Introduction and background
In recent years, the need to address social and environmental challenges has grown in urgency. Climate change, energy supply and security, agriculture and food security, and water are some of the global challenges that have received increasing attention of the highest political level and a wide range of international communities. Today there is a growing consensus among various stakeholders that these global challenges require global solutions involving both OECD and non OECD countries, and that science technology and innovation (STI) must play an important role in providing the global solutions.
Examples of research collaboration on climate change, food security, energy, and infectious diseases help demonstrate the potential that some key global challenges can be addressed through enhanced international STI co-operation. The development of new technologies and innovative solutions and the application of existing technologies through wider diffusion are expected to make important contributions to lowering carbon emissions and improving energy security, meanwhile new technologies, innovative business models and better technology diffusion across countries are also expected to help improve global health, enhance food security and improve access to clean water.
To realise the STI potential, new approaches and governance mechanisms for promoting international S&T co-operation to address global challenges are needed. At its meeting on 21-22 October 2008, the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP) concluded that strengthen multinational science and technology co-operation to address key global challenges is an important question for science and technology policy makers, and it decided to explore this issue through the Committee’s work.
Building on work that the Committee had undertaken to date, CSTP’s new work will focus on identifying and promoting more effective approaches and governance mechanisms for multinational S&T co-operation in order to facilitate and speed up scientific and technological progresses to meet the need for addressing global challenges.
As a first step to take forward the new work, a workshop was organised on 25 and 26 March 2009 to take stock of the current state of multinational S&T co-operation and the existing frameworks and governance approaches, meanwhile exploring promising new approaches and opportunities for enhanced co-operation and governance. The Workshop discussion helped the finalisation of the proposal for the work on multinational S&T co-operation to address global challenges to be embraced by the CSTP in 2009.