixed telephone subscriptions are now in slight decline, mobile and Internet use continues to expand rapidly in most countries and regions. At the same time, there is a widening gap between high-income and low-income countries in broadband connectivity. Broadband penetration is now eight times higher in developed than in developing countries. The report explores policy options for countries seeking to improve broadband connectivity.

The IER 2009 includes a chapter on the use of ICTs in the business sector. Drawing on unique data, it examines how ICT use differs both between and within countries, highlighting the rural-urban divide as well as that between large and small companies. The report recommends that governments in developing countries give more attention to ICT uptake and use by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as they are lagging behind larger firms. And it discusses those aspects of ICT where government intervention can make a difference.

A third chapter is devoted to the impact of the financial crisis on ICT trade. While a growing share of exports of ICT goods and services is accounted for by developing economies, especially in Asia, the crisis has affected goods and services quite differently. ICT goods are among the categories of trade most negatively affected by the recession, while IT and ICT-related services appear to be among the most resilient. A statistical annex to the report provides data on ICT infrastructure, ICT use, and ICT trade for up to 200 economies.

Download Full-text PDF

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

UNESCO World Report Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue


It is urgent to invest in cultural diversity and dialogue, according to a new UNESCO report

Paris, 20 October 2009

Companies which invest in cultural diversity, whether at the management, human resources or marketing level, can benefit economically from it. This is one of the conclusions in the UNESCO World Report Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue, presented at the Organization's Headquarters.

This World Report aims to become a reference tool for cultural diversity. Cultural diversity, which is too often reduced to the protection of heritage in danger, is also the development of intercultural skills, the search for an antidote to expressions of cultural isolationism, the road towards new forms of governance, the lever of the effective exercise of universally recognized human rights and a means to reduce imbalances in the world trade in creative products.

Media and cultural industries represent more than 7% of global GDP and represent approximately US$1.3 trillion, i.e. approximately twice the level of receipts from international tourism, estimated at US$680 billion. Africa's share in the global trade in creative products remains marginal - at less than 1% of worldwide exports – despite its abundance of creative talent. In order to improve this situation, it is urgent to invest in cultural diversity and dialogue, the Report insists.

"Culture was the great forgotten issue among the Millennium Development Goals', deplored Ko├»chiro Matsuura, UNESCO's Director-General, adding that ‘it has become urgent in our world, which is confronted to cultural changes of all sorts, to learn how to manage change and ensure that it does not becomes a source of greater vulnerability for those who are badly prepared to face it."

This is clearly the meaning of the ten recommendations drawn by the Report about ways to invest in cultural diversity. The Report especially suggests creating a 'World Observatory on Cultural Diversity, to monitor the impacts of globalization', setting up a "national mechanism for monitoring public policies as they relate to cultural diversity," and implementing "national language policies with a view to both safeguarding linguistic diversity and promoting multilingual competencies."

The Report also puts forward new strategies to facilitate intercultural dialogue, improve the relevance of educational contents, overcome stereotypes in the media and facilitate the exchange of artistic productions and the circulation of artists.

Aimed at the academic world as well as the general public, this Report develops a new vision of cultural diversity, which stresses its dynamic nature and the need to combat the development of cultural illiteracy, which is promoted by the acceleration of social transformations.

Chapters

  • Chapter 1 Cultural diversity
  • Chapter 2 Intercultural dialogue
  • Chapter 3 Languages
  • Chapter 4 Education
  • Chapter 5 Communication and cultural contents
  • Chapter 6 Creativity and the marketplace
  • Chapter 7 Cultural diversity: A key dimension of sustainable development
  • Chapter 8 Cultural diversity, human rights and democratic governance

Key figures:

  • Estimates set at 6,000 to 8,000 the number of languages in the world today, which – although one language does not necessarily correspond to one culture (several cultures can speak the same language, and in one culture different languages may be spoken) – gives an idea of cultural diversity.
  • There are many imbalances in the global trade of creative products: Africa’s share remains marginal (at less than 1% of exports), despite its abundance of creative talent.
  • Most of the 75 million children who did not go to school in 2006 (55% of whom were girls) were from cultural 'minorities', indigenous populations or nomads.
  • Half of the languages in the world are spoken by linguistic communities of less than 10,000 people.
  • While in 2000 53% of Internet users were English-speaking their number fell to 29% in 2009.
  • Developing countries' exports of cultural and media equipment increased rapidly between 1996 and 2005, growing from US$51 billion to US$274 billion, which showed the emergence of so-called "counter-flows", which are countering the extreme concentration of media ownership.
  • Crafts and tourism are a major source of revenue for developing countries: crafts production and tourism represent more than 25% of the GDP of Morocco, for example.
  • Fair trade has grown rapidly, by an average of 40% over the last five years.

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