Innovation, such as the Internet, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and even the cell phone are changing how people live and work at all income levels. These innovations have underpinned economic progress in recent years and, in spite of current turbulence, the accelerating pace of innovation offers great hope for the future.
At the same time, the world is facing mega-challenges such as global warming, the need for new and renewable sources of energy, better management of scarce resources, e.g. water, new diseases that do not respect national borders, and the need for enhanced security while protecting privacy.
Innovation is key to addressing all these challenges, but innovation does not happen in a vacuum, nor is it the preserve of the most advanced economies. With an appropriate policy framework and the right incentives, we can encourage innovative breakthroughs that are new to the world, new to the country, or just new to the company.
To do so, we need to draw on tools like innovation awards, prizes and innovative friendly public procurement to help bring these welfare-enhancing products and technologies to the market. As economists have demonstrated, innovation is a key source of productivity and growth in the global economy.
The UNECE programme focus on innovation is particularly valuable in that it brings policymakers’ attention to the potential and requirements of innovation.
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Opinions expressed in this section are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of UNECE, of the bodies established under its international legal agreements/conventions, or of the secretariat.