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Issue 10, 1st quarter 2006

Foresighting Europe Newsletter

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You can contact the Science and Technology Foresight Unit :

Shared visions, common research futures

UNIDO seminar on Technology Foresight activities

In response to requests by member countries, UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) is implementing a global initiative on technology foresight that draws on regional initiatives: technology foresight can be used as a practical tool to design policies and strategies that exploit emerging and critical technologies for the benefit of countries with economies in transition.

Regional initiative on technology foresight in CEE (Central and Eastern Europe)/Nis (Newly Independent States)

The UNIDO regional technology foresight initiative assists countries with economies in transition. The aim is to provide more sustainable and innovative development, fostering economic, environmental and social benefits at national and regional levels. The regional initiative aspires to develop policies and R&D programmes dealing with innovation, industrial growth and competitiveness. National and regional capabilities are being developped through the creation of national and sub-regional centres of excellence on foresight processes.

Implementation of the regional foresight initiative through:

  • Awareness building and creation of foresight culture in the region
  • Conferences and expert meetings: UNIDO organises an annual summit to enable a regional exchange of experience and best practices of technology foresight efforts and programmes. The next Technology Foresight Summit is foreseen for 2007, in Budapest, Hungary
  • Establishment of an electronic platform and tools with a view to creating a live knowledge-sharing process
  • Elaboration of studies and capacity building
  • Mobilisation of financing mechanisms
  • Definition of counterparts and creation of the coordination mechanism: in order to create ownership at the regional level, a strategic steering party mobilises governments, research communities and industry.

Foresight initiatives in CEE

  • Impact of EU-Accession to local industries: agro-food industry and automotive industry
  • Challenges and opportunities of Biotechnology
  • Water resources protection
  • Networking, e-business and market access
  • Competitive Production Chains: Food Industry

Regional initiatives in Latin America

Although the number of countries that have carried out or are in the process of planning or implementing Technology Foresight has been considerably enlarged, Latin America is still at a very early stage in this process. Recognising the importance of Technology Foresight for those countries, UNIDO in cooperation with the International Centre for Science and High Technology (ICS), which operates under the strategies of UNIDO to promote sustainable industrial development through transfer of know-how and technology to developing and transition-economy countries, launched a Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean with the objective to promote, encourage and support technology foresight initiatives in the region.

Overview of the National foresight programmes in Latin America:

  • Chile - Identify strategic economic and technology sectors
  • Brazil - Production chains: textiles, plastics, wood, construction
  • Uruguay - Macro-sectors trends: food biotechnology, energy and transportation and logistics
  • Venezuela - Application of the results of the TF exercise

Success story: a Foresight study on the productive chain of the fishery industry in the region of the South American Pacific coast

UNIDO, in cooperation with the Government of Spain, has implemented a Foresight Study on the productive chain of the fishery industry in the region of the South American Pacific coast, covering Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The different phases of the study have drawn on the experience of centres of excellence on technology foresight and/or fishery industry. These centres of excellence are located in the participating countries in addition to Brazil and Spain.

It can be applied at macro and micro level, for setting research priorities, create a shared vision of the future and identify a firm’s technological needs for innovation and improved competitiveness.

On one hand, the project was aiming to identify priority areas in selected industrial sectors of competitive advantage to enable products better access to the regional and the global market; on the other hand, it was directed at building capacity on an institution and enterprise level so as to identify risks and opportunities on how to improve value chain competitiveness through the application and use of technology foresight analysis and methodologies.

As a final result of this project it is expected to obtain finalised national/sub -regional studies for which consistent Technology Foresight methodologies will be applied.

Some recommendations were drawn up for follow-up programmes on the Future of the Fishery Industry in South American Pacific cost:

  • Definition of a regional policy for strengthening the competitiveness and sustainability of the fishery production chain.
  • Technology upgrading and investment promotion for re-conversion and modernisation of the industrial fishing and fish-processing vessels.
  • Creation of new regional centres for capability building on fishery industrial technologies and technology watch/road mapping.
  • Implementation of a policy and infrastructure to establish a quality mark of origin for the fish products of the region, taking into account tradability and traceability.
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