As time draws closer to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), Namibia has recognized the need to strengthen its Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) systems for sustainable development.
Namibia needs to define its own STI indicators that are relevant and needs driven. UNESCO’s Global Observatory of Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Instruments (GO-SPIN) which is a methodological tool used to map national science, technology and innovation landscapes, as well as analyze the way STI policies are implemented, served as an applicable benchmark to begin the process.
Supported by the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA), this project aims to help UNESCO Member States to create local capacity for analyzing STI evidence-based policies and detect gaps and introduce reforms and upgrades to their national innovation systems and governance. The national capacity building GO-SPIN workshop, facilitated by Dr G.A. Lemarchand, GO-SPIN Scientific Advisor, in the Social and Human Sciences Sector, at UNESCO, was tailored for STI managers and data focal points from key national research and development institutions in Namibia to discuss, plan and improve reporting on STI data to support evidence-based policy.
The workshop discussions drew inspiration from other African countries such as Botswana which has anchored its STI policy on indigenous knowledge systems to the extent of transforming it to teach science in Setswana.
Prior to this workshop, UNESCO led a two-week consultation with STI stakeholders identified by the Ministry of Higher Education and Technology (MHETI) and NCRST (Implementing partner) on GO-SPIN. The aim of the consultations was to compile information on the research and innovation landscape in the country, the funding mechanisms, different STI incentives, institutional characteristics, the main challenges experienced, and the opportunities that the different stakeholders perceive for Namibia.