By Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS)
This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.
The current COVID-19 crisis has triggered important discussions highlighting the role of science, technology and innovation (STI). It has also revealed a number of gaps and shortcomings in terms of global governance. In this context, it is worth looking more closely at the specific issue of biological threats post-COVID-19, as well as related challenges in terms of governance.
Today, in the race for a coronavirus vaccine, over 300 scientists are working on 120 efforts for vaccine development across globally convened platforms. Fortunately, internationally and at regional and national levels, there is a consensus on the role of science, technology and innovation (STI). Most OECD countries have stepped up international collaboration to face the crisis, through new programmes and by increasing spending on STI. Regarding non-OECD countries, UNCTAD has emphasised the need for more support to international collaboration in this area: “A global pandemic is a textbook example of a critical problem where the sum of isolated efforts by national governments provides much inferior outcomes than international collaboration. The positive externalities of STI investments in such a situation could be huge and decisive in the effort to ensure that the most vulnerable members of the international community are not left behind”. Other international actors like the G7 Ministers for Science and Technology, UNESCO, The World Academy of Sciences, etc. have also repeatedly acknowledged the crucial role of STI in tackling the crisis, calling for increased co-operation.