New innovation approaches to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

Placards with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Working Paper

During its 19th session held in May 2016, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) selected “New innovation approaches to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals” as one of its priority themes for the 2016 – 2017 inter-sessional period. This Issues Paper has been prepared to assist the Commission in its deliberations.

The paper responds to the call made by the ECOSOC to the Commission to raise awareness among policymakers about the process of innovation and to identify particular opportunities for developing countries to benefit from such innovation, with special attention being placed on new trends in innovation that can offer novel possibilities for developing countries. It is a draft Issues Paper and is not to be cited. 

Chapter 1 introduces why new innovation approaches are needed for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighting innovation as a cross-cutting issue for the global goals, the range of challenges and constraints that make the achievement of the SDGs uncertain, and the new opportunities for innovation available at international, national, and local levels that contribute to sustainable development. Chapter 2 discusses five innovation approaches: mission-oriented innovation, pro-poor / inclusive innovation, grassroots innovation, social innovation, and (digitally enabled) open and collaborative innovation. The chapter addresses the distinctive aspects of each innovation approach, how it can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and promote inclusion and diversity, and how such approaches for innovation can provide opportunities to strengthen national innovation capabilities. Chapter 3 proposes concrete policy considerations for governments and other stakeholders to strengthen capabilities for harnessing these new innovation approaches in sustainable development.

Download the paper (UNCTAD website)