Science, Technology, Innovation and Extra Latin American Alliances


Science, Technology, Innovation and Extra Latin American Alliances

Magdalena Schurrer, Latin American and Caribbean University

During the last decade, the integration process has been one of the most significant aspects in economic, politic and social exchanges among South American countries. Furthermore, it represents a key tool for the development of those countries and, particularly, for their insertion in the international economy.

Strategic alliances supported by solidarity and cooperation are a key element to get those aims proposed by the countries of the region and the integration organizations. Their purpose is to get social stability and a sustainable development in the region.

Science, technology and innovation are essential tools to consolidate the regional integration process through a suitable use of knowledge to get an advance in production activity and to increase the standard of living of the population in the region.

The strategic aims for a common science and technology program arise from the necessity of developing knowledge in strategic areas. This concept involves the command of scientific and technological knowledge on natural resources and the region features. It is also intended to use those mechanisms which may lead countries to the Society of Knowledge as well as set out cooperation and solidarity values for democratization of access to knowledge and its use as a source of social, cultural and economic promotion.

Furthermore, this is aimed at generating and enlarging science, technology and innovation capacities of the countries in the region in connection with human resources training, creation, strengthening and arrangement of scientific facilities and the whole technological platforms required for the technological development of said countries. It is also intended to promote the creation of knowledge networks related to strategic topics and supported by regional reference centers according to the necessities. The objective is to increase efficiency of policies to actually solve both regional and local problems with the different actors and sectors of the country.

Another aim is to promote training, technology and productive innovation and social responsibility actions for micro, small and medium size companies or other organizations. This is to let them be under better exchange conditions with national, regional and international counterparts.

Intra regional cooperation is a strategy necessary and suitable to get an advance in science, technology and innovation. For that purpose, it is necessary to encourage cooperation in complementary areas among countries and to explore the different opportunities to expand  said cooperation.

In turn, extra region cooperation lets expand experiences by the countries of the region to other countries or country blocks and becomes a worthy resource to set out development strategies. For this purpose, cooperation is to be encouraged by exchanging experience among nations which are going through different development stages and form part of other regional integration schemes.

Cooperation with China

In September, 2015, within the frame of the I Forum of Science, Technology and Innovation –which gathered several strategic sectors of South America region and the world- the community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC, according to the Spanish acronym) and China started the way to increase cooperation in science, technology and innovation. On that occasion, the former Colombian President, Ernesto Samper Pizano, remarked the importance for Latin America to get a benefit from Chinese technological experience to produce added-value products to stop being dependent on large powerful nations.

According to Samper, there are “three main guidelines to be taken into account when setting out new science and technology policies: respect for traditional knowledge, protection to biodiversity and the value added to national resources.”

“50% of the possibilities for life development and the largest genetic bank in the world can be found in Latin America.  We have to protect that knowledge. It is unconceivable that we make concessions regarding technological innovations and protect knowledge produced in the world while not recognizing the value of our biodiversity”, he said.

Furthermore, he said that value social chains should be created to set aside the extractivist development pattern where labor and raw material are sold at low prices in order to get finished products at too high costs.

“Productivity is the challenge being faced by Latin America. The important battles in XXI century will be those of knowledge.”

In the I Forum, 25 Chinese leading companies participated in technological teams which displayed their proposals.