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Conference of Ministers
responsible for the Application
of Science and Technology

to Development
in Latin America
and the Caribbean

SC-85//CASTALAC
1114

SC-85/CASTALAC II/4
Paris, 8 July 1985
Original: Spanish

UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL,


SCIENTIFIC A N D C U L T U R A L ORGANIZATION

Conference of Ministers responsible for the


Application of Science and Technology to Development
in Latin America and the Caribbean
(CASTALAC 11)
(Brasilia,Brazil, 20-26 August 1985)

POINTS FOR DISCUSSION

CONTENTS

Introduction

I.

Trends and challenges in the application of science and


technology to socio-economic development in Latin America
and the Caribbean

Science,technology and development in rural settings

Government instruments and mechanisms for the planning


of scientific and technological development, and for the
implementation of science and technology policies

Training and research in the field of scientific and


technological development: Policy-making, planning and
managemen t

11

Regional and sub-regional co-operation for scientific and


technological developmen t

12

Measures to be taken for following up the CASTALAC I1


recommendations

13

'

11.

111.

IV.

V.l.

V.2.

Page
1

INTRODUCTION
This document summarizes the main questions arising from a
consideration of the agenda items for CASTALAC 11, the general
problems involved being examined at greater length in the Main Working
Document (document SC-85ICASTALAC 11/31. It is intended to help
the participants in the Conference focus their attention on the main
questions which may be debated and which could be the subject of
recommendations. The items and sub-items will be considered in this
document in the order in which they appear in the agenda.
1.

2.
This document is based on the suggestions formulated at the
Preparatory Meeting of Experts for CASTALAC 11, which was held
in Lima from 24-28 June 1985, and expressed the hope that CASTALAC
I1 would initiate regional and sub-regional co-operation activities to
encourage scientific and technological development. These might
be based on the approaches indicated in Chapter V.l, paragraph 4.

S C - 8 5 / C A S T A L A C II/4 - page 2

I.

TRENDS A N D C H A L L E N G E S IN THE APPLICTION OF SCIENCE A N D TECHNOLOGY


TO SOCIO-ECONOMIC D E V E L O P M E N T IN LATIN A M E R I C A A N D THE C A R I B B E A N
(Item 7 of the Provisional Agenda)

(a)

Science and technology for the development of the industrial and service sectors

1.

What contribution might science and technology make in priority sectors of the
economy and of social development? What other sectors require action in the field
of R&D if a qualitative change is to be effected?

2.

To what extent do technological changes in strategic sectors presuppose changes


in subsidiary sectors?

3.

What effective mechanisms enable the productive sectors to request R&D projects
to be carried out in research centres existing in the countries of the Region?

4.

Have significant advances been achieved with regard to: the encouragement of local
technologies adapted to the needs of the Region; the improvement of national capacity
for the identification, evaluation and selection of technologies; appropriate control
of the procedures for technology transfer (bearing in mind the real costs, areas and
methods for the effective control of these procedures)?

(b)

Explicit incorporation of policy for scientific and technological development in


national policies, mechanisms and instruments for economic and social development

'(C)

Integration of planning processes for scientific and technological development into


overall development planning

1.

What are the main obstacles to the integration of the science and technology
programme and the main science and technology projects into general and sectoral
development plans?

SC-85/CASTALAC II/4 - page 3


2.

What problems arise when attempts are made to harness science and technology
programmes to national priorities? H o w can the specific priorities of scientific
and technological development be preserved in the context of such national priorities?
How can continued support for science and technology be guaranteed in the face
of frequent changes of political and economic priorities?

3.

What level of development or maturity have the institutional structures (the ONCYTs)
for scientific and technological development reached? What impact have the ONCYTs
had on productive activities, post-graduate training, scientific and technological
research, the establishment of information services, the regulation of the process
of technology transfer, etc.?

4.

What stage has been reached in the implementation of national plans and programmes
of scientific and technological development? What plans and programmes have
been evaluated and with what results?

5.

Are there new economic, social, political and cultural factors (situations) in the
various countries of the Region which seem bound to determine the approach, content
and dynamics of science and technology policy planning and formulation up to the
year Z O O O ? If so what are they?

6.

What can international organizations do to familiarize the countries of the Region


with experiments now being carried out internationally ("technologicalparks", "seedbed for enterprises",etc.)?

7.

What progress has been made in the theory and methodology used in the formulation
and evaluation of plans, programmes and projects for scientific and technological
development? Are there information systems and services in the field of science
and technology planning and policy-making and do they work satisfactorily? Have
suitable arrangements been made for the publication and distribution of documents
on science and technology planning and policies?

8.

Is suitable and adequate post-graduate training provided for the personnel responsible
for formulating and implementing plans, programmes and projects for scientific
and technological development? Have the public sector bodies, including the
universities, been objective and efficient in the appointment of such technical
personnel, in maintaining stable working relations with them and in making the best
use of their training and experience?

S C - 8 5 I C A S T A L A C 1Ib4 - page 4
9.

Has significant progress been made in the theoretical and methodological fields
and in empirical research into the interrelations between science, technology and
society? Has this progress been taken into account in policy-making and planning?

(d)

Role of science and technology in dealing with the external debt problem

1.

Are the serious economic and financial crises occurring in the Region and the size
of the countries external debts impeding scientific and technological development,
or do they rather act as an incentive to seek ways of overcoming the problems or
of mitigating their effects?

2.

What mechanisms have recently been devised to adapt scientific and technological
activities to changing economic and financial circumstances?

3.

In what export are&

is world technogical development most seriously threatening

trade patterns in Latin America and the Caribbean? To what extent could local
potential keep up with world technological development? What new exports of goods
and services could be developed by dint of national or regional technological efforts?
In what sectors?
4.

H o w can duplication in the importation of technologies be avoided at the national


and regional levels?

5.

What arrangements should be made to ensure that restrictions on imports do not


apply to imports necessary for scientific and technological development?

(e)

N e w technologies: their role in and impact on the development process

1.

What sectors in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean either individually
or on a regional basis, are able to monitor the development of new technologies

and apply them in the production of goods and services?


2.

What are the advantages of introducing these new technologies in the economies
of the Region? In what sectors? Of what type? What can be done to offset their
negative effects?

SC-85/CASTALAC II/4 page 5


11.

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND D E V E L O P M E N T IN RURAL SETTINGS


(Item 8 of the Provisional Agenda)

1.

CASTALAC I1 may wish to bear in mind,duringits proceedings the following factors,


recognizing the extent to which they are complementary to rural development and
respecting the varying relative importance which may be attached to them by
different countries.
- Agricultural, forestry and fishing enterprises involved in production and marketing
whose output it is hoped to improve, thus benefitting the national economy and
also raising the standard of living in rural areas.
- Small rural enterprises which employ a large proportion of the population, using
traditional means of production and technologies, whose economic, social and
cultural status is frequently lower than minimum acceptable standards.
- Other rural communities, not engaging in agricultural activities, whose economy

is based on craft work.


Arrangements for storing grain, seeds and perishable products, wastage of which
accounts for a sizeable percentage of domestic production.
Farming processing or agro-industrial enterprises, whose development is an
important factor in the rural economy and which can create jobs.

2.

What might be the best mechanisms for linking science and technology policies with
the policies of the different sectors -agriculture, stock farming, forestry, fishing,
water resources, health, education, transport, communications, housing, ecology,
energy, industry- in such a way as to enable science and technology to make an
effective contribution to the development of the rural environment? H o w can the
O N C Y T s help to strengthen these links?

3.

Which of the problems mentioned below most urgently need R&D programmes to
assist in their solution?
- The need to increase productivity and employment in rural areas.
- The growing dependence on imported foodstuffs in order to meet domestic demand.
- The growing deterioration of renewable natural resources, particularly soil, forests,

genetic variety and water.

SC-85/CASTALAC II/4 - page 6

The need to diversify rural activities of an agricultural nature towards other forms
of production,such as craftwork, agro-industries and services.
The need to improve the quality of life of rural communities.

4.

What are the main applications which may be expected of biotechnology and other
advanced technologies?

5.

What resources are most urgently needed for the implementation of science and
technology policies to promote rural development: human and financial resources,
scientific and technical information systems, agricultural extension networks, R&D
centres devoted to such activities (university departments, units attached to the
ministries of agriculture oi- to associations of producers growing particular crops),
fields for experimental crop-growing?

6.

Bearing in mind the adverse conditions obtaining in rural communities with regard
to: landholding, fools, machinery and infrastructure; education, nutrition and health;
capacity to engage in political and commercial bargaining, and also bearing in mind
the scattered nature of the rural population within a specific area, not to mention
their cultural diversities, what role can science and technology systems play in
bringing about an effective transfer of knowledge which will enable such communities
to achieve harmonious and self-sustaining development?

7.

With specific regard to small-scale farming, what measures should be taken to ensure
that science and technology make an effective contribution towards improving the
standard of living of large underprivileged sections of the population and bringing
their productive activities whithin the framework of the national economy? Some
possible examples are mentioned below:
- Revival,improvement and dissemination of traditional technologies.
- Technico-economicanalysis of the various productive systems used on small farms.
- Evaluation and adaptation of chemical fertilizers in order to ensure their more

effective use in systems typical of small-holding agriculture.


- Formulation of different kinds of R&D programmes for small holdings, generally
with an interdisciphary approach (involving agronomists, veterinary surgeons,
economists and anthropologists), which will contribute towards an understanding
of the situation as a whole and towards solving the problems which it poses.

SC-85/CASTALAC II/4- page 7

8.

Design, testing and improvement of systems for the extension and transfer of
technology which are appropriate to the technical,economic and cultural behaviour
patterns and capacities of small farmers.

H o w could CASTALAC I1 improve this general situation, always approaching iT from


the point of view of the applications,of .science and technology, which is the
framework of reference of the Conference? Some possibilities are outlined below:

By identifying useful patterns or models on the basis of the different views


expressed by the delegations and founded on experience of their own successes
and failures at national level, and submitting them -or even recommending their
application- to the governments of the Region.
By identifying themes or areas of study which would be of sufficient general interest
to encourage the countries which wish to participate to combine their efforts,
through the exchange of information, co-operation in manpower training, the
organization of seminars or technical meetings, the establishment of networks
of institutions engaged in study of the areas selected, the formulation of joint

R&D programmes and projects, etc.


- By laying the foundations of a regional programme for the application of science
and technology to rural development.
9.

If CASTALAC I1 should decide to establish the foundations for regional co-operation


in the field of science and technology for rural development, it would seem essential
that the methods of such co-operation should be decided, that all the details necessary
for its implementation should be agreed, and that suitable channels should be
established for the continuation of the process. It would be useful to examine, in
particular, the role of the Standing Conference and of existing sub-regional bodies,
and to indicate to Unesco what asssitance might be expected of it.

SC-85/CASTALAC I1/4 - page 8


111.

G O V E R N M E N T INSTRUMENTS A N D MECHANISMS F O R THE P L A N N I N G O F


SCIENTIFIC A N D
TECHNOLOGICAL
DEVELOPMENT, A N D
FOR
THE
I M P L E M E N T A T I O N OF SCIENCE A N D T E C H N O L O G Y POLICIES
(Item 9 of the Provisional Agenda)

(a)

Acquisition and implantation of technology

1.

H o w could scientific, commercial or economic bodies in the most advanced


industrialized countries help in the prior identification of possible implantations of
foreign technologies which can be broken down into their separate components, in
order to supplement local scientific and technological capacity?

2.

What should be the specific role of the institutions of higher education (faculties
of engineering, of medical science, of agricultural sciences, etc.) in the substantive

part of the processes of acquiring, implanting and assimilating technology?


3.

Should action be taken to strengthen initiatives to separate the different elements

of imported technology, principally through the strengthening of local technological


capacity in priority areas? In order to separate imported technology into its essential
and its peripheral components and to make effective use of it at national level, would
it not be necessary to reinforce fundamental factors such as: the political will and
political support; effective administrative rules and practices, diversification and
co-ordination of internal production structures; a substantial scale of production
(i.e. viable markets); a scientific and technological infrastructure sufficiently welldeveloped and linked to the productive system, reliable consultation, engineering
and technical assistance services, efficient information sevices?
4.

What measures might be taken to promote local consultation and engineering services:
design and engineering services, technological services (technical assistance,
laboratories, etc.), administrative and organizational services, economic advisory
services, technical training programmes?

5.

Should not efforts be made to create closer links between public R&D laboratories
and productive enterprises? In particular, given that it is essential for there to be
a scientifico-technological capacity in such enterprises so as to be able to acquire,
implant and assimilate technologies, would it not be useful -as a prior step towards

SC-85/CASTALAC II/4 page-9


the endogenous creation of such laboratories- to encourage the establishment of
systems involving flexible co-operation and technical extension work which would
enable researchers and professionals in the public sector to take an active part in
solving the technical problems of productive enterprises?
6.

Should not the relatively highly developed countries in the Region set up specific
mechanisms and arrangements in order to assist the least developed in the
establishment of mechanisms which would encourage greater regional integration
in this field? .

(b)

Financing of scientific research and technological development in the productive


sectors of the economy

1.

Of the total amount of local financial resources devoted to scientific and technological
activities (STA), what percentage comes from public sources and what percentage
of this is spent in the productive sectors of the economy?

2.

Assuming that it has been specifically decided annually to increase the financial
resources to be allocated to STA from public sources, and that new resources need
to be drawn upon to achieve this, should such funds come from the public exchequer
or, on the contrary, from tariffs, taxes or specific duties which are to be ear-marked
exclusively for the implementarion of STA, particularly in the productive sectors
of the economy?

3.

Assuming that the mechanisms for indirect financing, such as deductions applying
to taxes, dues, duties and tariffs, enable R&D activities to be introduced into the
productive sectors of the economy, what economic conditions must be met before
such mechanisms can be brought into operation?

4.

What steps should be taken to promote the establishment of special lending facilities
by the public investment banks, development banks and commercial banks to encourage
scientific research and technological development?

5.

What can be done to encourage the raising of risk capital to finance technological
innovations?

S C - C A S T A L A C II/4 - page 10
(c)

Concertation mechanisms; participation of scientific researchers in the formulation


of research policies

1.

To what extent do scientific researchers carry out advisory duties vis-&&


their
o w n colleagues, involving the evaluation of their activities, and also vis-&vis the
government and its institutions, requiring them to express their views on the subject
of science and technology policy and planning and, in particular, on whether the
decisions taken are those that are most appropriate for the optimal harnessing of
natural resources and the promotion of the well-being of society? H o w should the
mechanisms of, consultation and concertation be structured so that researchers can
perform these functions satisfactorily?

2.

To what extent can the mechanisms of institutional concertation speed up the pace
of scientific and technological development, by reducing the time needed for planning
and decreasing its costs?
I

(d)

Evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of scientific and technological research

1.

In view of the fact that there exist different governmental mechanisms within the
Region for the planning and formulation of policies for scientific and technological
development, would it be feasible to c o m e to any conclusion which would help in
devising better institutional structures and operational mechanisms or in strengthening
those already in existence?

2.

To what extent might this be achieved on the basis of the techniques of dynamic
analysis contained in the evaluation methodologies used by scientific and technological
research institutions and units?

SC-85/CASTALAC II/4 - page 11


IV.

TRAINING AND RESEARCH IN THE FIELD OF SCIENTIFIC AND T E C H N O L O G I C A L


DEVELOPMENT: POLICY-MAKING, PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
(Item 10 of the Provisional Agenda)

1.

Since the skills and knowledge required fo'r the formulation and implementation of
science and technology policy are not generally acquired in traditional university
courses,.willit not be necessary to take specific measures to train specialists in these
subjects in the short, medium and long-term? Can the following groups of specialists
which need to be trained be classified in any order or priority?
a) planners and managers of science and technology policy in general;
b) directors of scientific and technological activities in the various ministries;
c) specialists in promoting, co-ordinating,financing and assessing R&D and STS;
d) managers of R&D and STS activities;
e) specialists in future technology and its implications for the national economy.

2.

What can be done to ensure the development in the universities and other institutions
of higher education of training courses for such managers and planners, either within
the normal curriculum (generally in the final year) or at the post-graduate level,
or in the form of short further-training courses for managers and specialists working
for public or private (productive sector) bodies involved in R&D and STS?

3.

In the same way, does C A S T A L A C I1 recognize the usefulness of studies and research
intended to encourage progress as regards the concepts and techniques in use in the
areas of science and technology policy which are of greatest relevance for the Region?
What are the priorities in this field? Some possible examples are:
- problems affecting the relations of science and technology with society;
- multi-national studies concerning the identification of problems and the future
prospects of science and technology;
- comparative studies of strategies for scientific and technological development;
- methodologies for the formulation, follow-up and evaluation of scientific and
technological development plans and policies and, in particular, for decision-making
at the national level with regard to the application of science and technology to

the development process;

SC-85/CASTALAC II/4 - page 12

definition of indicators of scientific and technological development, which are

adapted to the Region;


methodologies for the formulation and implementation of joint R&D programmes
and projects.

4.

What practical measures could be taken to promote regional and sub-regional cooperation in these training and research activities? What would be the best procedures
for establishing a network of training and research units on science and technology
policy and planning (see document SC-85/CASTALAC II/REF. 6)? What action might
Unesco and other international organizations be expected to take?

V.l.

REGIONAL AND SUB-REGIONAL


TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

CO-OPERATION

FOR

SCIENTIFIC

AND

(Item 11 of the Provisional Agenda) (*)


1.

What should be the nature, category, approach, competence and frequency of future
meetings sponsored by Unesco on scientific and technological development? Is the
method adopted so far in the form of the "Standing Conference of National Science
and Technology Policy-Making Bodies in Latin America and the Caribbean", useful?
Would it be desirable to strengthen the role of meetings as a forum for regional cooperation in scientific and technological development and/or to reinforce their
technical mandate by requiring them to examine, simultaneously or in parallel, the
present state and future prospects of specific problem areas (micro-electronics, rural
technologies, biotechnology, etc.)?

2.
.

What measures should be taken to intensify and extend sub-regional co-operation,


where appropriate, in the field of scientific and technological development and to
harmonize it with regional co-operation in the same field?

(*) Chapter V of the Main Working Document is concerned with the mechanism for regional
co-operation established as a result of the first C A S T A L A Conference (1965): the
"Standing Conference of National Science and Technology Policy-Making Bodies in Latin
America and the Caribbean". A more general description of the background and trends
of regional and sub-regional co-operation is included in Chapter I of the Main Working
Document (paragraphs 81-1 35).

SC-85lCASTALAC 1114 - page 1 3


3.

How might the particular characteristics and needs of the smallest countries be
specially taken into account so as to facilitate their inclusion in the systems of regional
co-operation for scientific and technological development?

4.

Would it appear to be advisable to adopt the following approaches to- regiorIa1 cooperation for scientific and technological development?
post-graduate training (exchanges of teachers/research-workers and fellowshipholders);
studies and joint research work (theoretico-methodological and empirical aspects
of the interrelations between science,technology and society);
exchanges of information;
formulation and implementation of programmes, projects and joint activities
for the application of science and technology to development;
technical meetings (exchanges,analysis and discussion groups);
dissemination (publicationand distribution of documents);
inter-institutional co-operation at the sub-regional and regional levels.

5.

In respect of which of the approaches mentioned should the Regional Office for Science
and Technology for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROSTLAC, Montevideo) play
a greater role?

V.2. MEASURES TO BE
RECOMMENDATIONS

TAKEN

FOR

FOLLOWING

UP

THE

CASTALAC

11

(Items 11 and 12 of the Provisional Agenda)

1.

Should the C A S T A L A C I1 recommendations be submitted to the twenty-third session


of the Unesco General Conference (Sofia,Bulgaria, 8 October - 12 November 1985)?

2.

What measures should be taken by governments and by Unesco to ensure that the
C A S T A L A C I1 recommendations are implemented and followed up?