Seminar: Geoff Oldham on the Sussex Manifesto

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Geoff Oldham, former SPRU director, former chairman of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Science and Technology for Development, and for five years a UK Delegate to the UN Commission gave a …

Geoff Oldham, former SPRU director, former chairman of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Science and Technology for Development, and for five years a UK Delegate to the UN Commission gave a STEPS Centre seminar on IDS/SPRU collaboration in the Early Days: ‘The Sussex Manifesto and its Aftermath’

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  • 1. The Sussex Manifesto and its Aftermath Geoff Oldham February 2008
  • 2. Presentation • Prelude: Early SPRU/IDS interactions • The process of preparing the Manifesto • Hindsight : What we did well • Hindsight: What were our shortcomings? • Indicators and targets • Impact • If prepared today: What new issues? • Conclusions
  • 3. Prelude: Early SPRU/IDS interactions • 1966 start of both groups • IDS allocation of academic posts • Ford Foundation grant for SPRU • SPRU/IDS interaction leading to design of IDRC. Its implications. • IDS/SPRU Workshop on S&T • IDS/SPRU Study Seminars on S&T • Arrival of Hans Singer to IDS with UN connections
  • 4. Preparation of the Manifesto • Membership of “The Sussex Group” • Terms of Reference • Process • Reactions of the UN Advisory Committee on S&T for Development to the report • General Assembly Debate on Second Development Decade
  • 5. Hindsight: What we did well: • Demonstrated need for systems approach to S&T for Development • Focussed mainly on S&T and Economic Development (TOR) • Showed need to consider demand for S&T as well as supply • Supply side must include STS as well as R&D • Development of indicators and targets
  • 6. Hindsight: What were our shortcomings? • Should have given greater prominence to social and environmental issues • No mention of innovation , either radical or incremental • Ignored implicit S&T policy in governments economic and fiscal policies. Came close! • Ethical issues should have had greater prominence • Ignored gender dimension of S&T
  • 7. S&T Indicators and targets for Second Development Decade • Indigenous S&T capabilities. Between 1970 and 1980 R&D to grow from 0.2%GNP to 0.5% GNP. STS to grow to several times that amount • S&T aid to grow to 5% of total aid • Developed countries to devote 5% non military R&D to development objectives • Beware of developing indicators that are difficult to measure
  • 8. Impact • Overall impact impossible to assess • Raised awareness of role of S&T in UN circles • Biggest impact probably on Sussex Group itself • Had considerable impact on design of IDRC • Approach Document for Indian S&T policy • Hans Singer regarded report one of the most important he had been involved in writing • Report was used for teaching courses in Universities in North and South • Negative impact. Targets set for end of decade were considered political targets and not the role of the Advisory Committee to advocate.
  • 9. If prepared today what new issues? • Globalisation • Greater focus on poverty • More attention to market economies • Growth of S&T capabilities in emerging economies • Impact of new technologies- IT, biotech and nanotechnology
  • 10. Conclusions • Reports have greatest impact when there is an audience or event to which report can be directed. The SM had the opportunity to influence the planning for the Second Development Decade • A useful objective is to build an esprit de corps among group members and build on different strengths of members and their institutions. • Important to be optimistic about the future ( Chris Freeman’s Economics of Hope) • Plan and budget for dissemination. • Be aware of potential conflict between academic analysis and advocacy. But there are times when both are needed.