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Science and technology

Remarks at 2015 ASEAN+3 Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial Forum

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD

Daejeon, Korea

21 October 2015

(As prepared for delivery)

 

 

Minister Yanghee, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is a pleasure to be here to discuss strengthening co-operation in science, technology and innovation (STI) in Southeast Asia. I would like to thank Minister Yanghee for convening this meeting. International cooperation in STI is vital to address today’s global challenges, from climate change to ageing societies. It also speeds up progress, helping to diversify economies, move up value chains and make our societies more inclusive.

 

Cooperation is in the OECD’s genes, it’s even in our name! We work with 34 member countries and over 140 non-member countries in most policy fields; sharing experiences; seeking solutions to common challenges. At the OECD we say that there is no copyright on good policy! We’re the world’s largest ‘policy lab’.


 

OECD’s strengthened cooperation on STI in the Southeast Asia region

 

A key pillar of our global relations is the Southeast Asia Regional Programme, which I launched with Prime Minister Abe in 2014. The programme facilitates the exchange of good policy practices with the OECD and supports reform and regional integration. We have established six Regional Policy Networks and three thematic initiatives, including an Innovation Initiative. The meeting tomorrow of Science Ministers from OECD and Southeast Asian countries to chart a global STI policy agenda represents a deepening of this Initiative.

 

In recent years, the OECD has carried out a Review of Innovation Policy in Southeast Asia (2013), and country-specific reviews of Innovation Policy in Korea (2009 and 2014), China (2008) and Viet Nam (2014), with Malaysia still ongoing. In addition, the OECD has recently delivered analyses of Indonesia’s and Malaysia’s intellectual property (IP) systems for innovation. We are also working with ASEAN countries on a Southeast Asia Broadband Toolkit. Studies show that a 10% increase in broadband penetration is associated with about 1-1.5 percentage points higher GDP per capita growth in OECD countries and an increase of almost 1.4 percentage points in lower and middle income countries.

 

We are also working with you on inclusive innovation and engagement in global value chains. The OECD STI Scoreboard 2015 shows that since 1995 the role of ASEAN economies within the East and Southeast Asia region has been growing in all major sectoral value chains, in particular computer and electronics. ASEAN economies clearly offer an attractive manufacturing base. So how can you further support this trend and climb up the value ladder?


 

STI policy priorities in the Southeast Asia region

 

First, there is a need to invest in an efficient system of knowledge creation and diffusion. Investment in public research remains low in most of the ASEAN countries. While it is substantially higher in China, Japan and Korea, investment in public research could be improved and should include 21st Century infrastructure, such as broadband networks.

 

Second, in many ASEAN countries, there is scope to improve the innovation capacities of public institutions and strengthen their relationship with the private sector. Malaysia, for example, has recently implemented programmes (ScienceFund, InnoFund and TechnoFund) to promote commercialisation of publicly funded R&D outputs.

 

The business environment can be supported by lowering barriers to entrepreneurship, strengthening competition and improving frameworks for investment. The OECD is on hand to help, notably through our updated Policy Framework for Investment (PFI). We have already carried out Investment Policy Reviews for China (2003, 2006, 2008), Indonesia (2010), Malaysia (2013), Myanmar (2014), Vietnam (2009), and are in process of finalising four additional for Cambodia, Lao PDR, the Philippines and again for Viet Nam.

 

Third, as ever there is a need to invest in people. About two out of three adults in Japan and Korea and in OECD countries in general do not have the full skills needed to thrive in a technology-rich environment. An inclusive education and skills strategy, which puts access, quality, and efficiency at its heart, is essential.

 

Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Science, technology and innovation are essential to boosting growth and addressing global and regional challenges. We hope this first meeting at Ministerial level will be followed by others. We stand ready to help you develop, design and deliver ‘better STI policies for better lives’.

 

I wish you a successful meeting and look forward to welcoming you to the OECD Ministerial. Thank you!